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Drei Quartette für zwei Violinen, Viola und Violoncello (F-Dur, e-Moll, C-Dur) op. 59, 1-3

Listening samples
Nr. 1: 1. Allegro (365 kB)
Nr. 1: 2. Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando (365 kB)
Nr. 1: 3. Adagio molto e mesto (365 kB)
Nr. 1: 4. Thème russe. Allegro (365 kB)
Nr. 2: 1. Allegro (365 kB)
Nr. 2: 2. Molto Adagio. Si tratta questo pezzo con molto di sentimento (365 kB)
Nr. 2: 3. Allegretto - Maggiore (Thème russe) (365 kB)
Nr. 2: 4. Finale. Presto (365 kB)
Nr. 3: 1. Introduzione. Andante con moto - Allegro vivace (365 kB)
Nr. 3: 2. Andante con moto quasi Allegretto (365 kB)
Nr. 3: 3. Menuetto grazioso (365 kB)
Nr. 3: 4. Allegro molto (365 kB)

Composition
Ca. April/Mai bis November 1806
dedicated to Andreas Kyrillowitsch Graf Rasumowsky

In the winter season of 1804/05 violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh performed a public concert series of chamber music for the first time in music history, probably at the Lobkowitz palace. Beethoven's composition op. 18 was part of that series. The composer certainly knew of this project well before. In October 1804 Beethoven made an inquiry for sales opportunities of planned new quartets at the Breitkopf & Härtel publishing house in Leipzig, although at that time he was still busy completing and reviewing his opera Leonore (Fidelio). He only started composing the string quartets (op. 59) in the spring of 1806. Whether the main reason for composing op. 59 was the contact to Schuppanzigh concerning his concert series or an explicit order from Andreas Kyrillowitsch Count Rasumowsky, whom Beethoven finally dedicated the quartets to, or whether Beethoven himself planned the composition will never be known for sure. The dedicatee must have been determined early because in the first two quartets Beethoven included Russian melodies taken from the collection of Russian folk songs by Iwan Pratsch published in 1790. Later on, Beethoven used Pratsch's collection as a model for some of his musical versions WoO 158.

Probably, the string quartets op. 59 were first performed at the end of January or in early February 1807 under the same conditions as the first quartet series op. 18. Again, the musicians belonged to the Schuppanzigh quartet, the performance was held in private, probably at the Lobkowitz palace (in 1807 Rasumowsky did not have a palace yet; after his Vienna palace was completed in 1808 he hired the Schuppanzigh quartet as his own quartet until 1816). Already at the beginning of March did the Leipzig General Musical Newspaper report on three, very long and challenging violin quartets by Beethoven that were of high interest to connoisseurs. The quartets must have been presented in public shortly after then as another short article was published in early May, saying that Beethoven's latest demanding but dignified quartets were increasingly well-liked and that music lovers were hoping for their soon availability as etched copies. (J.R.)

Music manuscripts
Skizzen, BH 100
Skizzen, HCB Mh 72
Autograph, op. 59,3, Partitur Autograph with sound

First editions
Originalausgabe, op. 59, Stimmen, Bureau des arts et d'industrie, 580, 584, 585
Originalausgabe, op. 59, 1-3, Stimmen, Bureau des Arts et d'Industrie, 580, 584, 585; Teilscan
Originalausgabe, op. 59, 1-3, Stimmen, Bureau des Arts et d'Industrie, 584-585; Teilscan
Originalausgabe, op. 59, 1-3, Stimmen, Clementi, Banger, Hyde, Collard and Davis
Titelauflage, op. 59, 1-3, Stimmen, Clementi, Collard, Davis and Collard
Titelauflage, op. 59, 1-3, Stimmen, Haslinger, 4026-4028; Teilscan
Titelauflage, op. 59, 1-3, Stimmen, Riedl, 580, 584, 585; Teilscan
Titelauflage, op. 59, 1-3, Stimmen, Steiner, 4026-4028; Teilscan
Frühdruck, op. 59, Stimmen, Breitkopf und Härtel, 1609; Teilscan

Scores (bibliographic data)

Written documents
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 5. Juli 1806
Brief an Breitkopf & Härtel in Leipzig, Grätz, 3. September 1806
Brief an Breitkopf und Härtel in Leipzig, Wien, 18. November 1806
Brief an Nikolaus Simrock in Bonn, Wien, 26. April 1807
Brief an Ignaz und Camille Pleyel in Paris, Wien, 26. April 1807
Brief an Josephine Deym, Wien, kurz vor dem 11. Mai 1807
Brief an Ignaz von Gleichenstein in Wien, Baden, vor dem 23. Juli 1807

Pictures
Fürst Andreas Rasumowsky (1752-1836) - Reproduktion einer Lithographie von Josef Lanzedelly (der Ältere), 2. Hälfte 19. Jahrhundert?
Das Joachim-Quartett beim Musizieren - Radierung von Ferdinand Schmutzer nach einer eigenen Zeichnung, 1904
Graf Andreas Rasumowsky (1752-1836) - Fotografie eines Gemäldes von Ferdinand Waldmüller, um 1906
Graf Andreas Rasumowsky (1752-1836) - Fotografie einer Lithographie von Josef Lanzedelly, um 1910?
Fürst Andreas Rasumowsky (1752-1836) - Fotokopie einer Lithographie von Josef Lanzedelly der Ältere, 1958

Literature (bibliographic data)

Manuscript sources in other libraries
Berlin: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Musikabteilung mit Mendelssohn-Archiv
Berlin: Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Musikabteilung mit Mendelssohn-Archiv
Großbritannien, London: Royal College of Music
Österreich, Wien: Gesellschaft der Musikfreunde, Archiv, Bibliothek und Sammlungen

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