Week 34 – Beethoven’s Blog

Posted on August, 13th 2021

String Quartet No.11 in F minor, Op.95   
Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Major, Op. 96   
“Archduke” Piano Trio, Op.97

Three great works of chamber music usher out Beethoven’s middle style period and look forward to his late powerful yet austere period to come. These are the tumultuous Opus 95 String Quartet in F minor, the graceful and elegant Opus 96 Sonata for Violin and Piano in G Major, and the beautiful soaring Trio for Violin, Cello, and Piano Opus 97 in Bb Major.

You will hear the fast and furious opening of the quartet and its gentler contrasting theme in the major key of Db. This movement is dense and very compact and concise. Next, listen and contrast that movement with the opening of the violin sonata. Do you hear how gentle it is? Even as the movement develops, we continue to see the softer side of Beethoven, don’t we? The “Archduke” piano trio has always been one of my favorite pieces since I played in high school. The melodies in the first movement are unforgettable. There are some virtuoso fireworks to follow of course.

The Emerson Quartet’s rendition of Op. 95 is excellent. Don’t be fooled by their apparently cool collective exterior. They are wonderful players and they play this piece beautifully, bringing out all the contrasting elements.

String Quartet No. 11, Opus 95, in F minor


This video of Yehudi Menuhin and Glenn Gould performing the Beethoven Op. 96, G major Sonata is compelling, not only for their music making but also for the conversation that begins the video. I think you will be interested in hearing these two incomparable masters discuss music making. Glenn Gould is such a wonderful and interesting musician and the glowing sound that Yehudi Menuhin gets from his “Lord Wilton” Guarnerius violin is stunning.

Sonata for Violin and Piano Opus 96 in G Major

I find it difficult to listen to the opening of the “Archduke” trio without coming to tears. Certainly, that’s the case with this beautiful recording by three incredible musical geniuses. Listen to how the music soars at the beginning and how tender it is.

“Archduke” Piano Trio, Op 97

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