Chamber (includes Solo)
21 April 2015
“As might have been anticipated, Beethoven’s immense quartette outshone all what preceded it, although this was offered to us by the genius of a Mozart and a Schumann. Mozart’s charm and grace and inimitable fluency of melody; Schumann’s depth, humor, originality and thoroughly poetical sentiment, although embodied in works of first magnitude, were but pale stars compared with that mighty light which, when it first appeared on the musical horizont, dazzled so much the eyes of the musicians and amateurs, that they could not bear to look at it closely, and consequently could not appreciate its beauty. But fortunately our musical generation has grown stronger, and of all the last quartets by Beethoven none is so thorough relished as this offering of gratitude for the recovery of a wearisome disease the great master had at that time experienced.
The quartet was composed in 1825, and performed for the first time in November of the same year. It is second in the list of the last grand quarette [sic] of Beethoven, and although it came immediately after the one in E flat, at first so little understood by the Vienna artists, it was partially much better appreciated than the one just mentioned. The difficulty with regard to understanding chiefly referred to the variations of the third part, written in the Lydian key (without the B flat), a very fine movement, highly characteristic for the purpose for which it was written, but, of course, rather unusual and strange, not only in 1825 but also now. As to melody, this quartet bears a favorable comparison with any Beethoven has written, and as to intensity of feeling and dramatic conception and fire, it stands unrivaled in the long list of compositions of this kind. It taxes the ability of the performers to a great extent, especially is the part for the first violin very brilliant and difficult, but our artists did well with it, and certainly there could not have been a better and more honorable conclusion of their difficult task than the performance of this master-work.”