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Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky Pyotr Il'yich Tchaikovsky

String Quartet No. 1 in D major, Op. 11
There are still so many beautiful things to be said in C major. Sergei Prokofiev

Beethoven, String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat Major, Op. 74, “Harp”

April 22nd, 2012

Ludwig van Beethoven, 1770-1827

String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat Major, Op. 74, “Harp”, 1809

Ludwig van BeethovenIts feels that Beethoven’s “Harp” quartet is somehow overlooked. A definite “middle period” work, it is followed quickly by the more innovative “Serioso” and then the late quartets, and it is preceded by the more landmark “Razumovsky” quartets of just a few years earlier. Even the earliest Op. 18 quartets appear more frequently on concert stages. Yet Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 10 in E-flat Major is a glorious work: full, rich and befitting the middle period character known as “Eroica.” Bountiful, beneficent, lavish and even sensuous, the “Harp” even features a dash of impressionistic pointillism with the first movement’s elegant pizzicato sections giving rise to the quartet’s historical nickname. Each of the four movements is a uniquely shaped touchstone of the multi-movement sonata form types and there is an overarching vector of momentum that joins these movements into a miraculous unity of purpose, design and expression. With its prevailing vitality, heart, invention and accessibility, one is almost tempted to call this Beethoven’s most “perfect” quartet. And yet, it is devilish to play. « more »

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