Beethoven's theatrical quartets : opp. 59, 74, and 95 by Nancy November

By Nancy November

Beethoven's middle-period quartets, Opp. fifty nine, seventy four and ninety five, are items that have interaction deeply with the classy rules in their time. within the first complete contextual examine of those works, Nancy November celebrates their area of expertise, exploring their reception background and early functionality. In certain analyses, she explores ways that the quartets have either mirrored and formed the very concept of chamber track and gives a brand new old figuring out of the works' actual, visible, social and ideological features. within the procedure, November offers a clean critique of 3 key paradigms in present Beethoven reviews: the point of interest on his overdue interval; the emphasis on 'heroic' type in discussions of the center interval; and the assumption of string quartets as 'pure', 'autonomous' works of art, bring to an end from social moorings. Importantly, this learn indicates that the quartets surround a brand new lyric and theatrical impetus, that's an important a part of their distinct, explorative personality

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2). Although no listeners are depicted here, ‘serious listening’ of the kind that Wackenroder would have approved of is implied. The etching depicts the quartet as a musical work embodied in the score: one sees in particular detail heads intently contemplating the musical parts, which are illuminated and central. Indeed, the first violin score is partly legible by the viewer. 23 The players use specially constructed double-facing music stands, which, like the Quartet-Tisch (quartet table), reinforces the inward and intimate nature of quartet performance: the outsider’s view is restricted; the viewer must move close to ‘take part’.

Bradford Robinson in C. Dahlhaus, Nineteenth-Century Music (University of California Press, 1989), p. 95. 1 Johann Carl Arnold, Quartettabend bei Bettina von Arnim (1855), watercolour quartet playing Beethoven’s Op. 59 No. 3 (1904; Fig. 2). Although no listeners are depicted here, ‘serious listening’ of the kind that Wackenroder would have approved of is implied. The etching depicts the quartet as a musical work embodied in the score: one sees in particular detail heads intently contemplating the musical parts, which are illuminated and central.

1800. 71 Beethoven was somewhat insulated against the realities of the social divide with which other composers had to contend. 72 This was one factor in the high level of technical and musical challenge in his string quartets. To be sure, middle-class access to chamber music making and semipublic concerts was increasing. The burgeoning Viennese salon culture in general, and chamber music in particular, could be understood as an outlet for the Bürgertum, who were otherwise politically almost powerless and subject to stringent censorship in all kinds of interactions.

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