String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2 - Viola

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Beethoven: String Quartet no. 8 in E minor, op. 59 no. 2

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Young Symphony Explorers. Families Charities Corporate Packages. Donate Now. Press Releases. Venue Victoria Concert Hall. Buy Tickets Buy Package. Programme Beethoven String Quartet No. Attend this Concert Take part in the th commemoration of one of the greatest composers of all time.

Children under 7 will not be admitted into the hall, even with a ticket. The movement opens with a rhythmically engaging four bar phrase comprised of just one repeated note played by the cello Beethoven would later employ this idea in the creation of the slow movement of his Seventh Symphony. This rhythmic motive serves as the structural underpinning for the music throughout the movement while more interesting melodic material is explored. One of the hallmarks of the second movement is the way Beethoven divides and shares the music among the four instruments of the quartet.

String Quartet No. 9 (Beethoven)

This ingenious manipulation of the texture creates a sense of freshness in the music, and allows the two primary themes to reinvent themselves throughout the movement. Either Beethoven was remembering the brother who was born a year before him, but who only survived for one week, or he was ironically mourning his other brother Casper, who had recently married a woman whom Beethoven detested. The lonely opening theme in the first violin, which is cast against a backdrop of dark harmonies in the lower three voices, is echoed in the cello and extended. A more hopeful second theme, played first in the cello and then passed to the first violin, provides a brief glimmer of hope before the feelings of utter despair return.

The slow movement moves to the finale without pause, as the first violin plays a series of virtuosic running scales, eventually landing on a trill.

String Quartet No.8, Op No.2 (Beethoven, Ludwig van) - IMSLP: Free Sheet Music PDF Download

The closing bars provide us with a fitting end to one of the true giants of the string quartet repertoire. The Quartet in E Minor, Op. The pathos laden first movement opens with two declamatory chords covering the interval of a fifth. Following a bar of silence, the first violin and cello introduce the first motivic figure. This opening motive quivers with quiet energy, full of dramatic promise. The concise sonata form first movement bustles with energy, and eventually finds its way to sure-footed emotional ground.

A rising tide of syncopation, shared by the quartet, ushers back the tolling chords from the opening. Spurred by accents and rhythmic energy, the movement covers a huge emotional range. Relatively simple melodic material is countered by a harmonic complexity that to this point had not been explored in the writing of quartets. The movement closes with a forte statement of the melodic motive that opened the movement, and then fades to a close. The texture is dappled with triplets, dotted rhythms, and the ever-present hymn, giving us a feeling expansiveness and intimacy.

The hymn appears one final time in the coda of the movement in fortissimo , with strong sforzandi pushing us toward the conclusion of the movement.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

The E minor Allegretto offers us a landscape of simplicity and clarity after the Adagio. The simple tune is accompanied with a sparse rhythm, keeping the texture uncluttered. The movement unfolds as follows: allegretto-trio-allegretto-trio-allegretto. The presto Finale begins in C major, although the key signature denotes E minor.

The symphonic physicality of this music is punctuated by driving rhythm and the energy of the running melodic lines. The return to the rondo theme is achieved through a playful passing of the first three notes of the melody between all four instruments. The closing prestissimo brings the piece to its impassioned final chords. The heroic Op. The slow twenty-two bar introduction that follows is anchored by a bass line that steadily descends an octave and a half while enigmatic melodic fragments flicker in the instruments above. Even as the main Allegro vivace body of the movement begins in the first violin, Beethoven cleverly withholds his true first theme for another twelve measures before allowing it to burst forth with unbridled exuberance in the upper three voices of the quartet.

The robust disposition of the music wanes briefly in the development as Beethoven splinters the music, spreading it in unexpected ways between the instruments of the quartet before closing the first movement with a very brief coda. Of the three Op. Or perhaps Ludwig van was showing the Russians that he could dish up a Russian sounding theme as good, if not better, than any Russian. When the viola gets the theme, the music is somewhat modified by the addition of unexpected accents and swells, creating a stormier mood.

Eventually the first violin ushers in a more dance-like second theme that lifts the spirits of the music, and provides a much needed sense of hope. When the movement finally fades to a close, it ends as it began, with a simple pizzicato.


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For the third movement, Beethoven chose to utilize the form of a minuet instead of a scherzo, which gave him the opportunity for grace and elegance instead of crackling energy. The movement, built on a smoothly contoured melody played first by the violin and then by the other instruments of the quartet, is patient and refined. By contrast, the trio is much more spirited and angular with lively arpeggios balanced by a running sixteenth note accompaniment.

Following the da capo return of the minuet, a somewhat reflective little coda closes the movement and sets up the direct segue to the finale. The sensational finale Op. In the face of his having to come to terms with his loss of hearing and the uncertainty of his professional and artistic future, Beethoven managed to leave us with this amazing movement that captures the joy of life like no other. Can anything in the world prevent you from expressing your soul in music? Once all four voices are in, Beethoven begins to skillfully dismantle the theme, dispersing the various components throughout the quartet of instruments giving each player a chance to shine.

The pace of the movement is rigorous and unrelenting; Beethoven halts the music only twice, as if to give the players a chance to catch their collective breaths, before reigniting the music and sending it charging to the brilliant finish.

The handful of years directly preceding the composition of the Op. During this brief time, Beethoven produced five string quartets Op. The concise first movement begins with a slow, questioning introduction, featuring a motive played by the first violin that serves as the melodic seed for the entire movement.