Music for a Sunday - Beethoven

"Written by Ludwig van Beethoven, the Opus 131 quartet is the pinnacle of his creative output; it was the next to last piece he wrote before he died, and it is said to have been his favorite quartet. His final six string quartets were strikingly different from his earlier quarters, inhabiting a different world of art and experience. It’s tempting to ascribe this to the hardships, pain and grief that Beethoven had experienced throughout his life, from the loss of his hearing, a lengthy and custody battle for his nephew, his unrequited loves, illnesses, and disillusion with political leadership.

Beethoven found ways to express ideas – musically – that no other composer before him had, and broke out of the usual mold to achieve that. The Opus 131 quartet is an astonishingly bold piece of musical architecture, but it is almost schizoid and unpredictable in its format. Its seven movements are played without pause, in lengths ranging from 44 seconds to over 13 minutes, with 31 tempo changes and six distinct main key areas. The complete work is a densely-packed, highly economical 35-36 minutes, full of great contrasts in mood and sound."


Kinsley Suer
 
The first piece on my autumn mix:


 

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