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Update Required To play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Within this medium, he was extremely prolific; 83 works for quartet are attributed to him. Some of those pieces have, in recent years, been deemed spurious by scholars i. Not only did he compose a great quantity of quartets, but the quality of those pieces is very high - setting such a standard for this type of composition that later composers, including Mozart and Beethoven, would pattern their quartets on his, striving for their exquisite beauty and perfection.
This collection, String Quartets, Volume 11 , contains the two quartets from Op.
Haydn: String Quartets Op 77, Etc /Mosaïques Quart - Naive: | Buy from ArkivMusic
III, also known as the "Lobkowitz" quartets; it also includes the final quartet, Op. What makes this movement highly unusual is the subsequent Allegro section that boisterously interrupts halfway through.
The allegro is as brief as it is unexpected, and the movement ends with the same adagio feel in which it began. The third movement is, predictably, a light and playful Scherzo that dances along with the good nature of any Scherzo. Unlike many of Beethoven's other Scherzos, however, this one does not contain any of the musical surprises that often bring a humorous or boisterous feel to the movement. It is, instead, lively but very polite in character.
The final movement is an Allegro with a Quasi Presto marking. It is quite energetic and quick from the start and, similarly to the first movement, the opening motif returns and is developed in many inventive ways. Most of the melodic motion is scalar, though it is combined with short lyrical melodies. The close of the movement is exuberant and in keeping with the good nature of the piece. Before turning to the composition of string quartets, Beethoven devoted his first years in Vienna to mastering the genres popular in that city: piano sonatas, string trios, duo sonatas for piano and violin or cello, and short songs and opera arias.
No doubt Beethoven's apparent trepidation when approaching the string quartet medium was a result of the immense shadow cast by Haydn, whose Opp.
Works on This Recording
To prepare himself for his eventual foray into the genre, Beethoven studied the works of others. They were not written in their published order, but rather Nos. The number of quartets comprising his Opus 18 is but one of Beethoven's nods to tradition, for sets usually included six works.
Also, in Nos. In his Opus 18 quartets we find Beethoven both mastering the styles of his predecessors and forging into new territory. For instance, the independence of the four parts is much greater than in the works of his predecessors, which may be attributable to the fact that Beethoven developed his skills during a time freed from the hitherto ubiquitous basso continuo.
PROGRAM NOTES: Danish String Quartet
Despite the numerous recent models, and despite the fact that the String Quartets, Op. The quartet in D major No. Its opening, with nearly all of the motion in the first violin supported by sustained harmonies, resembles the beginning of Haydn's Quartet, Op. The first movement begins with an emphasis on the dominant-seventh chord, while the second theme group flirts with the minor dominant, allowing an unusual excursion into C major.
The rest of the quartet comprises a conventional movement pattern, but the Presto finale is a sonata, not a rondo. Although it is not labeled as such, the third movement is a minuet, albeit with some unusual, forward-looking touches. For example, the return of the minuet after the trio is not the standard da capo repeat, but is completely written out, with additional repetitions of and variations on the original material.
The only quartet from Beethoven's Opus 18 set to be cast in a minor key, this was also, despite its number, the last of the six to be completed. Before this quartet, though, he'd used C minor without any special sense of tragedy; now, for the first time, he invests his C minor music with a special emotional depth, particularly in the sonata form Allegro ma non tanto. This opening movement immediately spins forth a worried violin theme over agitated accompaniment, interrupted by a series of jagged chords.
The violins continue with lyrical, minor mode material, still with a restless accompaniment in the viola and cello. The exposition continues through several brief episodes in the same vein, ending with an odd sequence of quiet chords, a soft allusion to the jagged chords heard earlier. In the development section, Beethoven heightens the anxiety through key modulations while essentially repeating the structure of the exposition; apparently he felt little need to wrench the thematic components apart and recombine their fragments. By the time the recapitulation arrives, the thematic pattern has been clarified.
