Monday, March 22, 2021
Six years after the publication of the six Opus 18 string quartets, Beethoven received a commission for three quartets from Count Razumovsky, the Russian ambassador to Vienna, who was the funder of the Schuppanzigh Quartet and himself an accomplished violinist.
The Opus 59 "Razumovsky" Quartets took Vienna by storm, as they transformed the genre from light entertainment to symphonic scope and profundity. In the first quartet, Beethoven used a Russian folk song as the theme for the fourth movement, and inscribed the following enigmatic remark on the final page of the folio: "A weeping willow or acacia tree on my brother’s grave".
Opus 59 no. 1 is performed here by the Emerson String Quartet. https://youtu.be/ztW4qJ2rskY