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Chamber Concert: Ländler, Minuets and Waltzes

Konzerthalle Bamberg: Joseph Keilberth SaalMußstr. 1, Bamberg, Bavaria, 96047, Germany
Dates/times in Berlin time zone
Sunday 15 May 202217:00
Berganza Quartett
Christian HellwichDouble Bass

»Two souls, alas, are dwelling in my breast...« – Before energetic dances bring this chamber concert to a close, we first will hear more serious tones. Beethoven's late works were difficult for his contemporaries to comprehend, and some even described them as the »patchwork of a madman«. His String Quartet op. 130 is both famous and infamous. It was written for the eminent nobleman Nikolaus Galitzin, who was prepared to pay whatever the composer deemed appropriate. Beethoven was now completely deaf and terribly lonely, remarking: »The Grim Reaper won't leave me much time for it anyway.« However, he picked himself up and finished the work in 1826. At its premiere, the audience was particularly confused by the final fugue, calling it »as incomprehensible as Chinese«. Beethoven could not understand their reaction, complaining: »Idiots! Fools!« Nevertheless, he was persuaded to publish the fugue separately as the »Grand Fugue« op. 133 and composed a more pleasing finale to the B flat major Quartet. A reviewer described the previous five movements with the words: »The first, third and fifth movements are serious, dark, mystical, and at times bizarre, brusque and capricious; the second and fourth are full of wilfulness, glee and mischievousness.« These contrasts convey a deep sense of emotional turmoil, which dissolves and shifts to a more conciliatory tone in the energetic, dance-like finale. This piece will be followed by some equally charming dances by Beethoven and his contemporaries, often written for prestigious celebrations and balls at court. These dances usually were not tiresome commissions, but a matter of honour – after all, back then it was said in Vienna: »As soon as the musicians strike up the first bars, everyone’s expressions clear, their eyes light up, and they are filled with pleasure.«

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