BRAHMS Johannes, String Quartet in C minor Op.51 No.1

Romanze. Poco adagio
Allegretto molto moderato e comodo

The string quartet was a form that gave Brahms a great deal of trouble and the masterpieces of Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven meant that Brahms was especially critical of his efforts at quartet writing. The C minor Quartet was finished in the mid-1860s, but Brahms revised it extensively over the next decade and re-wrote it during the summer of 1873. The first performance took place in Vienna in December 1873 by the Hellmesberger Quartet. The work is dedicated to Brahms’s friend Theodor Billroth, one of the most innovative surgeons of his time and a keen amateur musician. There’s a very close relationship between the main themes in each of the four movements, each of which grow from the same basic idea, and the overall structure sees two intimate miniatures framed by the more symphonic outer movements.

Nigel Simeone ©2014


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