The Agony and the Ecstasy - and such honesty too from the Elias String Quartet!

“Up until recently, I’d always found op.130 (and its last movement op.133) the hardest Beethoven quartet to understand. It’s the first, 3rd, 4th and last movements (the Grosse Fugue) that were particularly enigmatic to me. I didn’t understand the connections between movements, the tonality relationships, what the characters are, and the meaning of this 15 minute relentless fugue that ends it. The fugue seemed an intellectual tour de force to me, but without the incredible depth of emotion there is in all of Beethoven’s other music. However I was convinced that this must be from my own lack of understanding rather than Beethoven’s fault! We’ve just had a week of rehearsals to really get to grips with it, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to immerse myself in the op.130 world and find my way into it….”

Such honesty comes from Elias String Quartet cellist, Sara Bitlloch, doing exactly what The Beethoven Project website and blog was set up to do – share thoughts, ideas, doubts - and, ultimately, breakthroughs - with the world at large. With support from the Borletti-Buitoni Trust, this dedicated website was launched earlier this year to track the Quartet’s discovery of all Beethoven’s string quartets as they rehearse and perform them in preparation for the complete cycle performances throughout the UK beginning in Autumn 2012. As well as their own thoughts and experiences, there is a growing portfolio of audio, film and comment from Peter Cropper (Lindsay Quartet), David Waterman (Endellion String Quartet), Hugh Maguire and Svend Brown (East Neuk Festival director).

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