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Music Talks > 2016 Winter

Music Club: Wednesday 14 December 2016 (7 - 8:30 pm)


Title: Beethoven, the Battle with Classical Form
Talk: The Rasumovsky Quartet Op 59 No 1 (No 7 in F major)
Performed by the Belcea Quartet
Presented by Akram Najjar

Click Here to download the presentation given in the talk.

Language: English supported by Arabic

Click Here to view the YouTube of this Performance

The Talk
The string quartet is a genre that travelled with Beethoven throughout his life. Starting with the early 6 quartets (OP 18), continuing with the Middle Quartets (the 3 Rasumovsky Op 59, the Op 74 and the Op 95) and the great late quartets, the last few works that he wrote.
Beethoven struggled all his life with the giant purpose of renovating his musical composition. His early period represented a consolidation of the principles setup by Haydn and Mozart (more Haydn than Mozart). The middle period represents the break with the Classical Period.

However, many people remember the revolutionary aspect of Beethoven without specifying where the change took place. In fact, Beethoven did not change the main structures of the Classical Forms (the form of the work). Essentially, he stuck to them. However, their internal form was changed. Sonata Form with two themes was always used yet what Beethoven did with these themes

The talk will take us through the 4 movements of this wonderful work. Unusually, ALL of them are based on the Sonata Allegro Form, created by the early classical composers (CPE Bach and Johann Christian Bach) and consolidated by Haydn. Yet, there are changes in the way Beethoven handles the themes. In two movements, he is ambiguous about whether the movement is based on the Sonata Allegro or the Scherzo A-B-A-B-A while another Sonata Allegro movement can be considered a Rondo too. There is a switching in the accepted order of movements, a Scherzo coming in as the second movement instead of a slow one.
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