About the album
Around the time the Rasumovski Quartet's were written, Beethovens favorite violinist, Ignaz von Schuppanzigh had begun the very first professional string quartet, thus providing Beethoven with an ideal laboratory for testing new string quartet ideas. Before this, string quartet playing was more something that happened in living rooms. Amateurs of, grantedly, good musical quality would entertain themselves among friends by playing string quartets. By writing for the Schuppanzigh quartet, which moreover would perform in public concert series, Beethoven became involved with a wholly new setting. ¬Naturally, he turned the prospect entirely to his advantage; from then on he could do as he wished in his string quartets.
“It is really almost unimaginable that the six opus 18 and the Rasumovsky quartets were a mere 5 years apart. You feel that when Beethoven wrote his opus 59 it was really ‘boiling over’ in his head. In relation to opus 18, which still leaned heavily on Haydn’s way of writing, this music is much more abstract. The string quartet must be the most abstractive apparatus in existence. That instrumental setting asks as it were that the composer dive into the essence of tonality and start making abstractions. With four entirely equal voices and the scarcest of means, Beethoven builds nearly exalted constructions. Everything that happens in this music is absolutely essential. Beethoven announces in this opus 59 an entirely new era in music.”
“In Beethoven’s later music it gets less and less necessary to play on early instruments. This music is not merely less connected to specific instruments than Beethoven’s earlier works, it is outright futuristic. The question brings to mind Beethoven’s rather testy retort when Schuppanzigh commented that his music seemed at times unplayable: “Do you actually believe that I am thinking of your miserable violin when I compose?” (Sigiswald, Sara and Veronica Kuijken speaking about Beethoven’s opus 59)
The Kuijken String Quartet has already exists almost twenty years . , make up an ensemble, which can play these recordings in a way that practically no other can.
11String Quartet in F major op. 59 no. 1 Allegro
12String Quartet in F major op. 59 no. 1 Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando
13String Quartet in F major op. 59 no. 1 Adagio molto e mesto
14String Quartet in F major op. 59 no. 1 Allegro
15String Quartet in e minor op. 59 no. 2 Allegro
16String Quartet in e minor op. 59 no. 2 Molto Adagio
17String Quartet in e minor op. 59 no. 2 Allegretto
18String Quartet in e minor op. 59 no. 2 Finale: Presto
21String Quartet in C major op. 59 no. 3 ?Razumovsky? Introduzione: Andante con moto. Allegro vivace
22String Quartet in C major op. 59 no. 3 ?Razumovsky? Andante con moto quasi Allegretto
23String Quartet in C major op. 59 no. 3 ?Razumovsky? Menuetto
24String Quartet in C major op. 59 no. 3 ?Razumovsky? Allegretto molto
25String Quintet in C major op. 29 Allegro moderato
26String Quintet in C major op. 29 Adagio molto espressivo
27String Quintet in C major op. 29 Scherzo. Allegro
28String Quintet in C major op. 29 Finale. Presto
On Saturday, November 14th 2009, Sigiswald Kuijken will be a guest in 'Meesterwerk' on Klara Radio in Vlaanderen, Belgium. Topic of the programme will be Mozart's Requiem. A new Requiem is available now and it is of the well-known writer Jeroen Brouwers together with drawings of Roger Raveel. In this 'new Rquiem' Brouwers formulates a contemporary answer to Mozarts Requiem. A new Requiem is also a production of I Solisti ...