The Septet opens with an elegant Adagio introduction that slowly gathers energy. The Allegro con brio rockets along on its opening violin theme; in sonata form, this movement features a vigorous development. The Adagio cantabile offers a gracious tune for clarinet over slowly-rocking strings; the melody moves easily between instruments as the movement progresses. The cheerfully bubbling minuet — with its athletic trio — leads to a theme and variations movement.
The Scherzo is one of the finest movements in the Septet. The final movement opens with an ominous march and then blasts loose happily at the Presto. A cadenza for violin leads to a return of the opening material, and the Septet races to its close. Poco adagio — Allegro Adagio ma non troppo Presto — Piu presto quasi prestissimo Allegretto con variazioni. They are perhaps the three most diverse pieces of the cycle stylistically and definitely represent the most difficult and challenging years personally that Beethoven was to experience in his lifetime.
The fair hopes of this year were quickly dashed by the invasion of Vienna by the French that May, and the destruction and hardship they brought with them. His no longer robust general health was shaken by the experience, and once it was all over and Vienna fell, he wrote absolutely no music for the next three months.
Beethoven no longer had something to prove; but for the first time his goal was rather to attempt to bring into being a dream for something better into our harsh world. Grace and playfulness especially the harp-like plucked arpeggios of the first movement rule the day, and a new intimacy of expression is felt.
Perhaps the scars of the bombardment can be heard in the explosive scherzo, but even this tempestuousness melts quickly into the playful, almost tongue-in-cheek theme and variations finale. Terse it is one of the shortest quartets , shocking, angry, unpredictable, impetuous, and dramatic are all words that could describe the wild-haired man himself as well as this music.
Gone is the dream world of Opus 74; in its place is raw emotion. Each movement is very short, almost compressed — so much coming through in such very little time. The drama of the first movement, the mystic song of the second, the heroic anger of the third and the pleading anxiety of the last all whirl by at breakneck speed. The fact that the last movement ends with some of the swiftest and most exhilarating music ever written for quartet seems in seconds to whisk the listener off his feet and into the air in a way only the middle-aged Master could accomplish.
If Opus 74 represents Beethoven the idealist, and Opus 95 represents Beethoven the expressionist, Opus represents the fusion of these two poles: in the late quartets, the mature composer has become the Master of The Expressive Ideal. Despite earlier career success, by age 50 the grueling trials of real-life had caught up to him with a vengeance.
To top it off, the new tastes of the Viennese public had moved on to the frothy music of Italian bel canto opera, and held little new interest in his brand of serious Germanic expression. Worst of all, he seemed to have nothing more to say musically in any case. Though still revered, perhaps the grizzled old composer was all written out.
In this context it is even more astonishing that Beethoven could seemingly rebound overnight almost out of nowhere, creating in the last years of his life some of the greatest, most inspiring and monumental works of art music of all time: the Missa Solemnis, the Ninth Symphony and the Late Quartets. In a young Russian Prince and chamber music fan named Nikolas Galitsin first brought up the idea of a new set of quartets to the famous yet completely deaf Beethoven, promising to pay handsomely for three new ones.
Nonetheless, the work progressed quickly and was ready for a public performance and publication later that year. In a way the Opus quartet in E-flat parallels the earlier Opus 74 quartet in E-flat: it too is the capturing of the form of a dream, yet now on an unprecedented scale of grandeur. The work was truly something entirely new and unheard of as a quartet at that time: it can be viewed almost as an inspirational symphony in scope, but with an uttermost intimacy of expression unparalleled by any other music yet written by anybody. The quartet has a majesty and glory, and even a mysterious strangeness about it that is truly otherworldly.
In a sense, for me personally, this is the most powerful concert of the entire cycle. Perhaps it is only in the face of harshest adversity that the best of our human nature is truly revealed in all of its freedom and joy. And it is in the music of the Late Quartets that Beethoven shows us the way. It certainly has a lighter tone than the other late quartets, and it is in the pastoral key of F major. Yet critics calling it a regression to 18th-century style overemphasize their point, as in comparison with any of his early quartets this one could only be considered radical.
The first movement Allegretto is essentially in sonata form. It demonstrates a lesson Beethoven had learned from Haydn: sometimes silence is as important as sound.
Konzertepertoire Daniel Fritzen: Klavier Solo
Its rhythmic trajectory could be described as a series of interjections, punctuated by jocular runs and arpeggios. Humorous fade-outs are suddenly interrupted, and the final chord, which is actually on the first beat of the measure, jumps out of nowhere from the preceding syncopation. The third movement, in the distant key of D-flat major, is a cavatina, or a simple, relatively unadorned aria in the Italian style.
It recalls the similar movement in Opus quartet, and its sweet and sincere melody could not contrast more from the preceding Scherzo. Apparently an acquaintance of Beethoven asked for a score of the earlier Opus quartet. Yes, take out your wallet! Revolutionary, visionary, unprecedented in their grand and sweeping scope, the three quartets of the Opus 59 trilogy made greater instrumental and emotional demands than any string quartet yet written at that time.
