Today’s recording is inspired by a story in today’s Independent claiming that research reveals that Beethoven’s last string quartet may well be a musical illustration of the composer’s undiagnosed arrhythmia. Got one or two friends hot under the collar. Seems the claims made in the story were a bit of a leap. That said, the journalist used String Quartet No.13 as evidence of the musical illustration of arrhytmia and seeing as I hadn’t heard the work before, I figured that should be the work I should listen to today.
It’s mammoth and breathtaking in its unusualness. I don’t think I’ve ever heard Beethoven like this. It seems to occupy an altogether different musical home compared to the 9th which in comparison feels incredibly safe, formulaic and written for the audience. This string quartet feels incredibly personal. An odd thing to say given that I don’t know much about Beethoven as a person.