“SHEER TECHNICAL EXHILARATION”
BEETHOVEN, Ludwig. Quatuor pour deux Violons, Viola et Violoncelle composé et dédié a Son Altesse le Prince regnant de Lobkowitz. Op. 74. Leipzig: Breitkopf & Hartel, . Folio, disbound, original separate parts in original paper wrappers; pp. 11, 7, 7, 7. Housed in a custom chemise. $2500.
First German edition, first issue, of Beethoven’s so-called “Harp” Quartet for strings, in parts, fully engraved.
So called from its use of harp-like pizzicato effects, the "Harp" quartet is one of the great works of Beethoven's middle period. "Around 1808 the enthusiasm and high daring of Beethoven's music begins to be tempered by ever-increasing technical virtuosity… The change is clearest of all [in] the 'Harp' Quartet of 1809… The climax of the first movement is a climax of sheer technical exhilaration, for in the coda Beethoven seems at last to have solved the problem of simulating orchestral idiom in a quartet" (New Grove 2:384). First published earlier that same year by Clementi in London; this is the first German edition (title in French). "The English publisher, Clementi, moved faster than Breitkopf & Härtel, with the result that several of Beethoven's major works, including… the string quartet Op. 74, appeared in London before their publication anywhere else" (Tyson, The Authentic English Editions of Beethoven, 19). The Clementi edition was entered at Stationer Hall on September 1, 1810; this edition was published two months later in November. Kinsky-Halm, 198. Hirsch IV:320. Hoboken II:333. With publisher's blindstamps.
An exceptionally clean and fine copy.