Beethoven’s masterpieces

Beethoven: String Quartets Nos. 11 & 15


  • String Quartet No. 11 in F minor Op. 95 ‘Serioso’
  • String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132

Performed by the Borodin Quartet

Beethoven’s string quartets occupy a hugely important place in the development of music. The late quartets, OP. 131-135 are especially major in that regard. In these late quartets, I always hear the future of music, because Beethoven explored so many unique structures, rhythms, and sounds in these works.

The “Serioso” quartet comes from a somewhat earlier time, the so-called “middle period”; but is still an important milepost, as well. Beethoven himself gave it the subtitle Quartetto serioso, as if to stress its powerful, dramatic atmosphere, its tense minor-key mood, only relieved in the last unexpected coda.

Here is the Borodin Quartet playing Beethoven’s String Quartet Op.132



And, for comparison, here’s one of the earlier Beethoven quartets: Beethoven’s String quartet op.59 no.2 Presto. You’ll see that the Cello string breaks during the performance, and the players have to start the music again, after the string is replaced:


Tags: Borodin Quartet, Beethoven, Serioso

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *