Wednesday, 22 October 2008

182. Ludwig van Beethoven - String Quartets op.18 (1800)


Title: The Early String Quartets
Performers: Takács Quartet
Year: 2002-2003
Length: 2 hours 20 minutes


Beethoven was something else. Quite literally something very different from Haydn or Mozart, this is most apparent here by his repeated use of sforzando to high emotional effectiveness.

It is this emotional punch that puts him rightfully in his place as the daddy of Romanticism. Just to have an idea you should listen to the Adagio of the first quartet and the last movement of the sixth quartet. They are both supremely effective emotionally and very visual.

The way in which Beethoven invokes the feeling of melancholy in the last movement of the last quartet on this recording is almost gothic in its ambience. This is an emotional depth that the rococo style was completely unaware that was possible. For that reason alone this is indispensable.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The fourth movement [of the sixth quartet] is the crux of the piece and possibly the highlight of Op. 18. It is marked "Questo pezzo si deve trattare colla più gran delicatezza" ("This piece is to be played with the greatest delicacy"). The first section, in 2/4 time is marked Adagio and on one reading matches the "Melancholy" of the title. The second section marked "Allegretto quasi allegro" is in 3/8 time and is more sanguine. It is a fast and simple evocation of a Viennese ballroom or German country dance. This proceeds in contrast to the first section but eventually grinds to a halt on a fortissimo diminished chord. There follows a brief return of section 1 (10 bars) followed by a briefer return of section 2 (5 bars) (in a minor) followed by an ever briefer return of section 1 (only 2 bars). This is followed by section 3, which is really a lengthier return of section 2, which starts in G and moves back to B♭.

Last Movement of the sixth quartet:

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