“SHEER TECHNICAL EXHILARATION”: BEETHOVEN’S “HARP” QUARTET, OPUS 74, FIRST EDITION
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, original separate parts in original paper wrappers, disbound; pp. 11, 7, 7, 7. Housed in custom chemise. $2500.
First edition, first issue of Beethoven’s “Harp” Quartet, 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). Kinsky-Halm, 198. Hirsch IV: 320. Hoboken II: 333. With publisher’s blindstamp throughout.
An exceptionally clean and fine copy.