It was in these years - 1806, specifically - that Beethoven composed his three “Razumovsky” Quartets. These were named for the Russian ambassador to Vienna who commissioned them, Count Andrey Kirillovich Razumovsky, also an amateur violinist. While Beethoven gave the first two quartets quotes of Russian themes, as requested by Razumovsky, the third does not quote any specific folk tune but perhaps evokes one in the sparse second movement which is also notable for its plucked pizzicato cello. The third movement opens with a familiar melody in a charming minuetto form. But if the second movement is texturally light, the final movement is thick as the players race to the finish in a fortissimo conclusion (marked ff in the score). Beethoven’s “Razumovsky” Quartet #3 is today’s Midday Masterpiece at 2:00 pm.
January 15, 2022