Author Topic: Beethoven's String Quartets  (Read 146770 times)

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Baron Scarpia

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #900 on: January 19, 2018, 09:41:01 AM »
Actually there are. Performance is a science and since we know almost everything about Beethoven's time it is quite easy.

Somehow ROTFL doesn't quite capture it. You've deluded yourself into thinking your taste is a science. How special for you!

The One

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #901 on: January 19, 2018, 09:43:03 AM »
but 14 is good :)

or not :). But you should begin to learn to take responsibility of your money, assuming that you are past adolescence. You know they say adolescence ends at 24 years of age these days

The One

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #902 on: January 19, 2018, 09:43:36 AM »
Somehow ROTFL doesn't quite capture it. You've deluded yourself into thinking your taste is a science. How special for you!

That attitude won't help you. Anyway, I stop communicating with you as of now. But if you want to read some books on performance, I have quite a few and would be more than happy to share with you, which could ease your burden of spent money
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 09:45:36 AM by The One »

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #903 on: January 19, 2018, 09:48:18 AM »
Actually there are. Performance is a science and since we know almost everything about Beethoven's time it is quite easy.

We don't know almost everything about our own time. People argue about how the Rite of Spring should be performed. We have a recording by the man who conducted the premier and Stravinsky recorded it himself. People claim he didn't do it right. :)

Offline Herman

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #904 on: January 19, 2018, 10:46:29 AM »

However I can point out that they have left out the final finale composed by Beethoven for Op 130. I find it absolutely fine that they think the Grosse Fuge is a more suitable finale, but there I find no justification whatever for failing to record Beethoven's own finale, which is after all an undeniably superb movement for string quartet written by Beethoven during his almost god-like "Late Period." 

The Grosse Fuge is also Beethoven's own.

A lot of people find the later finale to op 130 a bit tepid.

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #905 on: January 19, 2018, 10:49:04 AM »
The Grosse Fuge is also Beethoven's own.

A lot of people find the later finale to op 130 a bit tepid.

I love the Grosse Fuge as well, but Beethoven did replace it. It is said that he was pressured by the publisher, but when did Beethoven agree to change his music for a publisher? I must have come to agree that the Grosse Fuge was more suitable as an independent piece. In any case, I want the option.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #906 on: January 19, 2018, 12:52:08 PM »
I love the Grosse Fuge as well, but Beethoven did replace it. It is said that he was pressured by the publisher, but when did Beethoven agree to change his music for a publisher? I must have come to agree that the Grosse Fuge was more suitable as an independent piece. In any case, I want the option.

There are several features of the Grosse Fuge, though, that only make sense in light of the rest of op. 130, including motivic references to earlier movements and the opening outside of the main key.
"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #907 on: January 19, 2018, 01:44:01 PM »

I think the evidence that Beethoven wanted to go with the GF as the finale of op.130 is strong; the suggestion that he threw a bone to his publisher by composing the B♭ Allegro seems pretty solid, too. There are many examples where Beethoven acquiesced to his publishers' wishes... or, for that matter, composed lesser works on demand.

The primary choice for op.130 should probably the uncompromising op.133 ending, if we want the full late Beethoven.

Is it nice to have the option of the alternate ending? Sure. WOuld I be angry at any quartet that says that they will go with the primary version and skip recording the alternative? Because if I am going with the QF as the last movement in the first place, what's the point of offering the Allegro as a stand-alone? The other way 'round it works, but only when compromising (arguably) the whole quartet.  And realistically no one programs their CD player to correctly give you one version or the other, if the alternative is provided. That leaves the only proper option to record the quartet twice... once with the original ending and once with the substitute. (I think there's a quartet or two who did that... I just can't remember which one right now.)

Not sure that the QM's decision is one to be quite so upset over... Would you be more or less or equally upset, Scarpia, if their playing was REALLY to your liking?

Offline Cato

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #908 on: January 19, 2018, 01:51:07 PM »
I enjoyed this version of the Opus 131:


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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #909 on: January 19, 2018, 01:56:25 PM »
I enjoyed this version of the Opus 131:




The recording Lenny professed being most proud about, if I don't misremember.

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #910 on: January 19, 2018, 02:02:31 PM »
I think the evidence that Beethoven wanted to go with the GF as the finale of op.130 is strong; the suggestion that he threw a bone to his publisher by composing the B♭ Allegro seems pretty solid, too. There are many examples where Beethoven acquiesced to his publishers' wishes... or, for that matter, composed lesser works on demand.

The primary choice for op.130 should probably the uncompromising op.133 ending, if we want the full late Beethoven.

Is it nice to have the option of the alternate ending? Sure. WOuld I be angry at any quartet that says that they will go with the primary version and skip recording the alternative? Because if I am going with the QF as the last movement in the first place, what's the point of offering the Allegro as a stand-alone? The other way 'round it works, but only when compromising (arguably) the whole quartet.  And realistically no one programs their CD player to correctly give you one version or the other, if the alternative is provided. That leaves the only proper option to record the quartet twice... once with the original ending and once with the substitute. (I think there's a quartet or two who did that... I just can't remember which one right now.)

