Beethoven Op. 18 String Quartets, Part 2
Note: This episode will be a lot more enjoyable if you listen to Part 1 first!
As we turn towards the final three quartets of the set, we’ll see a lot of the same characteristics of the first 3; a perfect classical era proportionality, strong influences from Haydn and Mozart, and that perfect blend of vividly drawn but just very slightly restrained characters that marks Beethoven’s early period. But we also will see something else. We will see C Minor, Beethoven’s favorite key to depict drama and anxiety, we will see music that is almost impossibly charming and Mozartian coming from a composer as irascible as Beethoven, and then we will arrive at Op. 18 No. 6, perhaps the most emotionally complex and forward looking of the 6 Op. 18 quartets. We’ll take our same birds eye view of each of these quartets, as we did last week, but I will also do two more deep dives. We'll take apart the first movement of Op. 18 No. 4, and the last movement of Op. 18 No. 6, which is the movement that for many is the highlight of these quartets. Along the way, we’ll enjoy all of the quirky details of these three mini masterpieces, and see how Beethoven was starting to break the mold and set out onto his own path, one note at a time.
PS: All recordings used on the show for the last two weeks were done by The Cleveland Quartet - recordings of the complete quartets are available at clevelandquartet.com