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Beethoven's string quartet in E flat op. 127: a study of the first performances.

'Few were moved; it was a weak succes d'estime.'(1) With these words, the violinist Joseph Bohm described the premiere of Beethoven's String Quartet in E flat Op. 127. Indeed, of the incongruities between original and present-day receptions of Beethoven's music, few are as striking as in the case of this quartet. This work, today referred to as 'of all Beethoven's works his crowning monument to lyricism',(2) was generally viewed as incomprehensible by its first performers and listeners. In the brief review for the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung, the critic admitted: 'opinions were divided on this matter [Op. 127], this writer not excepted, because it was understood and completely comprehended by the very few'.(3) The traditional explanation for the failure to appreciate this work can be summarized as follows: there was scarcely enough rehearsal time for such a difficult work; and at the premiere, Ignaz Schuppanzigh - the leader of the quartet - played particularly badly. However, subsequent performances led by Joseph Bohm and Joseph Mayseder, which were more carefully prepared, won widespread approval for the quartet.(4)

The foregoing interpretation of the events, while partly true, paints an incomplete picture of the first performances and raises more questions than it answers. For example: what were the other quartets in the repertory of the Schuppanzigh Quartet at this time, and were there any of comparable difficulty to Op. 127? How much rehearsal time was usually allocated to new quartets? What was wrong with the way Schuppanzigh played, and were there any who believed that he had played well? How much rehearsal time did the Bohm and Mayseder Quartets have, and were their performances also problematic? Who was providing Beethoven, at this time either nearly or completely deaf, with information on the quality of the performances? Finally, and perhaps most important: what were the specific difficulties that the original performers (see Table I) faced in interpreting this work?

Quartet Personnel, 1823-5

Schuppanzigh Quartet     Bohm Quartet       Mayseder Quartet

Ignaz Schuppanzigh, vn   Joseph Bohm, vn    Joseph Mayseder, vn
Karl Holz, vn            Karl Holz, vn      ? vn
Franz Weiss, va          Franz Weiss, va    ? va
Joseph Linke, vc         Joseph Linke, vc   Joseph Merk, vc

The present study examines these questions using documentary evidence pertaining to the first performances of Op. 127, and in doing so will demonstrate some of the weaknesses inherent in the traditional interpretation. Until now, the only comprehensive study of this subject has been that of Alfred Ebert, in his article 'Die ersten Auffuhrungen von Beethovens Es-Dur Quartett'.(5) Written in 1910, Ebert's analysis, while thorough, suffers from lack of access to many conversation books, manuscripts and letters that have surfaced in the last 80 years. Furthermore, the recent work of other scholars researching musical life in Beethoven's Vienna has provided a better context for making sense of these sources. This study uses as its principal evidence the evaluations of Op. 127 by contemporary musicians. I focus on its reception by the performers, rather than that of the critics, for both the extent and the quality of their observations. Because of the failure of the premiere, there is a wealth of information to be found in the conversation books, in which the performers discussed the work with the composer. These conversation book entries reveal performers who were intimately acquainted with the work's musical and technical details. I treat the performers' reception of Op. 127 in three stages. First, I attempt to establish the context in which the original performers approached the quartet. Second, I consider the factors which contributed to its initial reception. Third, I discuss the struggle for eventual public acceptance of the work.


Hans Robert Jauss uses the phrase 'horizon of expectations' to describe the limits of expectation, comprehension and experience possessed by a given group of 'readers' (or in this case, performers) when confronting a new work of art.(6) For the purposes of this study, the 'horizon of expectations' consists of two elements: the context of other string quartets performed in Vienna around the time of the premiere of Op. 127, and a set of biographical factors which influenced the performers' perception of Beethoven and his music. A list of selected quartet programmes, compiled from conversation book entries and references to newspaper advertisements and concert reviews, is given in the Appendix, below. Although the list is not intended to be exhaustive, it nevertheless serves to establish a context for quartet performances of the period.(7) During the years covered by this list of quartet programmes, Op. 127 was performed at least twelve times. This was largely due to the campaign Beethoven waged for acceptance of the work after its failed premiere. The next most often played among Beethoven's works, with at least three performances each, were the Septet Op. 20, the String Quintet Op. 29 and the Quartet in C Op. 59 No. 3. All three of these works are known to have been popular at the time.

The list also reveals something of Schuppanzigh's programming strategy. Popular works, such as the Septet or the Third 'Razumovsky' Quartet, were often combined with 'difficult' works or with quartets that were being given for the first time. For example, we know that the Schuppanzigh Quartet performed the Quartet in F minor Op. 95 at least twice: the first time with Beethoven's Septet and Spohr's Double Quartet, and the second time with Mozart's Clarinet Quintet. In the same way, when Schubert's Quartet in A minor D.804 was given its premiere, it shared the programme with Beethoven's Septet. In this respect, Schuppanzigh approached the art of programming in the same way as many modern musicians presenting new or difficult works. It is clear that, from the first plans to programme it in the 23 January 1825 concert, Op. 127 functioned as one of these new, perhaps difficult, works to be presented alongside pieces known to be more accessible.

With two notable exceptions, there is little information in the conversation books revealing what the performers thought about the quartet repertory prior to the premiere of Op. 127. On 2 November 1823, Karl Holz(8) - the second violinist in the Schuppanzigh Quartet - took part in a performance of Beethoven's Quartet in E flat Op. 74 for an audience that included Carl Maria von Weber, who had been finding Beethoven's music difficult for a long time. A year and a half later, Holz told Beethoven about the event: 'He [Weber] found the Adagio too long; so I said, Beethoven's capacities for feeling and imagination are more extended than anyone's'.(9) This may demonstrate that Holz showed tolerance and respect for some of the stylistic abnormalities of Beethoven's mature style, and that he would perhaps not have considered the extraordinary length of the slow movement of Op. 127 unprecedented. However, this and other statements made by Holz must also be examined in the context of his accession to the role of Beethoven's close companion and personal assistant. By August 1825, it became clear that he was to replace Schindler in this function. Beethoven's trust in Holz can be seen in his decision, following the performances of the Bohm and Mayseder Quartets, to grant him permission to lead a performance of Op. 127 (perhaps with Schuppanzigh relegated to playing the second violin part).(10) We also have a report that Op. 95 was well played and well received on 5 February 1825, just one month before the first performance of Op. 127. Schuppanzigh told Beethoven: 'some people went mad about it [Op. 95], especially the Andante in D major'.(11) Both Op. 95 and Op. 127 functioned in similar ways in Schuppanzigh's quartet programmes: they were both of a decidedly serious nature, to be contrasted with more popular and accessible works. In fact, on 23 January 1825 (the date on which Schuppanzigh would have given the first performance of Op. 127 had it been finished in time), Op. 95 was the quartet substituted at the last minute. Its apparent acceptance presents a paradox for those attempting to explain the problematic initial reception of Op. 127.

The paradox, then, lies in the inability of performers and audiences who seem to have been quite comfortable with Op. 95 to understand Op. 127. This problem is provocatively framed in the words of a recent writer: 'when Beethoven began Op. 127 in 1824 he picked up a thread of continuity so firm that he might have completed Op. 95 only the day before'? Many would think this opinion either overstated or naive, and it certainly does not take into account the original receptions of the two works. However, it does invite one to question in what specific ways Op. 127 was a stylistic departure from Op. 95. A thorough discussion of Beethoven's stylistic evolution is beyond the scope of this study, but one need only recall his remark that Op. 95 'is written for a small circle of connoisseurs and is never to be performed in public' to be persuaded that it would have been considered as difficult for contemporary performers and audiences as Op. 127.(13)

Another significant way of assessing the performers' 'horizon of expectations' is by examining the influence of certain biographical factors. These tend to fall into two distinct but related groups: Beethoven's deafness; and the hiatus in his published works - in all genres - in the decade preceding the emergence of Op. 127. In 1821, the following opinion appeared anonymously in the Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung: 'Beethoven now occupies himself, as once did Papa Haydn, with the arranging of Scottish folksongs; he is apparently quite incapable of greater accomplishments'.(14) Kristin Knittel has succinctly defined the problem this raises:

Would this biographical fact cause critics to view the works that emerged during the 1820s differently, perhaps more harshly or more negatively? If one examines not the composition dates, but the list of pieces published between 1812 and 1821, it is clear that the anonymous writer was reacting to a true hiatus in Beethoven's output. Would this hiatus, which a critic could assume was caused if not by having 'used up' his genius then by his deafness or other health problems, have indicated to the same critic that Beethoven's compositions were now the products of a man in his dotage? If the lack of production was itself seen as a negative thing which could only have negative causes, then might the critics view works which appeared after this time as somehow tainted?(15)

In addition to the critics discussed by Knittel, performers would also undoubtedly have been influenced by knowledge of Beethoven's deafness and seemingly decreased productivity. In particular, the case of Schuppanzigh needs to be examined in this light.

