Susie on Beethoven's String Quartet Op 18 No. 3

Extract: In this short talk, Susie contextualises Beethoven's longing, searching for a more transcendent spirituality, reflected in his music, within the context of the Enlightenment. Beethoven was in his late twenties. It was only at this stage in his career after writing trios, violin and cello sonatas, septets, that he felt ready to take on the medium of the string quartet. There is nothing ostentatious about this string quartet. Beethoven could almost pick up a tune from the street and craft it into something extremely sophisticated and beautiful. This quartet still has all the hallmarks of classical writing and structure, except his journeys into keys, into texture and kind material he uses, which is perhaps more fragmentary and elusive than his predecessors, Haydn and Mozart.

The Budapest String Quartet performance 1951

(Listen to the Budapest String Quartet play Op 18 No. 3 below)

The Budapest String Quartet (Joseph Roisman - Jac Gorodetzky - Boris Kroyt - Mischa Schneider)
Studio recording, 29.XI.1951

tonal purple illustration of Beethoven

Personal Memory of Mischa Schneider

A curious personal recollection of my own. In 1983 I was in the Marlboro Summer School in Vermont, which had been started by Rudolph Serkin and Adolf Busch.  I worked closely with Mischa Schneider who at that time was too old to play, but sat in on all rehearsals and coached us every day. One really felt the depth of understanding for the music and quartet playing.  His help was musical, intellectual, practical. He was a very personable man.

It felt like holding the hand of history. I remember feeling that he continued to discover the music himself. It felt like he was playing in the quartet.