Musical Genres

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 cultured principles in their time. within the first complete contextual examine of those works, Nancy November celebrates their distinctiveness, exploring their reception historical past and early functionality. In targeted analyses, she explores ways that the quartets have either mirrored and formed the very notion of chamber tune and provides a brand new old figuring out of the works' actual, visible, social and ideological features. within the method, November presents a clean critique of 3 key paradigms in present Beethoven experiences: the point of interest on his past due interval; the emphasis on 'heroic' sort in discussions of the center interval; and the belief of string quartets as 'pure', 'autonomous' artistic endeavors, bring to an end from social moorings. Importantly, this examine indicates that the quartets surround a brand new lyric and theatrical impetus, that's an important a part of their specific, explorative personality

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Extra resources for Beethoven's theatrical quartets : opp. 59, 74, and 95

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Wranitzky (Paul)’, Neues historisch-biographisches Lexikon der Tonkünstler, 4 vols. (Leipzig: Kühnel, 1814), vol. IV, p. 612. Hickmann, ‘The Flowering of the Viennese String Quartet’, 172. ) Botstein, ‘The Patrons and Publics of the Quartets’, pp. 96–7. The string quartet and the figure of theatre These metaphors suggest an expressive mode that encompasses rather than excludes the works’ visual and visceral aspects, taking account of the performers’ agency in constructing the works’ meanings. French writers of the time, for example, used metaphors of theatre to account for the experience of quartet music in particular.

The existence of an Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung review of these quartets from 27 February 1807 suggests that a performance of the quartets had already taken place, which the reporter had attended. See Chapter 3, n. 2. The first performance of Op. 95 is mentioned by A. Schindler, Biographie von Ludwig van Beethoven, 3rd edn (Münster: Aschendorff, 1860), part I, p. 197; Schindler’s comment is disseminated in G. Kinsky and H. Halm, Das Werk Beethovens: Thematisch-bibliographisches Verzeichnis seiner sämtlichen vollendeten Kompositionen (Munich and Duisburg: Henle, 1955), p.

29 No. 1, finale, bars 327–35 (Offenbach: André, c. 1799–1800) The string quartet and the figure of theatre A second crucial concept regarding this musical context and the blending of quartet subgenres is that of theatricality. By 1800, the string quartet had become well established as a synthetic genre, which quotes, fuses and reuses elements from various other genres. 34 String quartets did not only borrow from instrumental genres. 35 The slow movement from Beethoven’s Op. 18 No. 1, Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato, is a prime example.

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