One can only imagine Schuppanzigh's surprise and excitement upon learning that Beethoven was writing another string quartet after a hiatus of fourteen years. His eagerness comes through in the pages of the conversation books, where he writes: 'Show me a little of [your] Quartet./I thought [it] in A minor'.(16) Schuppanzigh was surprised by what Beethoven showed him because his cellist, Joseph Linke, had told him of the embryonic Quartet in A minor Op. 132, which was to be a 'concertant for the violoncello'.(17) It is difficult to say when Schuppanzigh first learnt of the new quartet. Beethoven first mentions it in a letter of 5 June 1822 to his publisher Peters as 'a new quartet . . . which you could have soon'.(18) In November 1822 came the commission from Prince Nikolay Galitzin, followed by frequent letters concerning the arrival of the first quartet. In mid April 1823, Schuppanzigh returned to Vienna from his seven years in St Petersburg, and during one of his first visits to Beethoven he was already discussing Galitzin in the conversation books.(19) This could be with reference to the quartet commission (Schuppanzigh could have learnt about it from either Galitzin or Beethoven). In any case, Schuppanzigh's eagerness for Beethoven's new quartet is again apparent in his entries of 14 January 1825 in which he sensed the potential effect of a major Beethoven premiere on audience numbers at his concerts: 'If [you] have a mind to hand me the quartet for a performance, that is, so I can make it known, there may be a big difference in my present subscription./ In E-flat./ [You] allow me then to be the one to make it known.'(20)


Problems arose immediately, since Beethoven, influenced by his nephew Karl and brother Johann (henceforth identified by their first names alone), also promised the quartet to the cellist Joseph Linke, for him to perform under his own auspices. By the time Schuppanzigh learnt of this move, he had already submitted an advertisement for the concert to the Allgemeine Theaterzeitung Wien:

The famous musical artist Herr Schuppanzigh will continue his popular quartet performances . . . The first concert is on Sunday 23 January; the most distinguished of the musical works are: the new renowned double quartet by L. Spohr as introduction, a new quintet [sic] by Ludw. van Beethoven (still in manuscript) and in conclusion by common request the most famous and popular Septet by the same artist.(21)

Schuppanzigh was understandably upset to learn of Beethoven's 'double promise', as his advertisement had already drawn a significant response.(22) The whole affair caused great animosity to develop between Schuppanzigh, Linke and Beethoven. Schuppanzigh complained to Beethoven on 19 January 1825:

This affair with the quartet is accursed./ that doesn't matter; [you] can also give it to Linke. [Your] music can be heard more often than once./ I wouldn't say anything if it were not already in the newspaper./ I cannot call it off./ He mustn't let it bother him/ Linke has said nothing about it to me. If [you] had said anything, I would not have spoken to him about it./ I said so myself to Linke and he didn't say a word in response. But [you] certainly have not promised him because that isn't your habit; [you] have perhaps given him a half consent, still that is not yet a solemn promise./ I recall that Linke spoke to me of a quartet in A minor which is supposed to be a concertant for the cello./ It is no disadvantage for Linke if [you] give it to him now too.(23)

After Schuppanzigh left, Karl wrote the following to Beethoven: 'Your brother thinks that soon his stomach will be so big, that he won't be able to control the violin any more./ Linke said that he [Schuppanzigh] doesn't play the difficult quartets any more.'(24) At this point, it became clear that both Karl and Johann were siding with Linke against Schuppanzigh. To complicate matters even further, Linke was the cellist for the Schuppanzigh Quartet. It is not clear exactly what was at issue in the struggle between Linke and Schuppanzigh for the right to give the first performance of Op. 127. There is no evidence that Linke would not have engaged Schuppanzigh to play the first violin in the performance, although it is possible that he would have asked Joseph Bohm, who led the Schuppanzigh Quartet during Schuppanzigh's solo tour to Russia. Most likely, it was only a question of under whose auspices the new work would be presented, and the prestige and income that would accompany it. The animosity stemming from this 'double promise' may have contributed to the failure of the first performance.

Many accounts of the premiere of Op. 127 find reasons for its failure in the lack of rehearsal time for such a difficult work. It is impossible to say precisely how much rehearsal time there was. As late as 8 February 1825, Schuppanzigh asked Beethoven: 'How is the quartet getting on?'(25) Unfortunately, no conversation books survive from the period from 16 February to the middle of March 1825, when rehearsals would have occurred. In his extensive essay on this subject, Alfred Ebert cites a letter of February 1825 from Beethoven to Schuppanzigh, in which Beethoven says that the quartet is his to perform from that moment 'until the second Sunday'.(26) Since the premiere of 6 March fell on a Sunday, Ebert concluded that the ensemble had less than two weeks with the parts. Even if this were the case, the question still remains: was this enough time, given the standards of the period? After all, the quartet, originally scheduled for the 12 January concert, was replaced by Op. 95 at the last moment because it was not ready in time. Could the same not have been done for the concert of 6 March if the performers sensed that it was too difficult (there were other dates remaining in the subscription series)? Even more revealing is that Schuppanzigh asked Beethoven on 14 January for a new quartet to perform nine days later, and that Beethoven agreed to provide it.

Clearly, the standards of rehearsal and preparation were different from those that prevail in most quarters today. Written accounts of rehearsal conditions in the early nineteenth century deal predominantly with orchestral music. Presumably quartet rehearsals could be arranged more easily and spontaneously, obviating the need for documentation. If one infers similar conventions from accounts of orchestral performances, then it is clear that most performances, even of new works, were grossly underrehearsed by modern standards. In this regard it is interesting to note that the Augarten concerts in Vienna were presented with only one rehearsal, even for new works.(27) Although these concerts took place a full quarter-century before the premiere of Op. 127, such standards of rehearsal time are significant because it was Ignaz Schuppanzigh who served as director and first violin of the Augarten orchestra.(28)

The only two surviving documents associated with the preparation of Op. 127 are full of good humour and reveal no trace of anxiety. The aforementioned letter in which Beethoven gives Schuppanzigh the quartet is replete with private jokes. It is addressed to: 'Al Signore/ Milord/ Stimatissimo/ Nominato/ Schuppanzigh/ Granduomo/ della citta/ da Vienna'.(29) From about the same time, there is a letter from Beethoven to the members of the Schuppanzigh Quartet:

Best ones!

Each one is herewith given his part and is bound by oath and indeed pledged on his honour to do his best, to distinguish himself and to vie with each other in excellence.

Each one who takes part in the affair in question is to sign this sheet.


Schindler secretarius




The grand master's accursed violoncello


The last, but only in signing.(30)

The humorous tone of this note probably suggests that there was no real concern on Beethoven's part about the forthcoming performance. Furthermore, using this document to support any claims about the preparation of the quartet is complicated by the fact that it was most likely written by Schindler, and only signed by Beethoven.

On 26 March 1825, Schuppanzigh angrily defended himself against Beethoven's blaming him for the failure of the premiere:

Your brother is a true buffoon/ I said that I would not present it until it went perfectly/ How you can believe that of me, after I surely recognize it as the greatest quartet./ It is true that we performed it too soon, and it did not go as it should have done, but I alone should not be blamed, but rather all 4 of us.(31)

Ivan Mahaim believes that the numeral '4' which appears at the beginning of a new line in the conversation book after the words 'all of us' could be a response to Beethoven's inquiring about how many times the quartet had been played through in its entirety prior to the premiere of 6 March.(32) This seems highly speculative. In any case, Mahaim reproduces the passage with a full stop following the word 'us' which does not appear in the original. Therefore the entry should read 'all 4 of us', referring to the members of the Schuppanzigh Quartet. In this same conversation book entry, Schuppanzigh's claim that 'it is true that we performed it too soon' should be read in the context of his heated defence against the slanderous remarks that were circulating after the first performance of the quartet. It would have been possible to postpone the premiere if Schuppanzigh had felt that the quartet was not yet ready.

After the premiere, Beethoven denied Schuppanzigh the chance to perform the work again the following week (Schuppanzigh, probably eager to restore his reputation, had already advertised this repeat performance).(33) Instead, Beethoven arranged for subsequent performances of the quartet with Bohm as first violinist. These were followed by other performances by the Mayseder Quartet, which probably humiliated Schuppanzigh even further, since Mayseder was both his former pupil and the second violinist in his quartet between 1804 and 1808.

The unstated motives of these violinists should be kept in mind when evaluating their statements about the amount of rehearsal time available. Bohm, recalling the first performance, said that 'Schuppanzigh was weary from much rehearsing [emphasis added]'.(34) If this is true, then it conflicts with the generally held belief that the quartet was under-rehearsed. Of course it would have been to Bohm's advantage to inflate the number of Schuppanzigh's rehearsals and minimize the number of his own. It is therefore highly revealing to read the words of Mayseder, on or around 29 April 1825, confidently inviting Beethoven to one of his performances: 'It will go well/ we have rehearsed it twice [emphasis added]'.(35) According to Karl, Mayseder's concert was indeed a success.(36) Given the lacuna in the surviving conversation books, it is impossible to determine the number or quality of rehearsals for the Schuppanzigh premiere. Nevertheless, we should not be surprised, as some have been, by a span of only two weeks for preparing the work.(37) By contemporary standards, this seems to be a more than average length of time.

Let us leave aside the question of preparation in order to consider what would have been the technical and musical difficulties facing the first performers. The comments by the performers fall into three general categories: problems with copied parts, difficulties with ensemble, and difficulty in grasping the musical content of the quartet. In his account of the premiere, written in 1863, Bohm recalled:

When Beethoven learned of this [the failure of the quartet] - for he was not present at the performance - he became furious and let both performers and the public in for some harsh words. Beethoven could have no peace until the disgrace was wiped off. He sent for me first thing in the morning - In his usual curt way he said to me, 'You must play my quartet' - and the thing was settled. - Neither objections nor doubts could prevail; what Beethoven wanted had to take place, so I undertook the difficult task. - It was studied industriously and rehearsed frequently under Beethoven's own eyes: I said Beethoven's eyes intentionally, for the unhappy man was so deaf that he could no longer hear the heavenly sound of his compositions. And yet rehearsing in his presence was not easy. With close attention his eyes followed the bows and therefore he was able to judge the smallest fluctuations in tempo or rhythm and correct them immediately. At the close of the last movement of this quartet there occurred a meno vivace, which seemed to me to weaken the general effect. At the rehearsal, therefore, I advised that the original tempo be maintained, which was done, to the betterment of the effect.

