Greg Mitchell on media, politics, film, music, satire, TV. "Not here, not here the darkness, in this twittering world." -- T.S. Eliot, "Four Quartets"
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There's an interesting back story about the Opus 130 String Quartet. The L-man did not take critcism very well (he once replied to the writer of a negative review by saying "I shit better than you write"). But the first listeners to this quartet opined that the Grose Fugue finale did not fit with the celestial loveliness of the rest of the work, AND BEETHOVEN ACTUALLY CHANGED HIS MIND, writing a new, kinder, gentler finale for the piece! It turns out that there's no general opinion on which finale to play by many musicians. It's not unusual to go to a performance and not know which final movement will be played until the program booklet is placed in your hands, but even then, there's still doubt. The last time I attended a concert including the Opus 130 SQ, by the Muir Quartet at Boston University's Tsai Performance Center, the booklet contained a writeup drawn from a CD by perfomers who played the Grose Fugue version, but the Muir played the revised finale. Anybody who believed the program booklet was expecting the wild, ahead-of-its time product of Beethoven's late focus on counterpoint ("Hammerklavier" Sonata, anyone?) only to hear a kind of summation of the sound world of Haydn and Mozart, music Beethoven heard in his youth.
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