Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Beethoven: String Quartets Op. 59 No. 1 and Op. 130

"I could not possibly identify a favorite work of Beethoven, but nothing he wrote strikes me as more emblematic of his personality than the Cavatina from the Quartet Op. 130. In it, after several minutes of uninterrupted, always-yearning melody, the music begins to break down, and what was previously expressed unhindered, in the most open-hearted manner, now comes out in fits and starts, effortful and uncertain. This extraordinary passage is marked beklemmt, roughly translated as 'oppressed,' and many interpret this peculiar and entirely unprecedented direction as connoting sorrow, anguish. But the oppression I hear in this music is not anguish, but shortness of breath, the kind that comes from a heightened state of emotion -- in this case, tenderness gone out of control" (Jonathan Biss, "Beethoven's Shadow").

View catalog record here!


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