Beethoven, crouched in a corner, heard nothing, but watched with strained attention. After the last stroke of the bows he said, laconically, 'Let it remain so', went to the desks and crossed out the meno vivace in the four parts.(38)

This passage has been quoted often for the very moving description it gives of Beethoven's involvement in the preparation of his works, despite his total deafness. There is, however, another significant but less obvious implication of Bohm's story that sheds light on the way in which Op. 127 was performed at the premiere on 6 March.

The section of the quartet to which Bohm refers is almost certainly the coda to the finale, which in Beethoven's autograph is marked 'Allegro comodo' (in subsequent editions, the marking was changed to 'Allegro con moto'). If we accept Bohm's story to the effect that it was his idea to maintain the original tempo throughout the coda, then we can assume that hitherto the members of the quartet had slowed the original tempo at the coda (as was apparently marked in their parts). Therefore, this is probably how it was performed at the premiere with Schuppanzigh. Today, it is common practice to perform the coda in the manner Bohm suggested, with the minim of the alla breve equivalent to the quaver of the 6/8 coda.(39) This is, in fact, essential to making sense of what is still a highly unusual way to end such a movement.(40) If the Schuppanzigh Quartet did slow the tempo for the coda, it might well have contributed to the difficulties the performers and audience experienced in attempting to understand the work.

A further problem with the original performing materials pertains to a strange feature in the cello part. On or around 20 April 1825, Johann told Beethoven in the conversation books:

Mayseder was with me earlier today . . . he told me that Merk had played very well but that he had expressed the wish that it could be played much more easily, and with the same effect for the cello, if the alto clef were put in the violin or tenor clef, as this frequently causes confusion and makes it much more difficult for the cellist than for the other three instruments./ He has asked Mayseder for his part and will himself make a new part, and then show it to you, so that it is not so difficult and will lose nothing of the effect throughout.(41)

About a week later, Karl took up the matter again: 'He [Merk] said only that he wanted to change the alto clef on account of the other players, who have yet to receive it [the cello part], since most of them don't know it [the alto clef] anyway'.(42) Ebert's study mentions this problem, but because he had access to the autographs of the first three movements only, it had remained a mystery. However, the autograph of the finale (now in the Beethoven-Haus, Bonn) clearly shows that Beethoven had originally placed the cello part in bars 153-[60.sup.3] and 265-72 in the alto clef. In the first edition the parts had already been changed to the treble clef sounding an octave lower, which was Beethoven's usual method for notating high cello parts. This is, to my knowledge, the only instance of Beethoven using the alto clef for a cello part. The question is: why not notate it as Merk suggested, in the tenor or treble clef? It cannot be because of the range, for Beethoven used the treble clef to notate parts which are almost as high in the first movement of the same quartet, and even higher in Op. 132 (which he was writing during the same period as Op. 127). It may be that Beethoven was trying to avoid the cello part crowding the viola part in the autograph manuscript, for in some bars the viola part lies very low. Nevertheless, using the alto clef makes the passage only one step lower, and Beethoven was still using a considerable number of leger lines. The possibility of these passages being conceived originally as viola parts seems much too speculative on this evidence alone.

There is an interesting parallel here with the autograph of Mozart's Quartet in D K.575, in which the cello part in bar 9 of the first movement is notated in the alto clef. Alan Tyson has commented on this strange phenomenon:

The presence of an alto clef on the cello staff at the ninth measure is indeed a puzzle; it does not seem to be accounted for merely by the reversal of the parts. But a number of explanations are possible; and even if one assumes with Einstein that Mozart was here writing for a cello in the alto clef, there are no parallels within Mozart's chamber music.(43)

Unfortunately, Tyson does not elaborate on his statement that 'a number of explanations are possible', but he is correct that one cannot infer that the cello and viola parts were reversed in Mozart's original conception of the passage. If Mozart had initially intended the cello to play the viola part and vice versa, then the cello part would not have been placed in the alto clef. Range does not seem to be the problem, as this passage has a lower tessitura than the passage in Op. 127.

The original copied parts were probably far from perfect.(44) We know of at least one mistake in that for the second violin. On 28 May 1826 Holz asked Beethoven: 'Do you have the E flat Quartet handy? I suspect that there is a mistake in the second violin part.'(45) Apparently Beethoven did not have it to hand, but he and Holz were reminded of the problem a month later, when Holz said:

I met him at Dembscher's; he played the first Galitzin Quartet there./ It is in the second violin part./ Do you have it handy?/ First and last./ In the written out part was G/ In your part it was so/ . . . Schott has it correct, how it should be; but in the parts which you have, it is different.(46)

A recurring theme in the conversation books concerns the difficulties of ensemble which Op. 127 caused its first performers, both in rehearsal and on the platform. The earliest mention of such problems occurs in Karl's description of the premiere of 6 March: 'First, things were not together'.(47) Other entries are specific about the point at which problems occurred. Following Bohm's performance of the work on 23 March 1825, Johann told Beethoven: 'There were so many people there today who were nervous, but Bohm led them through the first movement beautifully, where the theme occurred'. At this point, Karl continues the story: 'Nervous. Bohm too/ but he immediately stopped and started again.'(48) Ebert speculates that this means that the performance fell apart in the transition between the opening Maestoso and ensuing Allegro sections. Also, on 9 January 1826, Karl made the following entry in the conversation books: 'From the first Quartet [Op. 127]. The transition to the theme (at the beginning) really pleased his brother.'(49) In addition, during Bohm's rehearsals for his first performance of the work, Karl reported to Beethoven that 'Bohm is not completely satisfied with the ensemble',(50) and 'He [Bohm] said he told the others they should follow him'.(51) Schuppanzigh is explicit on this matter: 'I would be lying if I said the passage-work was too difficult for me; it's the ensemble which is difficult'.(52) In comparing the renditions by the violinists who led early performances of Op. 127, Holz revealed the importance of ensemble when he told Beethoven: 'I believe that Mayseder would play it better - he leads the other three while Bohm lets them lead him'.(53) Even as late as August 1826, Holz told Beethoven: 'At Piringer's they are already playing the first quartet [Op. 127] diligently; but there are always 5 [people] present; one of them has to beat time'.(54)

It is not difficult to speculate as to which sections of Op. 127 might have been challenging to the first performers with respect to ensemble. In fact, modern quartets experience the same difficulties, as Michael Steinberg notes:

For some reason these four measures [opening bars of Op. 127] seem totally to confound most quartet players rhythmically. I have heard . . . other variants, but almost never a performance from which, if I did not know already, I could infer what Beethoven actually wrote.(55)

There are, of course, difficulties other than the opening of the first movement. For example, in the third movement one might mention the abrupt shifts in metre beginning at bar 70 (and then again at bar 341), the Presto section beginning at bar 144, and the quick cross-rhythms throughout.

Perhaps the most interesting conversation book entries by the original performers of Op. 127 are those referring to their difficulties in comprehending the work. After the premiere, Karl told Beethoven that 'He [Schuppanzigh] did not comprehend it'.(56) Schuppanzigh defended himself to Beethoven by saying: 'It is not more difficult than the second or third'.(57) Ebert interprets this statement as meaning that Op. 127 was not more difficult than Op. 74 or Op. 95 (the Op. 59 quartets were considered as a single item; therefore Op. 74 is the 'second' and Op. 95 is the 'third'). In any case, Schuppanzigh continued his defence by saying: 'There are no technical difficulties in it [Op. 127]; only the originality makes it difficult, which one cannot grasp at first sight'.(58) It is this quality of 'originality' that proves so elusive to define. The conversation books, however, provide some clues.

In January 1826, Beethoven finally gave Schuppanzigh permission to perform the quartet again. During the rehearsals, Holz confessed to Beethoven: 'We rehearsed [Op. 127] yesterday, and it still did not go right; if it is not absolutely right, he [Schuppanzigh] wants to postpone it for a week./ He said that yesterday was the first time that he truly understood the Adagio, and that he will hardly be able to play it for sheer ecstasy.'(59) It apparently took Schuppanzigh almost a year before he felt that he 'truly understood' the second movement. Earlier in the conversation books, Holz gave a specific example of one of Schuppanzigh's problems with this movement:

He [Schuppanzigh] played the passage

[Musical Expression Omitted]

three times in a row [as]

[Musical Expression Omitted]

and when I pointed it out to him, he wouldn't believe that he had played it wrongly.(60)

Holz's entry refers to bar 37 of the first violin part; it is notable that even he, probably quoting the part from memory, writes it inaccurately (see Ex. 1 for the correct version).

[Musical Expression Omitted]

The 'originality' referred to by Schuppanzigh, therefore, can certainly be found in the second movement. The coda of the finale has also been cited by many as being enigmatic (particularly if performed at a tempo unrelated to the main tempo of the finale, as discussed above). One might also speculate as to whether the absence of root-supported harmonies in the first movement would have been disorientating to Schuppanzigh's ears.


In his memoirs, Gerhard von Breuning recalled the following incident regarding Beethoven's difficulties in finding sympathetic listeners for the late quartets:

Once when I arrived, I found him [Beethoven] sleeping, as often happened. I sat down at his bedside and kept still in order not to wake him from his sleep . . . Meanwhile, I leafed through and read in the conversation books that were still on the bedside table to be used, to see who had been there in the meantime and what they talked about. One thing I found there was: 'The quartet of yours that Schuppanzigh played yesterday didn't go over very well'. When he woke up a little later, I held that bit in front of him, asking him what he had to say about that. 'It will please them someday' was the laconic answer he gave me; and to that he added, fully and firmly aware that he wrote as he thought fit, and was not led astray by the judgments of his contemporaries: 'I know; I am an artist'.(61)

Beethoven's stoical response to the difficulties his contemporaries were experiencing with the late quartets may be true, fictional, or simply romantic exaggeration. It is certainly very different from what we can infer from the conversation books.

