Writing in Vienna and in the style of Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven composed his first six string quartets between 1798 and 1800. The resulting work, Opus 18, was published in 1801, and provides important insight into Beethoven’s first experimentation within the genre. The six quartets of Op. 18 were written at the end of Beethoven’s Early Period and so help mark his transition into a mature composer. Op. 18 No. 4 exhibits critical points of departure from Beethoven’s classically influenced character and gives an interesting glimpse into his deeply emotional later works and powerful style. Quartet No. 4 follows the stylistic norms of the Classical string quartet precedent of Mozart and Haydn, but it is strikingly robust in character. Quartet No. 4 stands out as the most dynamic and engaging of the opus and demonstrates Beethoven’s evolution into a more expressive composer.
This presentation will focus on the first movement of Quartet No. 4 and examine the piece’s significance in Beethoven’s career through analysis and performance. Even as one of Beethoven’s first quartets, Quartet No. 4 is richly rewarding. Through our research and performance study of this piece, the Jungendwerk Quartet has found Op. 18 No. 4 to be emotionally powerful, a characteristic ultimately indicative of Beethoven’s career as a whole.
Anna Yeagle, ’10 Berthoud, CO
Dali Cao, ’09 Beijing, China
Major: Economics and Business, Mathematics
Osean Perez, ’12 Iowa City, IA
Tess Smith, ’12 Deerfield, IL
Sponsor: Martin Hearne