Thursday, April 8, 2010
The Beethoven String Quartets
My musical mentor and hero, Sue Jensen, told me the last time I was in chemotherapy to "surround yourself with great music". She suggested Bach's B minor mass. So I got the score from the library and purchased a nice recording of it on iTunes. I found it was a great comfort and a good meditative practice to help focus on something more, well, divine, than what my chemo stomach was talking to me about at any given moment.
This time around, I've been focusing on another wonderful series of works - or opera (plural of opus - thank you very much Carol!) - the Beethoven string quartets. Due to the generosity and general greatness of my in-law's the Ballou's of Chicago, I now have the complete quartets loaded on my iPad (! - more on that little distraction later) and, even more remarkably, am able to follow along with the score that Ted sent a long from an 1895 publication that belonged to his Grandmother. Wow! Spanning three centuries of technology and art!
In addition to the above, I've also got a series of lectures on the quartets, (provided, again, thank you Ballou's!) from the Teaching Company. So, even though there won't be a real test at the end of my study, you can feel free to ask me anything about Ludwig and the quartets... at least until "chemo brain" sets in and then I'm not responsible for the content.... ;-)
The quartets are a remarkable piece of work that spans Beethoven's entire career and tell a very dramatic story of the development of the master's mind and creative inner life. And they are very beautiful as well.