After the fiasco of the premiere of Op. 127, Karl, talking with his dejected uncle, wrote that 'he [Bohm] would take great pains with it [the quartet]./ Not as difficult as Schuppanzigh makes it./ Very good./ If you don't write any more, then who should write?'(62) This last entry is particularly enigmatic. Ebert interprets it as reflecting Beethoven's response to the effect that he did not want to write any more quartets if they were going to be misunderstood to this extent.(63) Whatever Beethoven's response was, he took great pains to try to arrange further performances of the quartet and to facilitate greater appreciation of it. He concentrated his efforts in three areas: looking for better players (particularly first violinists); radically rethinking his programming strategy; and carefully controlling the make-up of his audience.

Beethoven's frustration after the premiere of 6 March can be readily gleaned from the pages of the conversation books. He was not present at the performance, so initially he had to rely on the reports of Karl and Johann, who were not well disposed towards Schuppanzigh in the first place. In addition, although it may seem astonishing, Johann was rather ignorant about music. In 1826, Holz stated that the composer's brother had 'certainly heard the Quartet in E flat major ten times, yet when it was played in that year he said he was hearing it for the first time'.(64) Adding to Beethoven's confusion were the reports that some people, including the publisher Tobias Haslinger, believed that Schuppanzigh had played well at the premiere.(65)

Recounting the night of the premiere to his uncle, Karl said: 'there were many disturbances. First, things were not together, then Schuppanzigh broke a string, which made quite a difference since he didn't have another violin to hand.'(66) One can only wonder at what point in the performance Schuppanzigh's string broke, and how he was able to carry on with his three remaining ones (perhaps he switched instruments with Holz?). Karl related concurring opinions for his criticisms of Schuppanzigh. For example:

Steiner said at the rehearsal [Bohm's rehearsal of Op. 127], that now for the first time he comprehended it completely and couldn't believe that it was really the same quartet that Schuppanzigh had played.(67)

The economic councillor, to whom I go to study English, is coming to the rehearsal as well; he was also there then [at Schuppanzigh's premiere] but he told me that if it were to be played like that, he would not go to the next subscription concert.(68)

Bohm said that Schuppanzigh doesn't practise at all.(69)

Such negative evaluations prevailed enough for Beethoven to deny Schuppanzigh further performances of the work while Bohm and Mayseder were performing it. When Schuppanzigh was finally given another chance, however, Holz told Beethoven: 'We had a rehearsal today; Mylord [Schuppanzigh] played the quartet really beautifully today; if it goes like that tomorrow (and we still have one more rehearsal) one will not hear it played better'.(70) Because of this surprising reversal of opinion, it is necessary to examine the traditional assumption that Schuppanzigh played badly at the premiere.

Was the poor reception truly the result of Schuppanzigh's failure to grasp the spirit of the work and give a convincing performance? After all, the violinist was one of Beethoven's most devoted admirers. He seems to have built an entire career on performances of Beethoven's music. Hanslick noted that in 1824 Schuppanzigh gave no fewer than 25 performances of Beethoven's compositions.(71) In fact, he gave the first performances of almost all Beethoven's quartets, from Op. 18 onwards, under the supervision of the composer. Despite Beethoven's fondness for gently ridiculing Schuppanzigh, he praised his playing on numerous occasions. One has only to recall Beethoven's insistence that Schuppanzigh serve as leader for the premiere of the Ninth Symphony to appreciate his confidence in his abilities as a violinist. The broken string aside, is it likely that when presented with Op. 127 Schuppanzigh was bewildered by what he found? Even Karl and Johann occasionally had positive things to say about Schuppanzigh's playing. For example, after a concert of 25 January 1824 which included a Haydn quartet and Beethoven's Septet, they reported to the composer that the concert was a tremendous success. Johann wrote that 'Schuppanzigh played so beautifully that he was often interrupted by general applause in the midst of a passage'.(72) Comparisons between the three first violinists are also found in the conversation books. In April 1825, Karl wrote:

We are speaking of the quartet, about the joy that people expressed about it, and the comparisons of the three, Schuppanzigh, Mayseder, and Bohm./ . . . Mayseder plays more brilliantly, Bohm more expressively./ If he [Schuppanzigh] studies it hard, he also plays it as well./ It can't be played more purely than by Mayseder.(73)

Although the general opinion held that, as time went by, Op. 127 was enjoying better and better performances, this sentiment was by no means unanimous. In his memoirs, Schindler recalled:

Bohm, more a concert violinist than a quartet player and therefore more of a virtuoso able to overcome the technical difficulties of the music, was somewhat more successful; but even so, the deep obscurity of some movements was made no clearer. Unfortunately, the composer was told that the performance was a complete success, as though everyone had comprehended it as clearly as the earlier quartets.(74)

The second way in which Beethoven attempted to facilitate a favourable reception for Op. 127 was to institute a highly unusual experiment in programming: performing the quartet twice in a row, the two performances making up an entire concert. These 'double performances' must be clearly distinguished from the practice of repeating sections of pieces, or even entire pieces, at the request of the audience. Unlike the encore, the double performance was announced to the audience in advance. Moreover, while the encore represented a concession to public taste, the implied message behind the double performance was in effect: 'what you are about to hear will be so difficult to understand that you will need to hear it twice'. The encore was predicated on the notion that the concert experience was intended to be a pleasurable one; that the audience deserved to be entertained. In a double performance, however, the performers and composer entered into a compact with the audience for the express purpose of facilitating the comprehension of difficult music. Lastly, the encore was a practice rooted in heterogeneous concert programmes; an audience was implicitly invited to select its favourite work to be repeated from among a variety of offerings, discarding the works that did not appeal to them. Through the exclusion of all other works from the double performance programmes, however, the audience's attention was focused on the difficulties of a single work.

The idea of the double performance came from Karl Holz, who may have been disconcerted by critics' persistent refusal to pass judgement on the work, and by their repeated arguments that it needed to be heard several times in order to be understood and appreciated.(75) During a discussion of Bohm's first performance of the quartet, Karl told his uncle: 'Holz had suggested to him [Schuppanzigh] that he might present the quartet on a Sunday twice in a row without other quartets. But he didn't do this.'(76) One of Karl's very next entries in the conversation book was 'that way one understands it well'. Ebert interprets this as a response to a question from Beethoven asking why the quartet should be played twice in the same evening. Soon afterwards Karl reassured Beethoven, who was perhaps hurt by the suggestion that it was difficult to understand: 'Bohm will play it just once, and it will be enough./ I think everyone will understand it when it is heard from Bohm./ But I know that it simply wouldn't have been understood [at the premiere], because the first violin part went so badly./ . . . To me it is completely clear.'(77) Soon afterwards, Karl argued against a double performance, noting that 'Each week Herr van Bohm plays quartets in three places; there are always 3 quartets, and at the end a solo piece, which he plays'.(78)

In order to understand how radical the proposition of a double performance was, one must consider conventional programming practice at the time. Mary Sue Morrow has observed that organizers of Viennese programmes were slow to abandon the late eighteenth-century ideal of variety:

An audience . . . expected to be entertained with variety, to be dazzled by an instrumentalist's virtuosity, to applaud a favorite opera aria, to hear the latest symphony, all in one evening. Even cantatas and oratorios, varied genres in and of themselves, were often preceded by unrelated symphonies or overtures and almost invariably featured a concerto during the intermission.(79)

Beethoven adhered to convention when assembling his own concert programmes: his famous benefit concert of 1808, for example, included premieres of the Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, the Fourth Piano Concerto, the Choral Fantasy, the Gloria and Sanctus from the Mass in C, the aria 'Ah! perfido' and a piano improvisation.(80)

Although single-medium concerts were still the exception in the 1820s, Schuppanzigh - who was the first to give public string quartet concerts in Vienna - often performed concerts made up exclusively of quartets. Alice Hanson places Schuppanzigh's programming innovations in their historical context, describing typical chamber concerts in Biedermeier Vienna as 'resembling salon fare . . . the musical programs . . . contained at least one string quartet or quintet, a solo instrumental piece, and a vocal solo. Common to many programs were vocal ensembles, either a choral work or light quartet.'(81) When Beethoven's Op. 130 received its first performance (with the 'Grosse Fuge' finale) it shared the programme with the composer's Piano Trio Op. 97; his 'Adelaide', Variations on Popular Themes from Quartets of Haydn (composer unknown) and Marie (a song cycle by the violist Franz Weiss).(82) Even Schuppanzigh's programmes frequently balanced string quartets with a piano trio or Beethoven's popular Septet.

