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Thread: Beethoven's late quartets

  1. #1
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    Default Beethoven's late quartets

    Various questions about these works:

    Number 12, opus 127, second movement, measure 75: Are these notes for the cello the highest that instrument can go?

    Throughout all of these works, are the frequent clef changes a significant challenge for the cellist?

    I heard the story that one of the original performers of the Grosse Fuge asked Beethoven to explain the tied eighth notes, and Beethoven refused to answer. How do you interpret them? In measure 46 of the Cavatina, the first violin part has tied 32nd notes.

    Number 14, opus 131, first movement, measures 45-53: Why did Beethoven choose E-flat minor instead of D-sharp minor?

    The beginning of the 15th quartet: Why are the first 8 measures, marked "Assai sostenunto" in cut time, but the Allegro is in common time?

    Which quartet is your favorite and why?
    Last edited by Aurelian; Jun-29-2018 at 14:15.

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  3. #2
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    "Which quartet is your favorite and why?"

    Beethoven's Op. 132. I think it's one of the finest works he composed in his life. Why? I love the Molto Adagio 3rd movement, which Beethoven entitled, "Heiliger Dankegesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart ("A Convalescent's Holy Song of Thanksgiving to the Divinity, in the Lydian Mode"), after recovering from a serious illness during the winter of 1824-25, which he had feared might end his life. (Historically, the ancient Lydian mode was associated with healing and recovery.) The Handel-like (or is it more Haydn-like?) resolution to this movement comes as such a surprise after the solemn, grave beginning. To me, & I hope others, this is music of a high genius.

    As the late physicist Stephen Hawking once said on the BBC radio program "Desert Island Discs",

    "If I knew that a tidal wave was on the way to overwhelm my desert island, I would play the third movement of this quartet."

    Sometimes I find a depth of beauty in Beethoven's music--as with this ineffable movement, which no other composer in music history has equaled, except for maybe Josquin Desprez in one or two of his most beautiful motets.

    My favorite versions of Op. 132 are:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-ju...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vTS...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UqRZ...&frags=pl%2Cwn

    But my favorite recording of this quartet is the Smetana Quartet's 2nd recording for Denon, which I can't find on You Tube (though I'm not as keen on their earlier Supraphon recording, which is on YT):

    https://www.amazon.co.jp/%E3%83%99%E...rtet+Beethoven

    I also like the Alban Berg Quartet's 1st studio recording on EMI, along with the recordings by the Gewandhaus Quartett on NCA, the Süske Quartett on Berlin Classics (& Brilliant), and historically, the Busch Quartet (violin slides & all...).

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kiVb...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IpPQ...&frags=pl%2Cwn

    https://www.amazon.co.jp/Beethoven-S...ven+gewandhaus
    https://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Str...n+quartets+nca

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ARL7...&frags=pl%2Cwn
    https://www.amazon.com/Suske-Quartet...hoven+quartets
    https://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Com...hoven+quartets

    My two cents.
    Last edited by Josquin13; Jun-30-2018 at 02:42.

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