String Quartet no 1, Opus 18, no 1 – Beethoven

by richibi


      “Musician’s table (1914) 

            Juan Gris


Beethoven’s First String Quartet came 
out much around the same time as 
Haydn’s Opus 76, no 1among six of 
them in his set, Beethoven also had 
six in his, however junior still, first
collection, his Opus 18, Beethoven 
would’ve been going on thirty, Haydn
nearly seventy, though his spirit hadn’t
in any manner flagged, listen

but their differences are evident if you
lend a thoughtful ear 

the format is the same, four movements,
inarguably contrasting, with formal 
adherence to Classical norms, tonality,
tempo, and return, but the style is, in 
Beethoven, being overtaken by the 
substance, again inarguably

at dinner together, if I may continue my
earlier allegorical conceit, by the second
movement, Beethoven has already 
entered politics, essentially, religion, 
these four, the players, have a bone to 
pick, and their conversation gets heated, 
there’s a pause, a reconciliation, before 
the third movement, dessert, as it were, 
which is merrier initially, but later 
remains contentious, liqueurs later, in 
the final movement, are still not enough 
to allow for a comfortable exit, however 
might’ve been the serenity of the 
intoxicating sherries, cognacs

Haydn would never have done that, 
having grown up in the proprieties
of the Esterházys, his aristocratic
sponsors, courtesy would’ve been 
of their essence

Beethoven’s is a call to arms, a 
consequence of the French 
Revolution, the birth of the 
Romantic Period

you can hear it in the music

R ! chard