Jon Gallant wrote:
>>Beethoven was without doubt the most famous composer in the modern
>>world in his time and the most admired. And if there were those who
>>didn't "get" his late string quartets, for example, there were plenty of
>>others who did, and who rapidly accepted the quartets as masterpieces.
Which late quartet Is hardest to get? (Which opus number Should make
me feel dumber?)
and Steve responded:
>I hate to point this out, but people don't understand Beethoven now.
>They may enjoy him, but that's a different thing. I enjoy lots of
>things I don't understand.
I must be one of those - I don't even get what's not to get. I just
spent the morning listening to these late quartets via the Naxos website
(I gladly pay the $20/year) and heard versions by the Kodaly Quartet.
(The sound via the web seems pretty darned good, to me.) I liked all the
ones I heard very much. I listened to Grosse Fuge twice. If these are
difficult to get then it must be that I actually don't get them at all.
Or maybe the Kodaly Quartet didn't get them and as a result I have heard
only regrettably gettable versions.
For whose performance Would I opt To hear what's not So easy got?
I'm no snob, no sophisticated listener - there are many recommendations
on this list that I try to get into but just haven't found enjoyable
yet. But these Beethoven quartets (opp. 130 - 135 are what I have heard
today) were good from the "get"-go (today is the first time that I am
aware of hearing them, to show you how far behind I am). What were the
original complaints from the nongetters? The majority of each is
immediately engrossing, a lot is even toe-tapping stuff, even if not
uninterruptedly so; is the problem that you can't dance to it? (I think
you could, actually.)
I found a boxed set by The Takacs Quartet and I grabbed a few "oldies"
for measure (So little risk At three bucks a disk Was the Busch Quartet
But with the Takacs, I may have been had --- I mean, "got", because
according to a reviewer on Amazon,
"This is Beethoven for our time. This is Beethoven that has
heard Duke Ellington, The Beatles, James Brown, Ligeti,..."
Hmmm.. Maybe this person or Takacs don't get it Or maybe they're just
As to the subject line, what is dissonant or atonal about these Beethoven
quartets? It's funny, when it comes to music that I would call *relatively*
discordant or atonal, I tend to dislike it when it comes to strings (a
Schnittke viola concerto made me want to slit my wrists) but piano music
I tend to like. It's probably that the rhythm is the thing with me
(drummer here) --- some of Prokofiev, Bartok, Ornstein's solo piano music
is pretty dissonant and raucous, but I like it. I have to listen with
headphones, though, as my wife can't stand it. (She immediately liked
the Beethoven quartets.)
Speaking of funny, was that a wee bit of a familiar Christmas tune
sprinkled into a few spots of the last movement of Op. 132?