Results 1 to 14 of 14

Thread: Cycle review: Beethoven

  1. #1
    Senior Member Avey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Cascadia
    Posts
    1,062
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default Cycle review: Beethoven

    So, Beethoven. Yeah.

    Anecdotes, your favorite (ranking maybe? though, this isn't a ranking thread), under-performed and ignored, technical notes, existential revelations -- let us get it all out here.

    Pure L.v.B. quartet talk.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Posts
    6,790
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    2

    Default

    One thing I like is the old Calvet Quartet op 131

    Last edited by Mandryka; Jun-16-2014 at 22:16.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Avey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Cascadia
    Posts
    1,062
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    I am a bit surprised of the lack of response here.

    Regardless, I originally put this thread up after reviewing all of Beethoven's quartets, and there were a few moments of interest for me.

    - Like, I never truly appreciated the serioso quartet, No. 11. I prefer it, to among others, his final quartet, and the first two Rasumovsky quartets.

    - Like, still, as I have always been, I appear to be in the minority in my not thinking Op. 131 is Beethoven's greatest, or even one of the best. I hold Op. 130 (including the intended fugue ending) as the pinnacle of Beethoven's creative output, along with the Missa, and would venture to place it among the greatest chamber works ever penned, next to Schubert's Quintet, among others.

    Op. 131 is certainly a masterpiece -- though, having to clarify this with Beethoven's quartets is like having to justify the immensity and extraordinary nature of any one of the interstellar planets orbiting our Sun -- I just do not hold in such high regard as many (justifiably) do.

    - Like, the last Rasumovsky quartet (No. 9) and the Harp No. 10 are frustratingly intense and mesmerizing pieces. There are a number of similarities in the structure of these two works, no doubt, and the more I read about Beethoven's "middle" versus "late" style, the more I question whether these two quartets truly belong in the "middle" period. Post-middle? The late-40s age?

    - Like, repeating what I have said in previous posts, No. 12 gets no respect. I have never seen this on a program. I rarely see members post about it. Hell, even its Wiki page is devoid of any interesting anecdotes or analysis of the work.

    But maybe it is this repressed reverence that gives the piece such aplomb. This is a fantastically cogent and robust work.

    - Like, the Holy Song of Thanksgiving on a Convalescent to the God-Deity is special, FYI.

    - Like, Beethoven gets better, even when he was young, because No. 6 > No. 5 > No. 4 > No. 1 or 2 or 3.

  4. Likes Mahlerian, violadude, Blancrocher and 2 others liked this post
  5. #4
    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    University Place, WA
    Posts
    7,025
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Avey View Post
    - Like, Beethoven gets better, even when he was young, because No. 6 > No. 5 > No. 4 > No. 1 or 2 or 3.
    I like your post, but I intensely disagree with this ranking of his early quartets. I think no. 1, 2 and 6 are far and away stronger pieces than 4 and 5, with no. 3 being interesting middle ground between the two.

    I think #4 has the weakest finale in all the Beethoven quartets (and I actually find it to be the weakest quartet of all of them). It's not bad, and if someone else wrote it it would be alright, but it's way too trite for the standards that Beethoven had already previously set for himself. The only movement I find really interesting in this piece is the second movement.

    #5 has an ok first half, followed by an outstanding second half.

    #3 in my mind only has one really weak movement and that's the 3rd. The second doesn't make any huge splashes but is very beautiful and the finale is one of the boldest things Beethoven had written up to that point.

    But what I really don't understand is how you can think the 1st and 2nd quartets are among the weakest in the set. The 1st quartet, while the second half may not stand up quite as well as the first half, is bold and steely work throughout, displaying very mature technical prowess and emotional control. And the Haydnesque charm of the 2nd quartet is irresistible to me. It's quite mature piece too, underneath the playfulness. There are lots of fascinating compositional devices in this one.
    Last edited by violadude; Jun-21-2014 at 21:32.

  6. Likes Avey, Alypius, Mahlerian and 2 others liked this post
  7. #5
    Senior Member Blancrocher's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
    Posts
    6,736
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by violadude View Post
    #5 has an ok first half, followed by an outstanding second half.
    That one has the extra-aesthetic interest of being the most Mozartian of Beethoven's quartets--some think for the sake of showing himself that he could compose like Mozart if he tried.

