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Variation IV turns dark with a change of key to minor. Variation V is a coy conversation between the two instruments. The piano is optimistic and brilliant, the cello sober and simple. Variation VI sounds much like Bach, featuring broken scales in a highly contrapuntal setting. Variation VII allows the cello to run in a brilliant virtuosic display. The piano gets one chance to show off, in an outburst typical of the composer. In a shocking g minor fortissimo, the piano pounds out the tune in crashing chords against wild scales that move from hand to hand.

Dramatically, the storm ceases for a moment in the prayer-like middle section. Variation IX is childlike and innocent, breezing over the anger of the previous variation. Variation XI, marked Adagio, is the most extended slow movement of all three sets of variations. Variation XII, the finale, is the most carefree.

Beethoven transforms the theme into a lively dance in triple meter.

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After some odd excursions into foreign keys the mirth returns and the work ends in appropriately triumphant style. This massive quartet, consisting of six movements that span a total of nearly 50 minutes, concluded with a complex and extremely difficult fugue that left the first audience stunned. Why not the Fugue? The first movement is built on two contrasting tempos: a reverent Adagio ma non troppo and a quick Allegro that flies along on a steady rush of sixteenth-notes. These tempos alternate, sometimes in sections only one measure long — there is some extraordinarily beautiful music here, full of soaring themes and unexpected shifts of key.

By contrast, the Presto — flickering and shadowy — flits past in less than two minutes. The solemn opening of the Andante is a false direction, for it gives way to a rather elegant movement in sonata form, full of poised, flowing, and calm music.

The fourth movement, titled Alla danza tedesca German Dance is based on the rocking, haunting little tune that opens the movement. Everyone is struck by the intensity of the Cavatina, though few agree as to what it expresses — some feel it tragic, others view it as serene; Beethoven himself confessed that even thinking about this movement moved him to tears. Near the end comes an extraordinary passage that Beethoven marks Beklemmt Oppressive , the music seems to stumble and then makes its way to the close over halting and uncertain rhythms.

The flowing central section, a Meno mosso e moderato in G-flat major, is fugal in character rather than taking the form of a strict fugue. It gives way to the Allegro molto e con brio, bristling with trills and sudden pauses. Near the close, Beethoven recalls fragments of the different sections then offers a full-throated restatement of the fugue theme before the rush to the cadence.

He began this rondo finale in Gneixendorf in September and mailed the manuscript off to his publisher on November He returned to Vienna the following week, took to bed, and died the following March. This dancing, high-spirited music is the last that he completed. Performed immediately by the string quartet of Ignaz Schuppanzigh, the music was a failure at its premiere.

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The composer attended their rehearsals and supervised their interpretation though deaf, he could follow their performance by watching the movement of their bows. The second performance was successful, and this quartet was performed publicly at least ten more times in and always to great acclaim. Certain features of the late quartets did defy quick comprehension, but this was not true of the Quartet in E-flat Major.

It has a straightforward structure: a sonata-form first movement, a variation-form slow movement, a scherzo in ABA form, and a dance-finale. But to reduce this music to such simplicity is to miss the extraordinary originality beneath its appealing and gentle surface. In the first movement, Beethoven seems to set out intentionally to blur the outlines of traditional sonata form, which depends on the opposition of material.

Contrast certainly seems to be implied at the beginning, which opens with a firm chordal Maestoso, but this Maestoso quickly melts into the flowing main theme, marked Allegro. The powerful Maestoso returns twice more, each time in a different key, and then drops out of the movement altogether; Beethoven builds the movement almost exclusively out of the opening melody and an equally gentle second subject.

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Two softly pulsing measures lead to the main theme of the Adagio, a serene melody introduced by the first violin and repeated by the cello. Six variations follow, each growing organically out of the previous one until the music achieves a kind of rhapsodic calm — and the original theme has been left far behind. Four sharp pizzicato chords introduce the scherzo, and these four chords then vanish, never to reappear. The fugue-like opening section, built on a dotted figure and its inversion, leads to a brief trio section in E-flat minor.

Marked only Finale there is no tempo indication , the last movement opens with a four-measure introduction that launches off in the wrong direction before the true main theme appears in the first violin. Of rustic simplicity, this melody has been compared to a country dance, and the second theme — a jaunty march tune decorated with grace notes — preserves that atmosphere. The very end, back in E-flat major, is calm, resounding — and perfect. The audience loved it, and soon the Septet was performed throughout Europe. Working with a fairly even balance between winds and strings, Beethoven writes attractive music full of energy and high spirits.

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.

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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.


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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. 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. Sonata in F major, Op. Sonata in c minor, Op. Sonata in G major, Op.

Sonata in g minor, Op. Sonata in C major, Op. String Trio in E flat major, Op. Allegro molto. String Quartet No. Allegro molto, quasi presto. Finale, Presto. Allegretto molto. Allegretto con variazioni. Larghetto espressivo, Allegretto agitato. Andante con moto ma non troppo. Alla danza tedesca. Finale, Allegro. Allegro appassionato. Der schwer gefasste Entschluss.

Allegro vivace. Sextet for 2 horns, 2 violins, viola and cello in E flat major, Op. Duo for clarinet and bassoon. Fifth movement. About Samples Piano Rolls. What's MIDI? How to save How to play. Privacy TOS. Bach, J. Gabrieli, G. Hammerschmidt Handel Hassler Haydn, F.