- Joseph Haydn – string quartet in C Major Op.76/3 “Emperor”
- Bela Bartok – string quartet No.4 Sz 91
- L. v. Beethoven – string quartet in C Major Op.59/3 “Rasumowsky”
Venue:Brooklyn Public Library: Dweck Auditorium, Brooklyn, New York
Performers: Minetti String Quartet
- Maria Ehmer, violin
- Anna Knopp, violin
- Milan Milojicic, viola
- Leonhard Roczek, cello
Both Beethoven and Haydn established names for themselves as composers during the Classical Era. However, Beethoven being born almost 40 years after Haydn in the year 1770, transitioned into the era of Romanticism as well, in which he successfully composed works representative of this new age of music and reason. Contrastingly, Bartok had not been born until both of these composers had passed, Beethoven 54 years prior and Haydn 72.
Due to this small, but substantial gap in time, upon listening to Bartok’s piece I will be interested to see how Bartok takes a more modern approach when writing his string quartet. The piece of his that will be performed, String Quartet No. 4 Sz 91, was written fairly recently in the year 1928 and features large amounts of pizzicato. I will probably find myself comparing and contrasting his work to those of the earlier time periods and seeing which elements he kept of these eras, which elements he discarded, and which modern elements he decided to add in composing this piece.
As for Beethoven’s peice, It is said that upon completing the “Razumovsky” quartets that he had gained a new self confidence. Beethoven used to make sketches within his music and in the finale of the third “Razumovsky” quartet he wrote amidst these sketches “In the same way that you rush into the whirlpool of society, so it is possible to write operas despite all social hindrances- let your deafness be no more a secret- even in art.” (Cooper 2000, 167) Beethoven must have been exceptionally pleased with these works of his. As I listen to these pieces after reading this quote I will most likely focus on why I think Beethoven felt a new found sense of confidence and pride in his work after he finished writing this piece.
In Haydn’s piece we see a bit of a lyrical approach in the composition. When Haydn was writing his String Quartet Op. 76/3 “Emperor” in C major he was making a transition to vocal works such as writing a mass for Pincess Maria Hermenegild Esterhazy, an oratorio entitled The Creation, and several other vocal works. “It is easy to imagine that the connections to song, aria, and the learned-style traditions found in Op. 76 may owe something to that circumstance.” (Grave 2006, 302) While writing this piece, Haydn implemented strategies in his composing that had been used for years or were “tried-and-true”, but he was also aware that those listening to his music were becoming increasingly more sophisticated as well as expressing “thirst for novelty”. (Grave 206, 303) When listening, I will focus on how Haydn made his piece novel as well as how he kept it traditional to please listeners.
Cooper, Barry. Beethoven. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000. Print.
Laki, Peter. Bartók and His World. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1995. Print.
Grave, Floyd K., and Margaret G. Grave. The String Quartets of Joseph Haydn. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2006. Print.