Beethoven String Quartet, Op. 132, Part 2
If you joined me last week, you heard about the severe intestinal illness that Beethoven suffered from during the year of 1825. Beethoven thought that he was near death; he was spitting up blood, in terrible pain, and regularly begged his doctor for help. Ensconced in Baden, a Viennese suburb known for its nature and calm, Beethoven slowly and miraculously recovered from the illness, giving him 2 more years to compose. These two years brought us the quartets Op. 130 Op. 131, Op. 135, a series of canons, sketches for a 10th symphony. and of course, Op. 132. Obviously, even as he suffered from this illness, Beethoven knew that he had much more in him left to compose. The 4 quartets he wrote upon recovery from this illness ALL rank in the top 10 of the greatest musical compositions ever written by anyone. During the slow movement of Op. 132, Beethoven takes the opportunity to thank the Deity, who or whatever that was to Beethoven, for his recovery. This 15-20 minute movement is, as I said last week, beyond superlatives, but I’ll do my best to quell my enthusiasm and look at this movements structure, its fascinating harmonic language, and of course, its spiritual dimension. We’ll then take apart the final two movements of the piece, two movements that teach us so much about Beethoven as a composer, as a person, and as a performer. No piece of Beethoven’s struggles for so long before finally reaching a glorious conclusion, but don’t worry, we’ll get there in the end. Join us to explore part 2 of one of the greatest masterpieces of music ever written!