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Beethoven took forward the string quartet genre like no other composer before and after him. For all subsequent composers who had dealt with it, Beethoven's creations were benchmarking. The pathbreaking sound and form structure of his pieces, bordering on symphonical one, as well as their high technical demands were revolutionary and even seemed discouraging at the time. For instance, the three so-called Razumovsky quartets were given cold reception by the public. For this reason the composer, while writing his string quartet op.95, was uncertain about its success, and deliberately re-wrote it for the first performance which took place three years later. Neither did Beethoven plan to perform this piece in broad public, which becomes clear from his letter of 1816 to Sir George Smart: “…written for a small circle of connoisseurs and […] never to be performed in public”. While composing the quartet Beethoven was in a gloomy state of mind. His fragile hopes for marrying failed twice: Beethoven’s love to Therese Malfatti was unanswered, and Countess Josephine von Deym who Beethoven had affection for during more than ten years, got married to her second husband. The impressions from occupation of Vienna by French troops in 1809 which Beethoven has witnessed with his own eyes, also left a trace on the string quartet.
Quartetto di Cremona, founded in the Italian city of Cremona in 2000, now ranks as one of the world´s best string quartet ensembles. It includes Cristiano Gualco and Paolo Andreoli on violins, Simone Gramaglia on viola and Giovanni Scaglione on cello. The musicians became famous through their remarkable performance of all string quartets by Ludwig van Beethoven. All members of the ensemble play valuable historical instruments provided by the Kulturfond Peter Eckes foundation.
Ludwig van Beethoven
String quartet No.11 in F minor, op.95 „Quartetto serioso“ (1810)
- Allegro con brio.
- Allegretto ma non troppo.
- Allegro assai vivace ma serioso.
- Larghetto espressivo - Allegretto agitato