Beethoven's late quartets (Opp. 127, 131, 132, 135, and this one) were the only thing he wrote during the last three years of his life. These works grew in the midst of the physical and mental suffering that made these three years one long agony. Ill, deaf, poor, and alone, he found in the late quartets an outlet for his anguish and distress, sometimes weeping as he wrote.
We owe the existence of the late quartets to the wealthy Prince Nikolas Galizin, cellist of the St. Petersburg Quartet, who commissioned "one, two, or three new quartets" from Beethoven in 1822. Or perhaps it was a man by the name of Zeuner, the violist in Galitzin's quartet, who persuaded the Prince to commission the quartets rather than ordering a score of Weber's opera Der Freischütz, as Galitzin had been planning to do. In any event, Beethoven agreed to write the quartets, and began to do so 1824.
In all honesty, we could have included any one of Beethoven's
late quartets on our 15 Greatest pieces
list. This opus 130 quartet in B flat major can be said to be the
happiest of the bunch. Somehow amidst all of his suffering,
Beethoven, in a burst of youthful inspiration, managed to create
this radiant gem. It is also perhaps the most popular, with several
famous movements and a broad emotional range. Please feel free now
to listen to the recordings and peruse the analyses below.
The analysis of this piece has been split up by movement:
Here's what others have had to say about this piece... Press
if you want to add to this discussion.
|Return to the previous page|