Humorous and full of wit, Beethoven’s String Quartet in G major, Op. 18 No. 2 evokes the energy and optimism of a young idealist. The intense and searching String Quartet No. 3 by Bartók is a whirling dance of emotion and strength. In his most chromatically dense and complex quartet the composer sets out to explore limits of technical difficulty and break the bounds of traditional forms. At turns both serene and impulsive, Beethoven’s String Quartet Op. 74 is no less perplexing than the Bartók, if only for its departure from the heroic tendencies of Beethoven’s other middle period works. Labelled “The Harp” for its passages pizzicato arpeggios mimicking a harp, it is set in the warm key of E flat and represents introspective tendencies of an established composer’s musical language.

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Works on “Beethoven and Bartók” include:

Beethoven, String Quartet in G major, Op. 18 No. 2
Bartók, String Quartet No. 3, Sz. 85
Beethoven, String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 74 “The Harp”