In this light, one can understand why, when Bohm took Holz's advice and gave two performances of Op. 127 on the same evening (23 March) with no other works in the programme, it was again the subject of discussion in the conversation books (Karl announced that 'Bohm plays the quartet today twice in a row').(83) After the success of this concert, Beethoven granted Bohm permission to play the work again at his forthcoming benefit concert on 7 April 1825, when Bohm again performed it twice in a row without other works in the programme. It is for this concert that we have the first critical reactions to the new programming strategy. On 28 April, the Allgemeine Theaterzeitung Wien reported that Bohm 'performed the wonderful quartet, twice over on the same evening . . . in a way that left nothing to be desired, the misty veil disappeared and the splendid work of art radiated its dazzling glory'.(84) Another critic observed: 'this is one of the most unusual works of the great master, hardly clear at the first hearing, and for which reason the expert artists also played the quartet twice in succession, but worked with such genius, that the audience swooned'.(85) Beethoven's brother Johann believed that the double performance was so effective that it should itself be doubled: 'Everyone agreed that it was like no other quartet that exists./ the interweavings of the voices are so great, that one can only follow one instrument at a time, and one would thus wish to hear the quartet four times'.(86)

Among the audience for one of Bohm's double performances was the novelist and critic Ludwig Rellstab, who recalled this unusual event in his memoirs. In describing the concert, he built the drama of the story over several pages, pausing briefly to convey a sense of the musicians' commitment:

The four quartet players had barely enough room for their stands and places, and were thickly surrounded. There were some of the most admirable younger Vienna virtuosos, who had dedicated themselves to their important task with all the enthusiasm of youth, and had held seventeen (or even more) rehearsals before daring to give the enigmatic new composition even a semi-public performance before a number of connoisseurs. And so impossible of conquest and so insoluble, at that time, did the difficulties and secrets of Beethoven's last quartets still seem to be, that only these enthusiastic young men had been willing to foregather to dare an attempt, while older and more famous players declared that the work could not be performed. It was the Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 127, which they played.(87)

The climax of Rellstab's narrative was the revelation of the double performance itself, which he explained by reference to the extraordinary difficulties of comprehending this work:

And just as the players had been obliged to study, moil, and toil until they had clambered up its precipitous heights, so did the listeners find that it was not to be taken too lightly - and with this presumption in mind, it had at once been settled in advance that the work should be played twice in succession.(88)

Rellstab's memoirs have often been criticized for their inaccuracies. Even if many of the details are demonstrably false, however, it is nevertheless interesting that he should focus on the double performance as having been memorable. When he told Beethoven that he had attended this performance, Beethoven allegedly enquired: 'It is so difficult that they probably played it badly! Did it go at all?' Rellstab claims to have been uncomfortable during this conversation, for he found Beethoven's late style incomprehensible. Still, he responded: 'It had been carefully practised and was played twice in immediate succession'. Beethoven's reply was: 'That is well. It must be heard several times.'(89)

In addition to enhancing the audience's comprehension, the double performances were less taxing on the performers than traditional miscellaneous concert programmes. In April, Johann discussed Schuppanzigh's failed premiere of Op. 127 with Beethoven: 'Linke told me that, had they not been so tired out by the first quartets [in the programme] they could have played the new quartet well'.(90) Perhaps Beethoven raised the issue of the double performance in response, for Johann's next comment was: 'that is what I said to him in the morning, but Herr Schuppanzigh laughed at me'.(91) Although avoiding performance fatigue was offered as an argument in favour of the double performance, Karl recalled that the musicians were indeed exhausted by the double performance of this difficult work: 'at that time they were barely in a state to play it twice/ . . . it was so hot, they were really sweating'.(92)

Beethoven, still angrily withholding the quartet from Schuppanzigh, granted Joseph Mayseder and his quartet permission to perform it at Mayseder's weekly quartet concerts, held at the home of the bureaucrat Ignaz Dembscher (on 15 April, and then again at the end of April). Interestingly, Mayseder programmed the quartet as a double performance at both of these concerts. Whether he did so of his own volition, or in response to Bohm's double performances, or at Beethoven's suggestion, is not known. By this time, the double performance had evolved into the focal point of a social gathering. Johann returned to Beethoven's home on 15 April after the first of Mayseder's performances, explaining: 'now there is supper and then they will play it one more time'.(93)

By the time Beethoven had completed his next quartet, Op. 132, the double performances had been so successful as a means of facilitating audience comprehension that it was decided to present the new work in the same way. The English conductor Sir George Smart happened to be visiting Beethoven at the time. In his diary he recorded his impressions of the premiere of this new work:

Friday, September 9 [1825] . . . There was a numerous assembly of professors to hear Beethoven's second new manuscript quartette [Op. 132], bought by Mr. Schlesinger. This quartette is three-quarters of an hour long. They played it twice. The four performers were Schuppanzigh, Holz, Weiss, and Lincke. It is most chromatic and there is a slow movement entitled 'Praise for the recovery of an invalid'.(94)

For Smart, the fact that the quartet was performed twice in succession was directly related to its unprecedented length, its extreme chromaticism and its unusual formal elements. This concert of 9 September 1825 was the last known implementation of the double performance experiment. Two days later, the Schuppanzigh Quartet performed Op. 132 again, but this time completing the programme with two of Beethoven's piano trios (one of the Op. 70 trios and Op. 97).(95) Both Opp. 127 and 132 were performed on several occasions in late 1825 and early 1826, but never again as double performances.(96) Nor was the idea revived for the premieres of the quartets Opp. 131 or 135. Was it abandoned because it had been a failure or because it had been a success?

Little is known of Beethoven's own assessment of the experiment. It is possible that he and his performers decided that it had achieved its goals, and that as a result they were able to command new respect for these difficult works. On the other hand, the composer's discussions with his nephew, preserved in the conversation books, suggest that he was upset that his works could not be understood at first hearing ('Bohm will play it just once, and it will be enough').(97) The necessity to perform them twice, without other works in the programme, may have been interpreted as a failing.

This innovative experiment in programming can be understood as a telling moment - an extreme symptom - in the rise of the ideology of absolute music. For most of the eighteenth century, an audience did not expect to attend a concert 'in order to hear a pre-composed, completed work which was performed just for the aesthetic sake of performing and hearing that work'.(98) But expectations began to change early in the nineteenth century, and, as Carl Dahlhaus has observed, it was only a matter of time before the string quartet overtook the symphony as the paradigm of the new ideal of absolute music.(99) Moreover, it was the late quartets of Beethoven that, more than any other works, were responsible for this paradigmatic shift. In 1838, Schumann referred to a piece by Karl Gottlieb Reissiger as 'a quartet to be heard by bright candlelight, among beautiful women, whereas real Beethovenians lock the door, imbibing and reveling in every single measure'.(100) Even Weber remarked that a composer who chose to write string quartets demonstrated that one could 'count him among the few who, in these times that often tend toward the shallowness in art, is still serious about studying the innermost essence of art'.(101) But since Weber also described 'the quartet style' as 'belonging more to the social, domestically serious sphere',(102) Dahlhaus concluded that for musicians of that time the 'innermost essence of art' only 'reveals itself where one secludes oneself from the world, from the public'.(103) Such views resulted in a new attitude of listening analogous to the devotional attitude one adopted towards sacred music in earlier periods.(104) It was enshrined in the double performance: listeners had the opportunity to worship a revered, albeit enigmatic work, through repeated hearings, without the distraction of other works.

Before the era of recordings, however, there were limited opportunities to hear repeat performances of instrumental works - a fact which had important implications for the reception of new and difficult music. Kristin Knittel has observed that an interested critic could play through passages of Beethoven's late piano sonatas several times, 'achieving a familiarity that was more difficult for the critics of the last quartets'.(105) The following review illustrates the point:

But not for Beethoven's sake, but rather for their own sake should players and listeners approach these works [Opp. 127 and 132] with the calm modest knowledge that they will not at first comprehend them in their entirety, that for every misunderstood section only their incapacity bears the guilt, and Beethoven could not have compromised for their sake without sacrifice. Whoever approaches these last revelations with this sense is worthy and able to examine them and, sooner or later, understand them.(106)

Some critics stressed the importance of playing through the late quartets in piano-duet arrangements, for 'only then do many things become clear'.(107) One prescribed the following quasi-devotional approach to understanding Op. 127: 'go through it carefully in a four-hand arrangement, one movement each week'.(108) To facilitate this study, four-hand arrangements were published for all the late quartets except Opp. 130 and 131.

The third way Beethoven and his musicians attempted to facilitate the reception of the late quartets was by controlling the size and make-up of the audience. After the failure of the Op. 127 premiere at one of Schuppanzigh's public quartet concerts, successive performances of this work and Op. 132 were given in private or semi-private settings. Many reviews refer to the audience as a 'numerous company of artists and connoisseurs'(109) or as 'a numerous assembly of professors'.(110) Rellstab recalled that 'an admission price [was] charged, it is true, yet the affair [was] given only for a small, intimate circle of music-lovers'.(111) Indeed, Thayer concluded that 'the idea of presenting the Quartet in A minor first for a small private gathering appears to have originated in Beethoven's own circle of friends, and apparently Beethoven wanted to have this at his own house'.(112) Sir George Smart recalled the audience at the premiere of Op. 132: 'about fourteen were present, those I knew were Bohm (violin), Marx ('cello), Carl Czerny, also Beethoven's nephew . . . the partner of Steiner, the music seller, was also there'.(113) Maynard Solomon finds such control over the composition of audiences directly related to Beethoven's desire to have his music appreciated:

Although as many as 500 people attended [Schuppanzigh's public quartet concerts], Beethoven was no longer concerned with the size of his audience, and several of the premiere performances of the last quartets were given privately or semi-privately for small groups of colleagues, disciples, and favored individuals. Nevertheless, it was a necessity to Beethoven that his works be understood and appreciated, despite his occasional claims to the contrary.(114)

An added benefit of the more intimate setting was that Beethoven himself could take an active role in ensuring a good performance (it seems that he avoided attending the public performances of the late quartets). Smart recalled that at the premiere of Op. 132, Beethoven actually directed the performers: 'A staccato passage not being expressed to the satisfaction of his eye, for alas, he could not hear, he seized Holz's violin and played the passage a quarter of a tone too flat'.(115) Smart also observed that at the second performance of the same work two days later 'Beethoven was seated near the pianoforte beating time during the performance'.(116)

Apparently the repeat performances were to some extent successful in gaining acceptance for Op. 127. In particular, they aided those performers who were now confronting the other late quartets. In 1826 Op. 127 was published, first as a set of parts and then in score. In discussing this publication with Beethoven, Holz stated: 'The first quartet [Op. 127] is already being studied by several amateur quartets with infernal diligence'.(117) The subsequent late quartets were also published in score as well as in parts. This unprecedented step reinforced the notion, expressed by critics at the time, that the late quartets needed serious study and rehearsal to be understood. Even Galitzin's reaction from St Petersburg hinted at the same notion:

I have many thanks to give to you, worthy Monsieur de Beethoven, for the precious parcel with the sublime quartet which I have just received. I have already played it several times and I find in it all the genius of the master, and when the playing of it has become more perfect, the pleasure will be all the greater [emphasis added].(118)

On 10 July 1825 Beethoven wrote to Karl:

The quartet [Op. 127] was admittedly a failure the first time that Schuppanzigh played it, since because of his fatness he requires more time to master a work than he did before . . . I told him in advance that it would not succeed; for though Schuppanzigh and two of the others draw a pension from noble persons, the quartet is no longer what it was when they were all playing together.(119)

Perhaps Beethoven was only partly correct in blaming the Schuppanzigh Quartet for the failure of the premiere. What we know about the way in which the original performers - Bohm and Mayseder included - responded to the quartet, however, demonstrates that there was, rather, a complex web of factors which made the chances for a successful performance dubious at best. Expectations aroused by the new quartet, and the personal intrigue involved with the selection of musicians to present it, had already put the work's premiere in a somewhat precarious position. Additionally, there were difficulties ranging from the seemingly mundane matters of confusing notation in the original parts to serious problems with matters of ensemble. But the most important factor was the time it took, through repeated performances - some in the same programme - for the earliest performers and audiences to begin to grasp the 'originality' of the new work.

