Day 234: String Quartets Op. 59 “Rasumovsky” Nos. 1 & 2

BeethovenCD39Delightful music!

And, for a recording made in 1967 and 1968, surprisingly vibrant – as fresh as anything recorded today.

Such is the care Brilliant Classics extends to its music.

This record label is truly one of the finest in the world. (No, I do not get paid by them. I just really appreciate the quality and price of the music on the Brilliant Classics label.)

On today’s CD I am treated to:

String Quartet No. 7 in F Op. 59 No. 1 “Rasumovsky”
String Quartet No. 8 in E minor Op. 59 No. 2 “Rasumovsky”

There are three string quartets named “Rasumovsky,” the third being String Quartet No. 9 in C major, Op. 59, No. 3, which is likely on the next CD.

All three were written in 1806. Beethoven was 36, and well on his way to being deaf.

Both of these string quartets were performed by the Suske Quartett:

Karl Suske violin I
Klaus Peters violin II
Karl-Heinze Dommus viola
Matthias Pfaender cello

There’s a profound depth and complexity and – unless I am totally clueless – a kind of melancholy to this music. Some of it, like Movement III (“Adagio molto e mesto”) from No. 7 in F, exudes wistfulness.

Yet, that mood is wiped away with the fourth movement – “Allego (Theme russe)” – which, as its name suggests, offers a hint of Russian music, played more briskly than the Adagio of Movement III.

Of the two compositions on today’s CD, I think I prefer the second: No. 8 in E Minor Op. 59 No. 2.

It seems even sadder than No. 1, if that’s possible. Yet, it’s eerily compelling.

The two string quartets on this CD, as well as the third on the next CD, were commissioned by the Russian ambassador in Vienna, Count Andreas Razumovsky.