1 Sep 2019

BEETHOVEN: String Quartet in B flat Op 18 No 6

From Music Alive, 3:00 pm on 1 September 2019
Beethoven in 1804

Portrait of Beethoven in 1804 Photo: Joseph Willibrord Mähler, Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons

In his first set of six string quartets, Beethoven was strongly influenced by his own predecessors in the genre, Haydn and Mozart. The set reveals Beethoven's mastery and early innovations in a genre where he remained an unmatched pioneer until Bartók's arrival in the 20th century.

Beethoven was nearing the age of 30 and already progressively losing his hearing. With this in mind, the sixth quartet opens full of joy and humour but travels to more daring ground in the last movement, exploring stark dualities and contrasts. The unusually named last movement 'La Malinconia' (Melancholy) also has the instruction 'this piece must be treated with the utmost delicacy'.

Recorded 1 September 2019 at St Andrew's on The Terrace, Wellington by RNZ Concert

Sound Engineer: Darryl Stack


  • Beethoven Quartets (Part 1) - Mozart's Spirit, Haydn's Hands