This study originated as part of the 1993 National Endowment for the Humanities seminar on Beethoven String Quartets at Harvard University. I would like to thank the director of the seminar, Lewis Lockwood, for his assistance with this project.

1 Given in Thayer's Life of Beethoven, ed. Elliot Forbes, Princeton, 1964, p. 940.

2 Joseph Kerman, The Beethoven Quartets, London, 1967, p. 196.

3 'woruber die Meinungen getheilt sind, weil es vielleicht von den Wenigsten - Ref. will sich selbst nicht ausnehmen - verstanden und ganz erfasst wurde', Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (henceforth AmZ), xxvii (March 1825), 246. Translations are mine unless otherwise indicated.

4 Ignaz Schuppanzigh (1776-1830) had led quartet series for Prince Lichnowsky and Count Rasumovsky in which premieres were given of the Op. 18 and Op. 59 quartets respectively. Schuppanzigh was a friend of Beethoven and a champion of Beethoven's music during his years in St Petersburg (1816-23). His efforts to enhance Beethoven's reputation in Russia were an important factor in the commission for the late quartets from Prince Galitzin. Joseph Bohm (1795-1876) was a Hungarian-born pupil of Rode. Appointed professor of the violin at the Vienna Conservatory in 1819, he won renown as a quartet player and soloist. He would later become famous as the teacher of many illustrious players, including Joachim and Dont. Joseph Mayseder (1789-1863) was a pupil of Schuppanzigh and a member of the court orchestra in Vienna from 1816. From 1820, he was solo violinist with the court orchestra.

5 Alfred Ebert, 'Die ersten auffuhrungen von Beethovens Es-Dur Quartett (op. 127) im Fruhling 1825', Die Musik, ix (1910), 42-63 & 90-106, at pp. 56 & 90.

6 Hans Robert Jauss, 'Literary History as a Challenge to Literary Theory', in Toward an Aesthetic of Reception, trans. Timothy Bahti, Brighton, 1982, p. 28.

7 One notices that by the mid 1820s Beethoven's quartets (particularly the earlier ones) had already become a regular fixture in Viennese concert life, alongside those of Haydn and Mozart. This canonization of the Beethoven quartets was remarked upon by critics such as A. B. Marx, who referred to them as 'these remarkable phenomena in the sequence of quartets from Haydn onwards' (Berliner Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung (henceforth BAmZ), v (1828), 467-8; given in Ludwig van Beethoven: Die Werke im Spiegel seiner Zeit. Gesammelte Konzertberichte und Rezensionen bis 1830, ed. Stefan Kunze, Laaber, 1987, pp. 592-3). The Viennese critics were aware of the compositional lineage that existed in quartet writing from Haydn through Mozart to Beethoven, but they were also sensitive to the differences between the composers' styles, as is demonstrated by a critic for the Allgemeine Theaterzeitung Wien (henceforth A Th W): 'Although Herr Schuppanzigh proves himself each time to be a tasteful and insightful artist, this is especially true in his performances of Haydn's compositions. His way of embellishing his performances, by enlivening the performance through fun and humour, bringing out his characteristic style, and, what is more, being slightly coquettish with his violin in an eccentric way, is most sympathetic to these naive compositions, in which the sense of humour is spectacular almost every time. Mozart's grace suffers through such sharp colours, and Beethoven is so individual, that it is not unusual that what one puts of oneself into it should appear totally strange and disturbing.' ('Obwohl Hr. Schuppanzig sich jederzeit als geschmack- und einsichtsvoller Kunstler erprobte, so gefiel er doch ganz besonders im Vortrage Haydn'scher Compositionen. Seine Art zu verzieren, durch Scherz und Laune den Vortrag zu beleben, seine Eigenthumlichkeit geltend zu machen, sogar ein wenig auffallend mit seiner Violine zu kokettieren, vertragt sich ammeisten mit diesen naiven Compositionen, bei denen fast alle Mahl der Humor das Hervorragende ist. Mozart's Anmut leidet durch grelle Farben, und Beethoven ist zu individuell, als dass nicht alles Fremde, was man in selben hineinlegen will, als etwas ganz Fremdartiges und Storendes erscheinen sollte.') A Th W, 16 December 1823, col. 599; given in Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, v, ed. Karl-Heinz Kohler, Grita Herre & Peter Poschner, Leipzig, 1970, p. 278. This review, ostensibly of Schuppanzigh's playing, is particularly illuminating for the associations the critic makes with each of these composers' styles. Haydn is characterized by humour, Mozart by grace, and Beethoven by individuality.

8 Probably with the Schuppanzigh Quartet.

9 'das Adagio land er zu lang; ich aber sagte, Beethoven hat auch ein langeres Gefuhl [als] und eine langere Phantasie, als alle, wie sie da stehen und nicht da stehen', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, viii, ed. Karl-Heinz Kohler, Grita Herre & Gunter Brosche, Leipzig, 1981, p. 116.

10 Ibid., ix, ed. Grita Herre & Gunter Brosche, Leipzig, 1988, p. 415.

11 'Einige Menschen sind vollig narrisch geworden, besonders hat das Andante aus D Dur sehr gefallen', ibid., vii, ed. Karl-Heinz Kohler, Grita Herre & Renate Bormann, Leipzig, 1978, p. 145.

12 Harold Truscott, Beethoven's Late String Quartets, London, 1968, p. 38.

13 Beethoven to Sir George Smart, October 1816 (in English), in The Letters of Beethoven, trans. & ed. Emily Anderson, London, 1961, ii. 606.

14 AmZ, xxxiii (1821), 539; given in Anton Schindler, Beethoven as I knew him, ed. & trans. Donald W. MacArdle, London, 1966, p. 231.

15 Kristin Knittel, From Chaos to History: the Reception of Beethoven's Late Quartets (unpublished dissertation), Princeton University, 1992 p. 54.

16 'Zeig er mir nur ein bischen von seinem Quartett. Ich glaubte in A moll', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 68. Schuppanzigh often addressed Beethoven in the third person. See Ebert, 'Die ersten Auffuhrungen von Beethovens Es-Dur Quartett', p. 47 n. 1, and Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vi, ed. Karl-Heinz Kohler, Grita Herre & Heinz Schony, Leipzig, 1974, p. 374 n. 14 ('Schuppanzigh redete Beethoven stets in der Er-Form an'). For the sake of clarity, these pronouns are henceforth translated with the second-person form (with the original German unaltered). I use the stroke sign (/) to indicate the separation between entries in the conversation books. Presumably this is when Beethoven would speak, or when time would elapse. The reader should be aware that my system differs from that used by the modem editors of the conversation books, where the stroke sign is used to delineate the lines of text in the original manuscript. This is a level of orthographic detail which is too fine for the purposes of this study.

17 Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 90.

18 Given in Thayer's Life of Beethoven, p. 789. See also Sieghard Brandenburg, 'Die Quellen zur Entstehungsgeschichte von Beethovens Streichquartett Es-Dur Op. 127', Beethoven-Jahrbuch, x (1978-81), 221-76.

19 Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, iii, ed. Karl-Heinz Kohler, Gunter Brosche & Dagmar Beck, Leipzig, 1983, p. 224.

20 'Wenn er Lust mir das Quartett fur eine Auffuhrung zu leihen, dass heisst, dass ich es bekannt machen kann, so macht dieses in meinem jetzigen Abonnement grossen Unterschied . . .', ibid., vii. 82.

21 'Der beruhmte Tonkunstler Hr. Schuppanzigh, wird . . . im kleinen Vereinssaale beym rothen Igel seine beliebten Quartett-Unterhaltungen forsetzen. Das erste beginnt Sonntags am 23. Janner; die vorzuglichsten darin vorkommenden Musikstucke sind: Das neue beruhmte Doppelquartett von L. Spohr zur Introduktion; ein neu componiertes Quintett von Ludw. v. Beethoven, (noch im Manuskripte) und zum Beschlusse auf allgemeines Verlangen das ruhmlichst bekannte und beliebte Septett von demselben Tonsetzer'.' Notice in A Th W, 20 January 1825, given in Ebert, 'Die ersten Auffuhrungen von Beethovens Es-Dur Quartett', p. 48.

22 'Schuppanzigh asked about the quartet, since it had already been advertised, and he has been assaulted from all sides'. ('Schupp.[anzigh] lasst dich um das Quartett bitten, da er es schon angekundigt hat, und von allen Seiten besturmt wird.') Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 141.

