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Thread: Late Beethoven: Sonatas or quartets?

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Default Late Beethoven: Sonatas or quartets?

    I've secretly placed the late piano sonatas above the quartets, if only by a smidgeon. So I'm not saying the quartets are chopped liver! But I think this is a minority view.

    How about you? Sonatas or quartets, or is it silly to compare these? (The answer to that last is of course "yes," but let's do it anyway.)


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    Senior Member JACE's Avatar
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    Ken, I'm with you.

    As a piano-phile, I find myself drawn more to the sonatas.

    Love the string quartets too, of course.

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    Senior Member Heliogabo's Avatar
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    I love both of them. But I think Beeethoven go further with his quartets. He jumps 100 years in musical history with his late quartets and 70 years with his late sonatas.

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    Senior Member ptr's Avatar
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    I don't have a clear favourite, and despite being a piano guy I would guesstimate that I listen to the quartets more often!

    /ptr
    Je suis Charlie ~ I am a certified OrgaNut! (F.—I.W.)

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    Senior Member Kibbles Croquettes's Avatar
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    I listen to the quartets more often but I'm not sure if that means that I like them more. I mean, it could just be that strings are more often on my mind - string instruments, that is - and so I just kind of drift to the late quartets more often. Then again I've listened to the first movement of the farewell sonata probably more times than anything else by Beethoven. That is extraordinary piece.

    I'm not quite sure what mood mr. B is going for in the allegro section of the piece - if we believe Wikipedia, and indeed why shouldn't we, the first subject of the actual sonata form "portrays deep disturbance" - but it always makes me happy and excited, it gives a really good kind of a drive, like some songs by Tom Waits (eg. "New coat of paint"). It might be that I'm mistakenly feeling wrong feelings. I do that a lot. If anyone is into spiritism, say my apologies to good ol' Ludwig van.

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    Senior Member Albert7's Avatar
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    Both of course! I used to play piano and violin but listening I lean more towards the quartets lately.

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    Quartets, no hesitation. Nothing in the piano sonatas as profound as op 131 or even op 135 and op 127. For the best of the piano music you have to go to the Diabelli Variations.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Dec-29-2014 at 22:46.

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    Always the sonatas. Diabelli ain't nothin compared to the Hammerklavier, Waldstein, Appassionata, and #32.

    The late sonatas, which to me mean: 28 in A, 29 in B Flat, 30 in E, 31 in A Flat and 32 in
    C minor never cause me to fall asleep like many segments of the late quartets do (as do also, the middle and early quartets too). I always marvel at the incredible humor pervading these great works. What an intellect! Composer and poster meeting at the same level!

    Every so often I play the complete Annie Fischer complete piano set or the Ronald Brautigam complete fortepiano set and I am chastened, delighted and amazed...all at the same time.

    Beethoven's best work....the keyboard sonatas.
    Last edited by hpowders; Dec-30-2014 at 00:55.
    Facts don't care about your feelings.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    I place the Diabellis right alongside the late sonatas, which is pretty darned high!


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    Senior Member Haydn man's Avatar
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    For me I find it a hard call to make. The Sonatas have always been a favourite but the string quartets just seem that bit more detailed and rewarding on serious listening
    So my mind is made up its the........................ Oh hell i just can't decide

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    Senior Member MoonlightSonata's Avatar
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    I have absolutely no idea which I prefer.
    ≥12

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    Senior Member D Smith's Avatar
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    A total tossup. Lately I've listened to the quartets more but that's because of the TC String Quartet thread. Playing the piano myself (very poorly) I do tend to return to the sonatas again and again, which is true for other composers who wrote both great quartets and sonatas. Knowing an instrument does give you more of an appreciation for what's involved in pulling off a piece, I've always felt.

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    I'd even make it a three-way tossup: late piano sonatas, string quartets, Missa Solemnis. I would be without none of them. :-)
    Last edited by GGluek; Dec-30-2014 at 03:09.

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    Senior Member elgars ghost's Avatar
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    I'd hate to choose, so it's a no decision cop-out from me!
    '...a violator of his word, a libertine over head and ears in debt and disgrace, a despiser of domestic ties, the companion of gamblers and demireps, a man who has just closed half a century without a single claim on the gratitude of his country or the respect of posterity...' - Leigh Hunt on the Prince Regent (later George IV).

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    Senior Member Woodduck's Avatar
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    I've played piano,

    Ne'er bowed a string;

    But was a singer -

    And strings can sing!


    I know. I should stick to prose. Quartets for me, but only by a horsehair.

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