Two more Beethoven quartets – the second of three that the composer dedicated to the Russian ambassador to Vienna and amateur violinist, Count Andrei Rasumovsky (e-minor, Op. 59 No. 2) and the one of the ‘late quartets’, Op. 132 in a-minor, commissioned by, and dedicated to, another Russian (this time an amateur cellist), Count Nikolai Galitzin.
Both are, in their different ways, great works of musical literature; examples of creativity functioning at the highest possible level. But it’s particularly the slow movements of both – the Molto Adagio of the Op. 59 (marked Si tratta questo pezzo con molto di sentimento [play this piece with deep emotion] and reportedly inspired by the composer’s contemplation of the night sky)…
Molto Adagio: 10:50
…and the highly original double variations of the Molto Adagio of Op. 132 (marked Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart [Holy song of thanksgiving of a convalescent to the Deity, in the Lydian mode].
0:06 I: Assai sostenuto
10:34 II: Allegro ma non tanto
19:53 III: Molto Adagio
38:48 IV: Alla marcia, assai vivace – Piu allegro – Presto and
V: Allegro appassionato