Thursday, April 1, 2021
When Beethoven sent his last string quartet to the publisher, he included the following note: “Here, my dear friend, is my last quartet. It will be the last; and indeed it has given me much trouble. For I could not bring myself to compose the last movement. But as your letters were reminding me of it, in the end I decided to compose it. And that is the reason why I have written the motto: 'Der schwer gefaßte Entschluss. Muß es sein? Es muß sein, es muß sein.' (The difficult resolution. Must it be? It must be, it must be!)".
The last movement bears the title “Der schwer gefaßte Entschluß” and Beethoven writes the words “Muß es sein?” “Es muß sein” over the two contrasting themes. The movement then unrolls playfully, when suddenly the question “Muß es sein?” returns in a heart-stopping moment. After a final struggle, the music dances away through the coda, and is crowned by one final boisterous affirmation.
Here is Beethoven’s 16th String Quartet, Opus 135, played by the Amadeus Quartet. https://youtu.be/5RjlIUdQb9c