    *p.s.* I recently reread Joseph Kerman's book on the string quartets, after having learned of the author's recent decease. It's quirkier than I'd remembered--and all the more recommendable for that.

    http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Quar...tring+quartets
    Last edited by Blancrocher; Jun-21-2014 at 19:16.

  8. Likes violadude liked this post
  9. #6
    Senior Member violadude's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    University Place, WA
    Posts
    7,025
    Post Thanks / Like
    Blog Entries
    1

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Blancrocher View Post
    That one has the extra-aesthetic interest of being the most Mozartian of Beethoven's quartets--some think for the sake of showing himself that he could compose like Mozart if he tried.

    *p.s.* I recently reread Joseph Kerman's book on the string quartets, after having learned of the author's recent decease. It's quirkier than I'd remembered--and all the more recommendable for that.

    http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Quar...tring+quartets
    I love that book. It's a really good read. It always reminds me of just how much thought goes into compositions of the masters.

  10. Likes Blancrocher liked this post
  11. #7
    Senior Member Fugue Meister's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Atlanta GA.
    Posts
    973
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Wow Avey you were surprised a year ago and still so few posts, I am shocked. Well my favorite is op. 131, but a close second is op. 130 (with the fugue of course). The late quartets are untouchable no human being has ever come close to the realms Beethoven reveals to us here.

    To be honest I adore the whole cycle but if I had to pick 5 they would be:

    5- Op. 59 No. 1 in F (The first string quartet I ever fell in love with, the Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando is out of this world)
    4- Op. 127 in Eb (There is some love for no. 12 out there including me)
    3- Op. 95 in f (Laying the groundwork for the world he explores in the late quartets)
    2- Op. 130 in Bb (What a masterpiece)
    1- Op. 131 in c# (The greatest chamber work of all time)

    If picking 5 meant I couldn't listen to the others I could never do it though... I can't live without this cycle, its that important to me.

  12. #8
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SoCal, USA
    Posts
    19,958
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugue Meister View Post
    1- Op. 131 in c# (The greatest chamber work of all time)
    Well, we should really stack it up against Schubert's C major quintet. And no, Schubert's opinion doesn't count!


  13. #9
    Senior Member SalieriIsInnocent's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Vagabond
    Posts
    697
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    I can't believe people don't like the grosse fugue. I find it to be a very grand and powerful piece on it's own.

  14. #10
    Senior Member Fugue Meister's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Atlanta GA.
    Posts
    973
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Well, we should really stack it up against Schubert's C major quintet. And no, Schubert's opinion doesn't count!
    I don't know I should give it another listen...

  15. #11
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    SoCal, USA
    Posts
    19,958
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Fugue Meister View Post
    I don't know I should give it another listen...
    Schubert, on having the Op. 131 performed for him just before his death: "After this, what's left for us to write?"


  16. #12
    Senior Member Fugue Meister's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Atlanta GA.
    Posts
    973
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Schubert, on having the Op. 131 performed for him just before his death: "After this, what's left for us to write?"
    Oh yes, I am very aware that even Schubert tipped his hat to op. 131 and what was it Wagner said about the opening fugue, "the very slow introductory Adagio reveals the most melancholy sentiment ever expressed in music". How true.

  17. #13
    Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Posts
    86
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    No love for Op. 132?

    (IMHO, it is right up there with Op. 131.)
    Last edited by hoodjem; Dec-08-2019 at 17:40.

  18. #14
    Senior Member Eramire156's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2017
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    843
    Post Thanks / Like

    Default

    Tully Potter, a critic whose reviews I have come to value even if I don't always agree with his judgements 100 percent, surveys the Beethoven Quartet landscape in the following article.

    https://thebeethovenproject.com/expl...hs-to-nirvana/

Similar Threads

  1. Cycle review: Bartok
    By Avey in forum Solo & Chamber Music
    Replies: 60
    Last Post: Dec-10-2019, 16:05
  2. Which was the best Beethoven cycle by Karajan?
    By SAKO in forum Classical Music Discussion Polls
    Replies: 72
    Last Post: Nov-15-2019, 14:43
  3. Which Beethoven cycle(s) do YOU own?
    By itywltmt in forum Recorded Music and Publications
    Replies: 103
    Last Post: Jan-25-2019, 14:58
  4. Anyone have Thielemann's new Beethoven cycle?
    By Itullian in forum Recorded Music and Publications
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: Apr-20-2015, 14:04
  5. My review of the Seattle Ring Cycle!
    By macgeek2005 in forum Opera
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: Sep-14-2013, 09:06

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •