– Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven (17 December 1770 — 26 March 1827)
– Performers: Takács Quartet
– Year of recording: 2003

String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131, written in 1826.

00:00 – 1. Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo
08:03 – 2. Allegro molto vivace
11:00 – 3. Allegro moderato
11:43 – 4. Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile
25:10 – 5. Presto
30:12 – 6. Adagio quasi un poco andante
32:30 – 7. Allegro

Despite its opus number, this quartet came after the “Fifteenth” Op. 132 from 1825, one of three composed to meet a commission from Prince Nikolai Golitzin. The others were Nos. 12 and 13. Like the Thirteenth and Fifteenth, this C sharp minor Quartet consists of more than the usual three or four movements. There are, in fact, seven movements to this massive work, and its form, as one might suspect, is also most unusual.

The quartet begins with a fugue, marked Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo. The mood throughout is somber, but with a religiosity and tenderness that seem to suggest the composer’s sense of his own mortality (Beethoven died in March 1827, a year after this composition). Near the end of this movement the music fades, then leads directly into the second movement, marked Allegro molto vivace, which seems as if it could be a more typical first movement. It begins at a pianissimo level with a theme that might seem more suited to a Rondo finale. A transitional theme appears next, and eventually we arrive at a second subject. The material is reprised but afterward there follows no actual development section. Instead, an expanded coda develops the transitional theme. At this juncture, the traditional sonata-allegro form seems obscured.

The third movement begins without pause, and actually serves as a brief interlude to the long slow movement, which is marked Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile. It consists of a theme and six variations, most of which involve harmony rather than the essence of the melody itself. This movement is one of the most profound and complex Beethoven ever fashioned in the chamber genre. Each variation is played in a different tempo, thus creating a true “variety” that, to some ears, may seem at first to impart a disjointed quality. Yet, Beethoven’s invention and cleverness are present everywhere. The fifth variation, for instance, with its deftly-wrought syncopation, is wonderfully mysterious and the coda slyly starts off as if it will become yet another variation, but it subtly returns to the main themes, then brings the movement to a close with a gentle fade.

The Presto fifth movement is brimming with energy and charm. It is an attractive, humorous Scherzo with a trio section and may be, despite a few innovative touches by Beethoven, the most traditional of the movements comprising this quartet. Its rather abrupt and harsh ending leads to a brief interlude-like Adagio quasi un poco andante. The sixth movement, like the third, is very brief.

The finale begins with a gruff theme, that is immediately followed by a less fierce but darker theme. A third melody is introduced shortly afterward, closer in character to the last, but expressing sadness and melancholy. The themes reappear, with the form thus far seeming to suggest the movement could be a Rondo. But Beethoven veers toward thematic development, as if to say he has finally found his way to the sonata-allegro form. There follows a recapitulation but with many highly imaginative changes in the previous material. A powerful and tragic coda closes what many consider Beethoven’s greatest quartet. It was first published in Mainz in 1827 and was dedicated to Baron Joseph von Stutterheim.

gerubach·76 videos

Performer & Album Info – 1:26:01
Keyboard Reduction at: http://youtu.be/UgmpBHAwFLk
Contrapunctus 1 – 0:30
Contrapunctus 2 – 3:38
Contrapunctus 3 – 6:29
Contrapunctus 4 – 9:08
Contrapunctus 5 – 12:37
Contrapunctus 6 – 15:18
Contrapunctus 7 – 19:38
Contrapunctus 8 – 22:58
Contrapunctus 9 – 28:11
Contrapunctus 10 – 30:42
Contrapunctus 11 – 34:15
Contrapunctus 12 – 39:42
Contrapunctus 13 – 44:03
Contrapunctus 14 – 48:07
Contrapunctus 15 – 53:31
Contrapunctus 16 (rectus) – 1:01:29
Contrapunctus 16 (invertus) – 1:04:09
Contrapunctus 17 (rectus) – 1:06:04
Contrapunctus 17 (invertus) – 1:08:29
Contrapunctus 18 (rectus) – 1:10:30
Contrapunctus 18 (invertus) – 1:12:39
Contrapunctus 19 – 1:14:30
Chorale: Von deinenThron tret ich hiermit – 1:23:12

BPLvideos·137 videos


The Daily Beethoven·419 videos

HSProductions2·10 videos

Nathan Grabow performs his original composition entitled Concertino in G Minor for Piano and Strings. It is being played here by the composer on piano and a strings ensemble group. He wrote the piece when he was twelve years old and at the time of the performance is thirteen.

thegoodgeneral·8 videos

The second movement of 28 year-old Ravel’s Quatuor à Cordes. He is said to have been meticulous in his writing, and, finally, a group of musicians have matched his efforts in terms of attention. This is, in my opinion, the best performance and recording of this piece.

The second movement is possibly the most known, as audiences remember the pizzicato opening; its usage in media, such as for the film “The Royal Tenenbaums” (W. Anderson) and as trailer music for films such as “Be Kind Rewind” (M. Gondry) also furthers its memorability. Assez vif introduces two new melodies; a rhythmic melody and a contrasting “sung” melody, which is both graceful and heroic. It is as though these are character motifs.

Hagen Quartet:

First Violin – Lukas Hagen (Austria)
Second Violin – Rainer Schmidt (Germany)
Viola – Veronika Hagen (Austria)
‘Cello – Clemens Hagen (Austria)

Concert hall – Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria. (2000.)

DISCLAIMER: I do not own the copyrights. I am uploading these in the spirit of sharing artistry and education. I urge you to visit the following links and consider purchasing:

The avi file, http://www.medici.tv/#/movie/2832/
And/or the DVD, http://www.hbdirect.com/album_detail….

NOTE: Creative Process  –  Note the blocks of sound technique  –  or, the sudden shifts of musical texture.

LydianLabelOnline·22 videos

Laszlo’s ” Zeitgeist ” from the album Radial Nerve (2011).

Performed by: The Apollo Quartet
Composition and arrangement: Aaron ‘Laszlo’ Wheeler
Transcription: Ed Hargrave.
Audio & Visual production: Todd Baker

In the latest offering from the Lydian Sessions, Laszlo strips down the complex electronic soundscape of “Zeitgeist” to a string quartet arrangement, giving you chance to hear some of the harmonic and compositional flavours in a more pure context.

Follow the Lydian Label at: http://www.facebook.com/lydianlabel

For more of Todd Baker’s solo guitar work, check out: http://www.youtube.com/teebee81

Video filmed on Canon EOS 550D Digital DSLR Camera

Live String Quartet Performance – Laszlo – Zeitgeist ( Lydian Label Sessions ) HD