Beethoven String Quartets
· What is the difficulty level of the middle Beethoven String Quartets? It seems to me that the op.74 is easier than the op.59 for intermediate/advanced violist & cellist, and the violin parts are definitely for advanced players.
Please comment; esp. if you have worked with adult students. Thank you.
Easier than the Rasumovsky quartets (op. 59), which have unusually challenging 2nd violin parts (the 1st violin parts in Beethoven quarters are usually no cakewalk though op. 18 is usually less difficult).
For coached adult chamber experiences my own experience teaches me that you want music that is not pushing the players' technical limits. The goal of coached chamber is to learn about the ensemble aspects -- listening, blending, interpreting according to the interplay of the four parts. You won't get there if you have to deal with rhythms that are out of sync because your players are struggling with their parts.
This is from the experience of an amateur who has played--in the privacy of our living room--all of the middle Beethoven quartets and has had coaching on op. 74, first movement. And yes, op. 74 is easier than the rest of them. Easier at least in terms of violin technique (and still quite hard, at least for the violins). It still poses many ensemble problems.
My recollection, from having previously read all of them, is that the Razumovskys move at a sufficient tempo, with greater note density in the 2nd violin part, to not be trivially sight-readable pretty close to note-perfect, which is reasonably viable for Schubert 2nd violin parts , usually.
My amateur quartet has worked quite a bit on the first Rasumovksy quartet, and yes, you need 'advanced' violinists for it to be worth working on.
I can't play the last page of Op.74 mvt 1 vln1 but luckily have friends who can. And the other parts have the real jam - lift-off time!
How would people here compare said Beethoven quartets with Schubert Death and the Maiden? I am currently working on the 1st violin part of the first movement. I have of course heard this fantastic piece many times and always thought it to be impossibly difficult, but am now glad to discover that it is actually doable (always talking about amateur level of course).
The first movement of Death and the Maiden is pretty approachable, as well as very rewarding. I'd say it was clearly easier than most of op.59.
thanks Chris for the info, yes, the second movement is of course from another world and for me one of the best pieces of music ever. hacking through not recommended :-)
I usually recommend students getting into Beethoven to start on the Op. 18 No. 4, followed by the Op. 18 No. 6. From there, I think that Op. 95 is more accessible than Op. 74 or the Op. 59's (or the late quartets for that matter).
I think DatM is significantly easier than the op 59s. The first violin part is sightreadable (though not easily) and the ensemble is fairly straightforward. One of my favorite quartets.
I believe that Schuppanzich postponed the premiere of the Schubert because it was too difficult-- and replaced it with a late Beethoven. To me, this suggests that they hadn't bothered to rehearse the Schubert or perhaps didn't get parts that were properly copied. It is a lot easier than middle and late Beethoven.
My chamber orchestra has performed DatM without any problems, possibly due to several members being already familiar with the piece as a quartet. The performance went well.
Thanks to the comments of the Beethoven String Quartets.