Even two centuries after their premiere, they remain historical landmarks of the quartet genre. The birth of the touring professional quartet and the economy of the international chamber music scene can be said to begin historically with the appearance of these works.
BEETHOVEN Duo in E-flat Major, “Two Eyeglasses Obbligato,” WoO 32
They are benchmarks by which all composers of string quartets since Beethoven have judged their own creations, and remain the standard by which quartet players today still measure their own acumen and achievement. In he wrote a document, known today as the Heiligenstadt Testament, to be read like a will in the case of his untimely death.
This declaration reads as a personal statement of his determination to overcome his personal sufferings, to conquer through music. In fact, the trials he faces only spur him on. The years following this testament were studded with success as Beethoven literally conquered every important genre in music one by one, each time with a groundbreaking and perennially popular work: Ballet, Creatures of Prometheus, Solo Piano, Waldstein Sonata, Symphony, Eroica, Oratorio, Christ on the Mount of Olives, Opera, Fidelio, Concerto, the Violin and the Piano Concerto No.
By the fall of , while putting the finishing touches on this heroic series of quartets, Beethoven, no doubt looking back on all these triumphs at the moment of completion, writes in the margins of his Op 59, No. These three quartets speak in a new language, which was to become the expected standard in years to come.
At once intimate and revolutionary, personal yet accessible to all, unique yet universal, they have become the gold standard for which any professional quartet was and is to be judged. These works obtain their essential life from a deep understanding of the fundamental qualities of the four quartet instruments and their basic interaction, yet are endlessly demanding in their emotional subtlety. The four parts are more nearly equal in prominence; the lower voices have more resonance. The melodies have a more sustained cantilena quality. Even so, each piece on its own displays a strong but multifaceted individual persona: whether spacious, tragic, and rambunctious like No.
The demanding style of the Opus 59s, which required and still require months of specialized ensemble practice to adequately perform, truly heralded the birth of the professional touring string quartet as we know it today. Shortly after their publication in , such writers as George Thomson in Edinburgh already lamented their difficulty, claiming that there were fewer than a dozen people in Scotland who could take a part in them, and not even one who could play the first violin part in all three.
It was the challenge of the Opus 59s that drew new audiences from every walk of life to their concerts to hear these works for themselves. A new audience and a new type of musician were being born.
Perhaps more than any other pieces in the repertoire, the message of this music speaks for itself. This is truly music written by one to inspire all, despite suffering and setbacks, to great deeds; to be true to yourself and to the promise within.
Clarinet Studio Class: Free listening!
It is music that looks always with heroism and hope to the future. It is not about the past. Allegro Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando Adaio molto e mesto Theme russe: Allegro. It is officially in seven movements, but it might be more constructive to consider it as a single vast movement, as there is no true break between the movements.
And original it is. Divorced from the drama of his middle period works, Opus and the other late quartets are far more reflective and inward-looking. Beethoven pushes the boundaries of tonality as well, taking the listed key of C-sharp Minor as only a brief starting point and transitioning subtly but frequently through related and unrelated key areas.
B-flat major - Wikipedia
The Allegro molto vivace is a dance movement with a light, folklike theme that seems to constantly ascend. The severe third movement emulates recitative and allows for a transition in key and character to the graceful theme of the fourth movement theme and variations. Melodic form sometimes emerges only gradually from repeated notes and gestures, and textures are often interrupted and fragmented, momentarily, before the original idea of that variation returns.
The fifth movement Presto breaks out from a sudden staccato cello motif based around an E Major triad.
Scherzo-like in character but in duple meter, the flow is often interrupted. A more legato trio theme emerges in octaves, first in the violins, then in the viola and cello. The minor-mode sixth movement provides a solemn transition to the sonata form seventh movement Allegro, back in C-sharp minor. The abrupt, angular first theme fades into a more lyrical second theme that seems to descend into the earth. In a vast development of the two themes, ideas trade back and forth at a rapid-fire pace, with other unrelated ideas occasionally finding their way in.
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Given the ingenious ways Beethoven evolves this work continuously through profound emotional trajectories, it is unsurprising that, when Schubert heard it on his deathbed, he was left in a state of overwhelmed ecstasy. Apparently his playing was poor by then, due to his growing deafness, but the trio itself was received quite well. In the development an excursion to piano trills and string pizzicatos is delicate and balletic. The three players exchange ideas in a smooth and harmonious fashion, collaborating to create clear but lush textures.
The second movement Scherzo pits the violin and cello against one another in complementary lines; then it brings the piano in for exchanges in which melodies flow between the instruments without interruption. The central trio begins with imitation from a very chromatic cello line, seemingly mysterious but building to rich harmonies and a piano outburst. The third movement Andante cantabile is a theme and variations on a majestic harmonic progression introduced by the piano.
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