Beethoven in 1803, painted by Christian Horneman
Kerman Week 5 – Op. 18, No. 4 – The Middle Third of Chapter 3
By Eric Wagner, guest blogger
This week please read section three of chapter 3 (pg. 65 - 71) and listen to Op. 18, No. 4 over and over again. Please comment on this week’s reading/quartet and continue to comment on previous weeks’ readings/quartets.
I hope all goes well. We near the end of Op. 18 and Beethoven’s early quartets. After week six we will take a quantum jump into Beethoven’s middle period, often referred to as his heroic period.
Doing this week’s reading I marvel at the amount of scholarship people have devoted to Beethoven’s life and work over the past two centuries.
Joseph Kerman wrote a wonderful essay on Beethoven’s minor mode pieces, “Beethoven’s Minority”, included in his collection Write All These Down. Beethoven had something of an obsession with the key of C minor, especially as a young composer, as Kerman discusses in this week’s reading.
When Kerman refers to Mozart’s C minor Concerto, he means #24, K. 491.
Kerman sees this quartet as the weakest of all the Beethoven quartets, so we have nowhere to go but up. I look forward to joining you there. In my own listening I find myself going back and forth between this week’s quartet and Chopin’s Mazurkas.