23 'Das ist eine verdammte Geschichte mit dem Quartett./ Das macht nichts, [d]er kann esja dem Linke auch geben, seine Musik kann man ja ofter horen, als einmal,/ ich wurde ja nichts dazu sagen, wenn es nicht schon in der Zeitung ware/ ich kann es ja nicht wider-ruffen./ Mach er sich nicht daraus/ Mir hat Linke kein Wort davon gesagt. hatte er mirs gesagt, so hatte ich ihn nicht darum angesprochen/ ich habe es noch selbst dem Linke gesagt, und er hat kein Wort darauf desagt./ Aber ganz gewiss zugesagt hat er ihm nicht, weil das seine [gew] Gewohn-heit nicht ist, ein halbes Ja Wort hat er ihm vielleicht gegeben, das/ ist noch nicht feierlich zugesagt./ Ich errinnere mich, dass der Linke mir gesagt hat von einem A moll Quartett, welches concertant fur das violoncello seyn soll/ Es ist kein Schaden fur den Linke wenn er ihm es nur auch giebt', ibid., p. 89.

24 'Der Bruder meint, sein Bauch wird bald so gross, dass er die Violine nicht mehr lang regiren wird./ Linke sagt, dass er die schwersten Quartetten nicht mehr spielt', ibid., p. 101.

25 'Wie schaut das Quartett aus?', ibid., p. 146.

26 Ebert, 'Die ersten Auffuhrungen von Beethovens Es-Dur Quartett', p. 45.

27 See Mary Sue Morrow, Concert Life in Haydn's Vienna: Aspects of a Developing Musical and Social Institution, Stuyvesant, NY, 1989, p. 187.

28 Donald W. MacArdle, 'Beethoven and Schuppanzigh', The Music Review, xxvi (1965), 3-14, at p. 3.

29 Given in Ebert, 'Die ersten Auffuhrungen von Beethovens Es-Dur Quartett', p. 46.

30 Given in Thayer's Life of Beethoven, p. 940.

31 'Sein Bruder ist ein rechter Hans[.] Ich habe gesagt, dass ich es nicht eher gebe, bis es nicht recht vollkommen geth./ Wie kann er denn das von mir glauben, nachdem ich gewiss erkenne fur das grosste Quartett. Es ist wahr, dass wir es zu bald gemacht haben, und es nicht so gegangen ist, wie es seyn sollte, jedoch hat es nicht nur/ allein an mir gefehlt, sondern an uns allen 4', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 196.

32 Ivan Mahaim, Beethoven: naissance et renaissance des derniers quatuors, Paris, 1964, p. 47.

33 Karl told Beethoven that the public inferred from the cancelled performance that Schuppanzigh was incapable of playing the quartet: 'That he did not present it any more, after he had advertised it, showed the public that he is totally incapable of playing it'. ('DAss er es nicht mehr gab, nachdem er es angekundigt, zeigt den Leuten, dasser gar nicht im Stand ist, es zu spielen'.) Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 76.

34 Given in Thayer's Life of Beethoven, p. 941.

35 'Es wird gut gegeben werden/ wir haben es 2 mahl probirt', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 242.

36 Ibid., p. 244.

37 See for example Thayer's Life of Beethoven, p. 939. As for the quality of the rehearsals, Ebert speculated that Schuppanzigh held them in Beethoven's presence, but offered no evidence for his assertion. See Ebert, 'Die ersten Auffuhrungen von Beethovens Es-Dur Quartett', p. 55.

38 Given in Thayer's Life of Beethoven, pp. 940-41.

39 Metronome tempos taken from a sampling of recordings by modem quartets demonstrate a very close agreement in tempo between the main body of the finale (minim) and the coda (quaver): Talich: 116, 120 (Calliope CAL 9635); Quartetto Italiano: 112, 112 (Philips 426050, 1990); Busch: 112, 116 (Biddulph LAB 083, 1993: 1936); Juilliard: 108, 126 (CBS Masterworks M3K 37873, 1982). Differences here entail the coda being faster than the main body of the finale. Not incidentally, Karl Holz's metronome marks for these sections are: 116, 116 (see Emil Platen, 'Zeitgenossiche Hinweise zur Auffuhrungspraxis der letzten Streichquartette Beethovens', Beethoven Kolloqium '77, pp. 100-107, at p. 106).

40 'An end like this must have been incomprehensible to its first audience', Roger Fiske, Beethoven's Last Quartets, London, 1940, p. 27.

41 'Meiseder war heut fruh bey mir . . . ferner sagte er ir dass es Merk sehr gut gespielt babe, aber dass dieser den Wunsch geaussert hatte, dass es viel leichter und mit dem nehmlichen Effect fur das Passetel gespielt werden konnte wenn der air Sch[l]ussel im Violin oder Tenor gesetzt ware, indem diese oftere Verwechslung es fur den Passet Spieler es viel schwiriger machte, als fur alle 3 andere Instrumenten./ Er hat den Meiseder um seine Stimme gebeten und wird sich selbst diese Stimme machen, und dir dan zeigen, so dass es nicht so schwirig ist und durchaus nichts am Effect verlieren wird', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 226-7.

42 'Er sagt nur, er wollte wegen der andern Spieler, die es noch in die Hande bekommen, den Air Schlussel verandern, weil die meisten ihn gat nicht mehr kennen', ibid., p. 246.

43 Alan Tyson, Mozart: Studies of the Autograph Scores, Cambridge, Mass., & London, 1987, p. 331 n.

44 They have not survived. See Brandenburg, 'Die Quellen zur Entstehungsgeschichte von Beethovens Streich-quartett Es-Dur Op. 127', p. 271.

45 'Haben Sie das Es-Quartett icht bey der Hand? Ich vermuthe, dass in der gestochenen 2. Stimme ein Fehler sey', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, ix. 267.

46 'Ich babe ihn bey Dembscher getroffen; er spielte dort das erste Galitzinsche Quartett./ [Es] In der 2. Stimme./ Haben Sie es bey der Hand?/ Ersten und Letzten./ In den herausgeschrieben Stimmen war G/ In Ihrer Stimme war/ es so . . ./ Die Schott haben es recht, wie es seyn soll;/ aber in der Stimme, welche Sie haben, steht es anders', ibid., p. 321.

47 'Erstlich gings nicht[s] recht zusammen', ibid., vii. 177.

48 'Sie haben heut bey so vielen Leuten alle die Drema gehabt, allein Behm hat herlich das 1?? Stuk wo das Thema einfallt durchgefuhrt. Trema oder Angste. Auch Bohm/ Er hat aber gleich aufgehort und frisch angefangen', ibid., p. 192.

49 'Von dem 1?? Quartett. Der Ubergang ins Thema, (am Anfang) gefallt dem Herm Bruder so gut', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, viii. 261.

50 'Bohm is nicht ganz zufrieden mit dem Ensemble', ibid., vii. 180.

51 'Er sagt er hat nur den andern gesagt, sich nach ihm zu richten', ibid., p. 170.

52 'Ich musste lugen, dass es fur mich in Pasagen zu schwer sey, das ensemble ist schwer', ibid., p. 201. This latter passage was identified by Schindler as having been written by Schuppanzigh.

53 'Ich glaube, dass Mayseder es am besten spielen wurde. Er dirigirt die andere drey, wahrend Bohm sich dirigiren lasst', ibid., p. 208.

54 'Bey Piringer wird jetzt schon fleissig das erste Quartett gemacht; es sind aber immer ihrer 5 dabey; einer muss Takt geben', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, x, ed. Dagrnar Beck & Gunter Brosche, Leipzig, 1993, p. 104.

55 Michael Steinberg, 'String Quartet in E-Flat Major, Op. 127', The Beethoven Quartet Companion, ed. Robert Winter & Robert Martin, Berkeley, Los Angeles & London, 1994, pp. 216-27, at pp. 219-20.

56 'Et hat es selbst nicht gefasst', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 172.

57 'Es ist ja niche schwerer als das 2?? oder 3??, ibid., p. 197.

58 'Mechanische Schwirigkeiten sind ja nicht darinn, nur die Originalitat macht es schwer, welche man im ersten Augenblik nicht fassen kann', ibid., p. 198.

59 'Wir haben gestern probirt, noch ging es nicht recht; er will aber, wenn es nicht recht gut gehen konnte, die Auffuhrung auf 8 Tage verschieben./ Er sagte, dass er erst gestern das Adagio recht begriffen habe, und dass er vor Wollust es kaum wird spielen konnen', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, viii. 281.

60 'Die Stelle [Musical Expression Omitted] spielte er [Musical Expression Omitted] dreymahl hinter einander, und wollte es noch nicht glauben, als inch ihn aufmerksam machte, dass er falsch greife', ibid., p. 117.

61 Gerhard von Breuning, Memories of Beethoven: from the House of the Black-Robed Spaniards, ed. Maynard Solomon, trans. Henry Mins & idem, Cambridge, 1992, p. 96. This entry has not yet been located and perhaps exists in a lost conversation book. Breuning dates the event as taking place during Beethoven's final illness in 1827, but poor receptions of late quartet performances by Schuppanzigh concerned only Op. 127 and Op. 130 - both considerably earlier than 1827. Perhaps Breuning's memory was not entirely accurate in all details.

62 'Dass er sich alle Muh geben wird./ Nicht so schwer wenigstens als Schuppanzigh es macht/ Sehr gut./ Wenn du niche mehr schreibst, wer sollte dann schreiben?' Ludwig von Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 171.63 Ebert, 'Die ersten Auffuhrungen von Beethovens Es-Dur Quartett', p. 59.

64 Thayer's Life of Beethoven, p. 797. See also Thayer's additional comments regarding Johann's lack of musical knowledge, pp. 796-7.

