Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Beethoven's String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2

Whilst whistling the day away, supping tea and devouring crumpets, one might have the inclination to analyze the sonata form of none other than L. V. Beethoven’s String Quartet in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2, Allegro Movement. In theory, tea and sonatas are a glorious match, but in personal experience, coffee tends to be a better suit. Without any further ado — the analysis.
This particular string delight is a bit indefinite in the divisions between sections aside from the Exposition (arguably mm. 2 - 70), the Development (mm. 72 – 143), and the Recapitulation (mm 144-211). A large coda closes the piece out, starting in mm. 212 and going through to the finish.
The Exposition seems to only have one tonal center rooted in the key of E minor, however there are blatant texture changes/themes found in mm. 24, mm. 34, and mm. 58. Beethoven also has the tonality flit from minor to major, and back again.
The Development elucidates upon the previously seen material from the very beginning of the Exposition, as well as the section around mm. 58. A transition can be found from mm. 133-143, bringing the listener right to the Recapitulation.
The Recapitulation does exactly what it should in that it ties everything together in a way to close the piece. Snippets from the themes in the Exposition are found (namely the beginning motif, and subsidiaries), along side material from the development that essentially is taken from the Exposition.
The start of the coda takes the listener back to the opening bars of the piece, and finally draws everything to a close as it wanes into nothing.
Overall, Beethoven’s piece does not follow the sonata form of the Classical-era to a "tea," in that the ambiguity of the sections did not lend itself to analysis. Until we meet again, just remember that coffee and sonatas are highly recommended for all who seek thrill and excitement. Adieu.

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