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The Complete Beethoven Quartets VI

Beethoven’s string quartets performed by Cuarteto Casals

At Klarafestival 2020, the renowned Catalan string quartet Cuarteto Casals performs a titanic six-concert series of the complete Beethoven quartets, accompanied by six commissioned works from composers of its generation.
Beethoven’s first six string quartets, commissioned by Prince Lobkowitz, demonstrate his total mastery of the classic string quartet as developed by Haydn and Mozart. His Fourth String Quartet is thought to be in part based on earlier material, due to its Sturm und Drang characteristics.
Five years after having finished his first set of string quartets, Beethoven was commissioned by the Russian ambassador to Vienna Andrey Razumovsky to write three new string quartets. Beethoven’s Ninth String Quartet is the last of the so-called Razumovsky Quartets and was in Beethoven’s time the most popular one.
Beethoven considered the Fourteenth String Quartet his best work. This seven-part composition, to be performed without any interruptions, expresses a wide range of conflicting emotions: from intimate meditations to explosive eruptions. After hearing this string quartet five days before his death, Schubert remarked: “after this, what is left for us to write?”. This composition was also a source of light for the Spanish composer and conductor Mauricio Sotelo, who based his piece Quasals-vB-131 upon it. The title of this composition for string quartet is a combination of ‘Quasar’ (a quasi-stellar object: an active galactic nucleus of very high luminosity), Cuarteto Casals and the opus number (131) of Beethoven’s Fourteenth String Quartet.

Flagey, Klarafestival, Goethe-Institut Belgien, Spanish Embassy in Brussels

KF20 TCBQ6, a playlist by klarafestival on Spotify
Cuarteto Casals, Beethoven, Complete String Quartets, vol. 1 (Album presentation)

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