String Quartet No. 16 (Beethoven)

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String Quartet
No. 16
Late string quartet by Ludwig van Beethoven
Beethoven door Lyser.jpg
Caricature of Beethoven by J. P. Lyser (1825)
KeyF major
OpusOp. 135
ComposedOctober 1826
DedicationJohann Wolfmayer
Durationc. 22 min
DateMarch 1828
PerformersSchuppanzigh Quartet

The String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135, by Ludwig van Beethoven was written in October 1826[1] and was the last major work he completed. Only the final movement of the Quartet Op. 130, written as a replacement for the Große Fuge, was composed later. The op. 135 quartet was premiered by the Schuppanzigh Quartet in March 1828, one year after Beethoven's death.

The work is on a smaller scale than the other late quartets. 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:

  1. Allegretto (F major)
  2. Vivace (F major)
  3. Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo (D major)
  4. "Der schwer gefaßte Entschluß". Grave, ma non troppo tratto ("Muss es sein?") – Allegro ("Es muss sein!") – Grave, ma non troppo tratto – Allegro (F minor – F major)

The performance of the work takes around 22–25 minutes.


  1. ^ Steinberg, Michael (1994). Robert Winter, Robert Martin (ed.). The Beethoven Quartet Companion. University of California Press. p. 274. ISBN 0-520-08211-7.

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