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Even at the start of the Allegro vivace the key of C major is initially shadowed and tentative before emerging unequivocally, with a glorious sense of release, at the first sustained forte. From here on the music is predominantly exuberant, relishing the depth and sonorous brilliance of C major.

Yet the movement also has its whimsical, quizzical streak. Paradoxically, though, the Andante con moto quasi Allegretto sounds more exotically Slavonic than anything in Op. With its rhythmic obsessiveness and atmosphere of remote sadness, this is the most inscrutable movement in Op.

Beethoven brings us back to the light of common day with an almost exaggeratedly decorous minuet, a half-nostalgic, half-ironic glance back to an earlier age shades here of the galant theme in the previous movement. In the pianissimo coda C major slips to a shadowy C minor. The promise of a full-blown fugue is, though, short-lived. And it is surely not too fanciful to hear this whole torrential movement as a triumphant assertion of the will in the face of his affliction.

String Quartet in C sharp minor, Op. Adagio, ma non troppo e molto espressivo — 2. Allegro molto vivace — 3. Allegro moderato — 4.

String Quartet No. 14 (Beethoven) - Wikipedia

Andante, ma non troppo e molto cantabile — 5. Presto — 6. Adagio quasi un poco andante — 7. While we might like to imagine Beethoven composing his late quartets of in hermetic isolation from the world, the truth is that they were created in response to a growing public demand for string quartets. Several publishers vied to acquire the rights to the three works Opp , and that Beethoven had written at the behest of Prince Nicholas Galitzin. And while he was still wrestling with the Grosse Fuge finale of Op.

This turned out to be the C sharp minor, begun in late and finished the following summer. But though there are accounts of earlier private performances, including, poignantly, one to Schubert on his deathbed, it was not heard in public until Ever unpredictable in his dealings with publishers, Beethoven eventually sold the rights not to Schlesinger who later received the F major Quartet, Op. Schott failed to see the joke, and had to be reassured that the work was in fact brand new. Yet Beethoven being Beethoven, he welds diversity into a profound unity. He fashions tight motivic links between sections, drawing much of the material from the prominent pairs of semitones in the fugue theme B sharp-C sharp, A-G sharp , and alluding to the fugue theme in the finale.

Beyond this, the sections do not so much end as dissolve into each other, creating the impression of a vast single span that traverses various related keys before finally reasserting C sharp minor. But the music ranges through a wider spectrum of tonalities than we ever find in a Bach fugue, straying as far as E flat minor and B major before settling in A major for an ethereal canonic episode for the two violins. Beethoven then builds in a series of waves to a great climax, with the cello tolling the main theme in longer note values against rising sequences in the first violin and syncopations in the inner voices.

As the music seems to ebb away on bare octaves, C sharp rises softly to D and the second movement — a secretive, quizzical scherzo — steals in. This is in effect a continuous variation on a gently rocking melody which makes prominent play with the pairs of semitones from the fugue.


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As so often in these late quartets, Beethoven here uses simple, even childlike, material in odd and subversive ways. After a sudden boisterous outburst — the first fortissimo in the work — the movement fades inconclusively. Then two brisk cadential chords initiate a few bars of quasi-operatic recitative, complete with cadenza-like flourishes: a brief interlude between the scherzo and the central variation movement. The melody is shared between the two violins, a subtle division made more clearly audible on the repeat, when the second violin drops down an octave.

Beethoven also indulges his fondness for extreme and bizarre contrasts. The sublime meditation of the fourth variation — a slow, spiritualised waltz — culminates in a chain of trills. Then, with a sudden shift from A to C major, Beethoven launches a coda that becomes riotously infested with trills before dissolving into the ether. A blunt E major cello arpeggio kick-starts the fifth movement, a duple-time scherzo full of zany disruptions of rhythm, dynamics and tempo. The Trio section — a smoother, less frenetic variant of the opening tune — comes round twice and feints at yet another reprise; but Beethoven deflects this into a madcap, slightly eerie coda where the instruments play the main theme sul ponticello ie with the bows close to the bridge.

The sixth section is a brief but intensely poignant Adagio quasi un poco Andante that functions as an introduction to the finale. String Trio No. String Quartet in B flat Major, Op. It makes a nice change from Haydn where a classical era quartet is needed. String Quintet No. Appealing melodies, good for home or concert. Howard Hanson String Quartet in One Movement, Op. It is a work sure to make a strong impression Emil Hartmann Piano Trio in B flat Major, Op. Emil Hartmann Hartmann Fine recital work. Josef Haydn Three String Trios, Op. William Heilman Piano Trio in C Major, Op.

Schumannesque, with appealing melodies and effective writing. Peter Heise Cello Sonata in a minor A very valuable addition to the mid-romantic cello repertoire.

Piano Trio in E flat Major Full of youthful energy and vigor. Combines classical form with romantic expression often with Nordic folk melodies. Definitely first rate Gustav Helsted String Quartet No. Will make a strong impression in concert. Gustav Helsted Decet in D Major, Op. Not to be missed, an absolute concert choice.

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Late Beethoven Revelations: String Quartet No. 14, Op. 131

Fini Henriques Piano Trio in G major, Op. A comfortable performance piece for amateurs Fini Henriques Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel Piano Trio in d minor, Op. Adolph Henselt Piano Trio in a minor, Op. First class all the way. Louise Heritte-Viardot Piano Quartet in d minor, WoO Actually her first piano quartet, premiered to great acclaim, it inexplicably disappeared. Piano Quartet No.


  1. String Quartet No.14, Op.131 (Beethoven, Ludwig van);
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  4. String Quartet in D minor, D.810 (Schubert, Franz).
  5. Appealing melodies, fine part-writing. Very effectively written. Friedrich Hermann Capriccio No. Very well written.

    Media Review / Comparison

    Hermann masterfully interweaves 3 similar timbres. Once again, Hermann demonstrates his masterly compositional technique. Suite in d minor for 3 Violins, Op. All three violinists need to be of good techical ability. A superb work no doubt. String Quartet in e minor, Op. Eduard Herrmann String Trio in g minor, Op. Valuable addition to the repertoire Eduard Herrmann Heinrich von Herzogenberg Violin Sonata No. Lovely melodies and makes a excellent recital selection Heinrich von Herzogenberg Very fine and not to be missed.

    Exploring Beethoven’s Quartets: Richard Wigmore writes about Op.18:5, Op.59:3 and Op.131

    Richly scored and darkly tinged, this work belongs in the recital hall. Cello Sonata No. A recital must. The cello does not struggle to be heard. Definite recital piece. Composed before he came under the influence of Brahms. First rate from start to finish. Some Brahmsian touches here and there. String Quintet 2 Violas in c minor, Op. Makes superb use of instrumental color with very attractive thematic material.