Not sure that the QM's decision is one to be quite so upset over... Would you be more or less or equally upset, Scarpia, if their playing was REALLY to your liking?

No one? I do. (Actually, I did, now I usually stream music to my DAC through a computer, which makes it even easier to program the sequence of tracks I want to hear).

And what's this silliness about having to record the quartet twice? For people incapable of programming their CD player or computer they would only have to prepare two CDs with alternate final movements. That would add 50 cents to the manufacturing cost of the set.

Of all of the sets of Beethoven quartets I own (that can think of, Vermeer, Italiano, Guarneri (two), La Salle, Tokyo (two) Takacs, Prazak, Hungarian (mono and stereo) Cleveland, Endelian, Amadeus) both finales are recorded. Only the Mosaiques and the Artemis omit the alternate finale. Including both has been the default choice.

In the end, you are probably right, it is moot for me since I have no desire to listen to the Mosaiques no matter what finale is provided. Now, if the Vermeer or Takacs left it off, that would be a loss!
« Last Edit: January 19, 2018, 02:30:05 PM by Baron Scarpia »

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #911 on: January 19, 2018, 02:05:59 PM »
I enjoyed this version of the Opus 131:




I like it too.

Offline Brian

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #912 on: January 19, 2018, 02:35:58 PM »
Would you be more or less or equally upset, Scarpia, if their playing was REALLY to your liking?
The correct answer has got to be more upset. Same reason silver medalists are sadder at the Olympics than bronze.

Baron Scarpia

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #913 on: January 19, 2018, 03:01:48 PM »
The correct answer has got to be more upset. Same reason silver medalists are sadder at the Olympics than bronze.

Yes, the answer is more upset, but peeved is probably a better word. But, of course, it is more fun to get peeved or upset over an issue that isn't very important.

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #914 on: January 19, 2018, 03:05:25 PM »

And what's this silliness about having to record the quartet twice?

That's on the assumption that you'd play it differently, if you knew the GF was coming in the end, or just the Allegro.
Now I seem to remember: I think The Lindsays (2nd Cycle) did it that way.

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Baron Scarpia

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #915 on: January 19, 2018, 03:08:04 PM »
That's on the assumption that you'd play it differently, if you knew the GF was coming in the end, or just the Allegro.
Now I seem to remember: I think The Lindsays (2nd Cycle) did it that way.

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Well, you might want play that little movement that leads into the finale differently. I can't imagine you would play the bulk of the quartet differently.

Offline amw

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #916 on: January 19, 2018, 05:13:52 PM »
The Lindsays recorded the cavatina twice (because of the way it is linked to both finales) but not the rest of the quartet. The Elias Quartet has recorded Op.130 twice, once with the Grosse Fuge and once with the replacement finale, but it is of course a live cycle, ostensibly.

The Mosaïques and Edding recordings of Op.130 leave out the replacement finale because of their view of historically informed performance and therefore trying to replicate the conditions under which the work was first performed (when the movement did not exist yet).

Offline Herman

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #917 on: January 20, 2018, 01:15:30 AM »
I enjoyed this version of the Opus 131:




Playing a beautiful late Beethoven quartet as if it's hysterical Mahler sans brass and woodwinds; those awful sforzandi and drawnout tempi... Awful, tasteless and completely unnecessary.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #918 on: January 20, 2018, 01:29:00 AM »
I think the evidence that Beethoven wanted to go with the GF as the finale of op.130 is strong; the suggestion that he threw a bone to his publisher by composing the B♭ Allegro seems pretty solid, too. There are many examples where Beethoven acquiesced to his publishers' wishes... or, for that matter, composed lesser works on demand.
I don't think this is true. To my recollection, except for Leonore/Fidelio there is no other case where Beethoven changed a whole movement in a work that had already been performed publicly. Other changes usually took place before performance or preparation of the final manuscript (e.g. the replacement of the andante favori by the introduction in op.53 or the change of the finale in op.23 and there are probably more cases of that type). So op.130/133 is a rather unique case. At least anecdotically there are also more cases of Beethoven trowing fits if asked to change anything than of him acquiescing to anybody. Of course, this has often been exaggerated and there are also a really odd suggestion in some letter about leaving out the fugue in op.106 because it was too difficult and switching the order of scherzo and adagio to perform it in 3 movements. So he was both stubborn and practical, depending on the context.

So I don't think that settles the question of the finale in any way. Neither can one claim that Beethoven really regretted the fugue final and preferred the final form nor is it plausible that he gave in so quickly to the publisher's wishes.
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Online The new erato

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #919 on: January 20, 2018, 01:35:47 AM »

The Mosaïques and Edding recordings of Op.130 leave out the replacement finale because of their view of historically informed performance and therefore trying to replicate the conditions under which the work was first performed (when the movement did not exist yet).
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That seems slightly misguided to me. The substitute movement was still an original Beethoven composition and it would be interesting to hear it played  as they thought it might originally have been played.