65 Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 172, 177.

66 'Es geschahen viele Storungen. Erstlich gings nicht[s] recht zusammen, dann sprang dem Schupp[anzigh] eine Saite, was auch viel beytrug, da er nicht einmahl eine 2?? Violine bey der Hand hatte', ibid., p. 177.

67 'Steiner sagte bey der Probe, jetzt erst fasse er es volkommen, und begreife gar nicht, wie das ein und dasselbe Quartett sey, was Schup[panzigh] gespielt habe', loc. cit.

68 'Der Wirtschaftsrath, zu dem ich gehe Englisch studiren, kommt auch ins Quartett; er war auch damahls drin, sagte mir aber, wenn so gespielt wurde, werde er das nachste Abonnement nicht mitmachen', ibid., p. 176.

69 'Bohm sagt, Schuppanzigh exerciere gar nicht', ibid., p. 180.

70 'Wir haben heute Probe gehabt; Mylord spielte das Quartett heute schon vortrefflich; wenn es morgen so geht, (und wir halten noch einer Probe) so hat man es nicht besser gehort', ibid. viii. 289.

71 Eduard Hanslick, Geschichte des Concertwesens in Wien, i (Vienna, 1869), 206.

72 'Schuppanzigh hat unendlich schon gesungen, so dass er ofters im mitten im Spielen durch allgemeinen Applaus unterbrochen wurde', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, v. 121-2.

73 'Vom Quartett sprechen wir, uber die Freude, die die Leute daruber geaussert, und die Vergleichung der 3, Schuppanzigh, Mayseder u Bohm./ . . . Mayseder spielt brillanter, Bohm ausdrucksvoller./ Wenn er es fleissig studiert, spielters auch so gut./ Reiner als Mayseder kann es nicht gespielt werden', ibid., vii. 246.

74 Schindler, Beethoven as I Knew him, p. 306.

75 Examples are numerous: the first reviewer of the quartet reserved judgement, saying that it 'needs to be heard many times and studied even by the performers down to the smallest detail' ('will oftmals gehort, und auch von den Ausfuhrenden bis ins kleinste Detail genau zusammen studirt seyn'). Anon., AmZ (1825), 246; given in Ludwig van Beethoven, ed. Kunze, pp. 548-9; also given and trans. in Schindler, Beethoven as I Knew him, p. 306. Another anonymous critic explained: 'He who hears it for the first time cannot usually find his way around, much less pass judgement. Therefore, one must necessarily hear it many times and examine it closely.' ('Wer sie zum ersten mal hort, weiss noch gar kein Urtheil zu fallen. Darum muss man sie nothwendig mehrere Mal horen und genau prufen.') Allgemeine Musikzeitung zur Beforderung der theoretischen und praktischen Tonkunst, fur Musiker und Freunde der Musik uberhaupt (henceforth AM), Frankfurt, i (1827/8), 303-4; given in Ludwig van Beethoven, ed. Kunze, p. 558.

76 'Holz hat ihm den Vorschlag gemacht, das Quartett an einem Sonntag 2 Mahl hintereinander zu geben, ohne andre Quartetten. Das machte er aber nicht', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 176.

77 'Bohm wirds nur einmahl spielen, und es wird genug seyn./ Ich wette drauf, dass es Jeder verstehn wird, der es von Bohm spielen hort./ Ich weiss aber, dass es bloss dadurch nicht durchaus verstandlich wurde, weil die Prim-stimme so schlecht ging./ . . . Mir ists ganz klar', ibid., p. 177.

78 'H[err] v Bohm hat wochentlich an 3 Orten Quartetten, wo immer 3 Quartetten, und am Ende ein Solostuck gemacht wird, welches er spielt', ibid., p. 178.

79 Morrow, Concert Life in Haydn's Vienna, p. 141.

80 See Thayer's Life of Beethoven, p. 446.

81 Alice M. Hanson, Musical Life in Biedermeier Vienna, Cambridge, 1985, p. 96.

82 Mahaim, Beethoven, p. 56.

83 'Bohm macht das Quartett heut 2 Mahl nacheinander', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 191.

84 Given in Thayer's Life of Beethoven, p. 941.

85 'Es ist diess eine ausserordentlichsten Schopfungen des hohen Meister, zwar beym ersten Anhoren nicht Jedem klar, aus welcher Ursache die ausubenden Kunstler das Quartett auch zweimal hintereinander spielten, aber mit solcher Genialitat gearbeitet, dass dem Zuhorer schwindelt', Abendzeitung, cliii (28 June 1852), 612; given in Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 397 n. 459.

86 'Es war in allen eine Stimme dass noch kein solches Quartette Existire./ die Verwebungen sind so gross, dass jeder nur zu thun hat ein Instrument zu beobachten daher wunscht jeder 4 mal das Quartette zu horen', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 193.

87 Ludwig Rellstab, Aus meinem Leben (1861), given in Beethoven: Impressions by his Contemporaries, ed. O. G. Sonneck, New York, 1926 (repr. 1967), pp. 184-5.

88 Ibid., p. 185. 89 Ibid., p. 187.

90 'Linke sagte mir, Sie waren durch die ersten Quartetten schon zu ermudet gewesen als dass dies neue Quartett: noch gut hatten spielen konnen', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, vii. 208.

91 Holz had apparently suggested the double performance to Schuppanzigh earlier: 'das hab ich ihnen schon in der Fruh gesagt, da hat aber Herr Schuppanzigh mich ausgelacht', loc. cit.

92 'Damahls waren sie kaum im Stande, es 2 Mahl zu spielen./ . . . Der Hitze war auch sehr gross, sie haben sehr geschwitz', ibid., pp. 52-3.

93 'jetz wird Supirt und dann machen Sie es noch einmal', ibid., p. 244.

94 H. Bertram Cox & C. L. E. Cox, Leaves from the Journal of Sir George Smart, London, 1907, p. 109; given in Thayer's Life of Beethoven, pp. 961-2.

95 Thayer's Life of Beethoven, p. 962.

96 Op. 127 was performed by the Schuppanzigh Quartet on 13 and 26 September 1825, 29 January 1826 and possibly 26 November 1826. Op. 132 was performed by the Schuppanzigh Quartet on 6 and 20 November 1825 and by the Mayseder Quartet in January 1826. See Mahaim, Beethoven, pp. 53-4, 56; Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, viii. 398, ix. 415, x. 402; and Thayer's Life of Beethoven, p. 973.

97 See p. 235, above.

98 Lydia Goehr, The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works: an Essay in the Philosophy of Music, Oxford, 1992, p. 192.

99 Carl Dahlhaus, The Idea of Absolute Music, trans. Roger Lustig, London, 1989, pp. 14-17.

100 Robert Schumann, 'Second Matinee of Quartets', given in Gesammelte Schriften fiber Musik und Musiker, ed. Martin Kreisig, Leipzig, 1914, p. 338; trans. in Dahlhaus, The Idea of Absolute Music, pp. 14-15.

101 Carl Maria von Weber, Samtliche Schriften, ed. Georg Kaiser, Berlin, 1908, p. 337; trans. in Dahlhaus, The Idea of Absolute Music, p. 15.

102 Weber, Samtliche Schriften, p. 339; trans. in Dahlhaus, The Idea of Absolute Music, p. 15.

103 Loc. cit.

104 Dahlhaus, The Idea of Absolute Music, p. 80.

105 Knittel, From Chaos to History, p. 66.

106 'Doch nicht um Beethoven willen, sondem um ihrer selbst willen mogen Spieler und Horer jenen Werken mit der ruhigen, demuthigen Bescheidung entgegen gehn, dass sie sie furerst nich in ihrer Ganzheit fassen, dass bei jedem unverstanden Satz nur ihr Unvermogen die Schuld tragt, und Beethoven ihm nicht ohne Opfer hatte entgegen kommen. Wer mit diesem Sinn den letzten Offenbarungen Beethovens naht, ist wurdig und fahig sie zu vernehmen und eher oder spater zu verstehen.' A. B. Marx, BAmZ, v (1828), 467-8; given in Ludwig van Beethoven, ed. Kunze, p. 593; trans. in Knittel, From Chaos to History, p. 99.

107 'Dazu ist aber auch gut, sie in verschiedenen Gestalten zu horen, weil da gar Manches erst deutlich wird', AM, i (1827/8), 303-4; given in Ludwig van Beethoven, ed. Kunze, p. 558. Beethoven himself arranged the Grosse Fuge for piano duet in 1826, and Hoffmeister published a four-hand arrangement of Op. 127 in June of that same year.

108 'a quatre mains muss man es durchnehmen, jede Woche einen Satz recht ordentlich', BAmZ iv (1827), 25-7; given in Ludwig van Beethoven, ed. Kunze, p. 554.

109 A Th W, 28 April 1825; trans. in Thayer's Life of Beethoven, p. 941.

110 Sir George Smart, given in Thayer's Life of Beethoven, pp. 961-2.

111 Rellstab, Aus meinem Leben, given in Beethoven, ed. Sonneck, pp. 184-5.

112 Thayer's Life of Beethoven, p. 958. 113 Given ibid., pp. 961-2.

114 Maynard Solomon, Beethoven, New York, 1977, p. 319.

115 Given in Thayer's Life of Beethoven, p. 962.

116 Loc. cit.

117 'Das erste Quartett wird schon bey mehreren Liebhaber-Quartetten mit hollischem Fleiss studirt', Ludwig van Beethovens Konversationshefte, x. 25.

118 Letter of 29 April 1825, given in Letters to Beethoven and Other Correspondence, ed. & trans. Theodore Albrecht, Lincoln, Nebraska, & London, 1996, iii. 95.

119 Given in MacArdle, 'Beethoven and Schuppanzigh', p. 12.

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