String Quartet No. 1 (Beethoven)

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The String Quartet No. 1 in F major, Op. 18, No. 1, was written by Ludwig van Beethoven between 1798 and 1800, published in 1801, and dedicated to Joseph Franz von Lobkowitz. It is actually the second string quartet that Beethoven composed.

In musical composition, the opus number is the "work number" that is assigned to a composition, or to a set of compositions, to indicate the chronological order of the composer's production. Opus numbers are used to distinguish among compositions with similar titles; the word is abbreviated as "Op." for a single work, or "Opp." when referring to more than one work.

Ludwig van Beethoven German classical and romantic composer

Ludwig van Beethoven was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in classical music, he remains one of the most recognised and influential of all composers. His best-known compositions include 9 symphonies; 5 piano concertos; 1 violin concerto; 32 piano sonatas; 16 string quartets; a mass, the Missa solemnis; and an opera, Fidelio. His career as a composer is conventionally divided into early, middle, and late periods; the "early" period is typically seen to last until 1802, the "middle" period from 1802 to 1812, and the "late" period from 1812 to his death in 1827.

Joseph Franz von Lobkowitz austrian general and patron of music

Joseph Franz Maximilian, 7th Prince Lobkowitz was an aristocrat of Bohemia, from the House of Lobkowicz. He is known particularly for his interest in music and as a patron of Ludwig van Beethoven.


The quartet consists of four movements:

  1. Allegro con brio (F major)
  2. Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato (D minor)
  3. Scherzo: Allegro molto (F major)
  4. Allegro (F major)

According to Beethoven's friend Karl Amenda, the second movement was inspired by the tomb scene from William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet . The quartet was heavily revised between the version that Amenda first received and the one that was sent to the publisher a year later, including changing the second movement's marking from Adagio molto to the more specific Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato. Of these modifications, Beethoven wrote: "Be sure not to hand on to anybody your quartet, in which I have made some drastic alterations. For only now have I learnt to write quartets; and this you will notice, I fancy, when you receive them." [1]

William Shakespeare English playwright and poet

William Shakespeare was an English poet, playwright and actor, widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's greatest dramatist. He is often called England's national poet and the "Bard of Avon". His extant works, including collaborations, consist of approximately 39 plays, 154 sonnets, two long narrative poems, and a few other verses, some of uncertain authorship. His plays have been translated into every major living language and are performed more often than those of any other playwright.

<i>Romeo and Juliet</i> tragedy by William Shakespeare

Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy written by William Shakespeare early in his career about two young star-crossed lovers whose deaths ultimately reconcile their feuding families. It was among Shakespeare's most popular plays during his lifetime and along with Hamlet, is one of his most frequently performed plays. Today, the title characters are regarded as archetypal young lovers.

The theme of the finale is almost directly borrowed from the finale of his earlier string trio, Op. 9, No. 3 in C minor; the themes are very closely related. The principal theme of the first movement echoes that of Haydn's Opus 50, No. 1 quartet. [2]

String Quartets, Op. 50 (Haydn)

The String Quartets, Op. 50, were composed by Joseph Haydn in 1787. The set of six quartets was dedicated to King Frederick William II of Prussia. For this reason the set is commonly known as the Prussian Quartets. Haydn sold the set to the Viennese firm Artaria and, without Artaria's knowledge, to the English publisher William Forster. Forster published it as Haydn's Opus 44. Haydn's autograph manuscripts for Nos. 3 to 6 of the set were discovered in Melbourne, Australia, in 1982.

The "Amenda" manuscript, as it is sometimes known, was edited by Paul Mies and published by Bärenreiter around 1965, and by Henle-Verlag of Munich (perhaps also edited by Mies) in 1962. [3] This early version of one of Beethoven's best-known works has been recorded perhaps less than a half-dozen times as of July 2014. [4]

Bärenreiter publisher

Bärenreiter (Bärenreiter-Verlag) is a German classical music publishing house based in Kassel. The firm was founded by Karl Vötterle (1903–1975) in Augsburg in 1923, and moved to Kassel in 1927, where it still maintains headquarters; it also has offices in Basel, London, New York and Prague. The company is currently managed by Barbara Scheuch-Vötterle and Leonhard Scheuch.


  1. Winter & Martin, p. 151
  2. Sutcliffe, W. Dean (1992). Haydn: String Quartets, Op. 50. Cambridge University Press. p. 67. ISBN   0521399955.
  3. See OCLC   803615623, OCLC   59009141.
  4. The first movement by the Juilliard String Quartet in 2008- OCLC   319178284 but before that, the premiere was given by the Pro Arte Quartet on a Laurel Records cassette/long-playing record in 1981 - OCLC   612773288 (with notes by musicologist Lewis Lockwood.) ("Original version" in the title of that record should perhaps be recast as earliest surviving version.) There is another complete recording - listed as Hess 32 - here: OCLC   156914724, played by the Quartetto Paolo Borciani, released 2007; also by the Hagen Quartet on a Deutsche Grammophon set (OCLC   38129193) ;

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