The surprise comes with the structure of the inner movements. There's no traditional slow movement; instead, Beethoven offers a scherzo followed by a minuet, both in moderate tempos. The scherzo is not the raucous joke Beethoven would favor in his symphonies. It feels more like a traditional minuet, with a fairly capricious character the key is now C major. The structure could be considered a sonata form, with the central section being a largely polyphonic development of the themes Beethoven has already introduced.
Haydn: Quartet Op. 77/1; Nordheim: Duplex; Bartok: String Quartets no. 5 / Engegardkvartetten
The minuet proper, Allegretto, returns to C minor. If the scherzo seemed more like a minuet, this minuet has the character of a scherzo, fairly quick and unsettled. The trio features a jittery eighth note figure in the first violin, under which the second violin trades two-bar phrases with the viola and cello. The concluding C minor Allegro is a rondo that begins with an impassioned theme dominated by the first violin. The second section is more placid, and the next contrasting episode features humorous triplets rising from the cello up through the ensemble.
The third contrasting episode picks up more of the agitation of the rondo theme, so when the latter returns one last time it can make its full effect only if played, as Beethoven indicates, as quickly as possible. Despite its numbering, this quartet was probably the fourth of the six that comprise Beethoven's Opus 18 set, dedicated to Prince Lobkowitz. The composer reordered the entire group upon its completion in Beethoven's rearranging was logical, based apparently on the character of the quartets.
In general, the first three in the final numbering are fairly faithful to Classical forms, while the second three tend to be unorthodox and somewhat experimental. In certain respects, the latter trio of quartets might be viewed as a significant part of the composer's transition to the methods and styles of his so-called middle period. The String Quartet No. The main theme is joyous and the mood optimistic, though the second subject contains material that is a bit more serious.
The development section is noteworthy for what it mostly lacks -- development. Only the latter half contains substantive development, but in a manner that looks backward in style, or, rather, aims toward the simple. The recapitulation includes some delightful changes in the material.
The second-movement Menuetto features an attractive, lively dance theme whose simplicity is beguiling for its grace and subtle character. If the first movement stands as the least progressive panel in this work, then the trio of this Menuetto may be the most advanced. Yet, it too, is rather simple, and more than one commentator has heard in it a foreshadowing of the music of Schubert.
Beethoven puts on display some interesting canonic writing when the main dance melody returns. The next movement is marked Andante cantabile, and its Mozartean character has often been noted. Mozart's Quartet in A, K. Beethoven presents a simple slow theme and follows with five variations. As suggested above, the finale, too, is indebted to Mozart. Indeed, Beethoven borrows a theme, placing it near the end of the development section.
But "imitation" would be too strong a word to use in describing the relationship between the two composers' music in the finale. In fact, the main themes clearly come from the pen of Beethoven, and the development section, muscular and anxious, is also easily recognized as his, despite the thematic foray into Mozart's world. This Allegro movement features a recapitulation and closes with an attractive coda.
A typical performance of the quartet lasts around a half hour. This was the last of the group of six quartets in the Op. The third actually appears to have been composed first. The reason the composer changed the order was apparently due to the character of the quartets: the first three generally adhere to traditional forms, while the latter group are fairly unorthodox and varied in style.
But there may have been another reason he arranged them so: the last three all contain substantial references to the past, the Fourth and Fifth showing deference to Mozart and the Sixth appearing as a patchwork of compositions out of Beethoven's own past. Still, both groups of quartets are worthwhile, and the Sixth especially, in its second and fourth movements, offers glimpses of the mature Beethoven. The first movement is marked Allegro con brio, and while it hardly introduces anything innovative, it does present some musical merrymaking. The joyful main theme contains that already characteristic Beethovenian urgency.
The second theme is less driven and takes on an almost stately character at the outset, but eventually turns effervescent and manic. The material is repeated, after which the development section ensues.