String Quartet No. 16 (Beethoven)
The String Quartet No. 16 in F major, op. 135, by Ludwig van Beethoven was written in October 1826 and was the last substantial work he finished. Only the last movement of the Quartet op. 130, written as a replacement for the Große Fuge, was written later. The op. 135 quartet was premiered by the Schuppanzigh Quartet in March 1828.
The work is on a smaller scale than his other late quartets. For the third movement, Beethoven used variation techniques; he also did this in the second movement of his Quartet op. 127. Under the introductory slow chords in the last movement Beethoven wrote in the manuscript "Muß es sein?" (Must it be?) to which he responds, with the faster main theme of the movement, "Es muß sein!" (It must be!). The whole movement is headed "Der schwer gefaßte Entschluß" ("The Difficult Decision").
It is in four movements:
- Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo
- “Der schwer gefaßte Entschluß (The difficult decision).” Grave, ma non troppo tratto (Muss es sein?/Must it be?) – Allegro (Es muss sein!/It must be!) – Grave, ma non troppo tratto – Allegro
- Jason Grant Britton's doctoral thesis on Harmony, voice leading, and motive in Beethoven's last quartet
- Project Gutenberg E-Book of the Quartet
- String Quartet No. 16: Free scores at the International Music Score Library Project
- Performance by the Borromeo String Quartet from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in MP3 format
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