Make Music Part of Your Life: Beethoven / Eschenbach, 1970: Piano Quartet in E flat Major, WoO 36, No. 1 – Amadeus Quartet

Make Music Part of Your Life:  Beethoven / Eschenbach, 1970: Piano Quartet in E flat Major, WoO 36, No. 1 – Amadeus Quartet

From David Hertzberg: “In this 1970 recording, Christoph Eschenbach and members of the Amadeus Quartet — Norbert Brainin, violin; Peter Schidlof, viola; and Martin Lovett, cello — perform the Beethoven Piano quartet in E flat major, WoO 36, No. 1. I recorded this video from a cassette I purchased back in the early 1970s, issued on the Deutsche Grammophon label (serial number 3335 174-10). 

Allegro con spirito (6:53)

(Last year I uploaded this recording in three separate segments.)

More Beethoven:

Beethoven / Gilels / Szell, 1968: Piano Concerto in G major, Op. 58 – Complete –…

Leonid Hambro, 1970: “Happy Birthday Dear Ludwig” – Variations in The Style of Beethoven –…

Fur Elise – Wilhelm Kempff:…

Fur Elise – Alicia de Larrocha:…

Beethoven / Artur Balsam, 1952: Piano (Violin) Concerto in D major, Op. 61a – Movement 1 –…

David Oistrakh: Romance No. 2 in F major for Violin and Orchestra, Op. 50:…

Wilhelm Backhaus: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 – London, 1950s, Karl Böhm:…

Emil Gilels, 1968: Piano Concerto in C minor, Op. 37 (Rondo) Beethoven –…

Emil Gilels, 1968: Piano Concerto in C major, Op. 15 (Rondo) Beethoven –…

Emil Gilels, 1983, Beethoven Klaviersonate Nr. 4 Es-dur, Op. 7 –…

Stephen Kovacevich, 1975: Piano Concerto in C minor, Op. 37, Movement 3 –…

Beethoven / Istomin-Stern-Rose Trio: Piano Trio in B flat major, Op. 97 – Archduke (Allegro), 1966:…

Solomon, 1958: Piano Concerto No. 3 in C minor, Op. 37 – Rondo –…

Friedrich Gulda, 1954: Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op. 2, No. 1 (1) –…

Christoph Eschenbach, 1970: Piano Quartet in C Major, WoO 36, No. 3 –…

Artur Balsam: Piano (Violin) Concerto in D major, Op. 61 – Rondo, 1950s –…

Stephen Kovacevich: Piano Sonata in C minor, Op. 13, Movement 1 –…

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In European classical music, piano quartet denotes a chamber music composition for piano and three other instruments, or a musical ensemble comprising such instruments. Those other instruments are usually a string trio consisting of a violinviola and cello.

Piano quartets for that standard lineup were written by Wolfgang Amadeus MozartRobert SchumannLudwig van BeethovenJohannes BrahmsAntonín Dvořák andGabriel Fauré among others. In the 20th century, composers have also written for more varied groups, with Anton Webern‘s Quartet, opus 22 (1930), for example, being for piano, violin, clarinet and tenor saxophone, and Paul Hindemith‘s quartet (1938) as well as Olivier Messiaen‘s Quatuor pour la fin du temps (1940) both for piano, violin, cello and clarinet. An early example of this can be found in Franz Berwald‘s quartet for piano, horn, clarinet and bassoon (1819), his opus 1.[1]

A rare form of piano quartets consist of two pianos with two players at each piano. This type of ensemble is informally referred to as “8 hand piano”, or “2 piano 8 hands”. 8 hand piano was popular in the late 19th century before the advent of recordings as it was a mechanism to reproduce and study symphonic works. Music lovers could hear the major symphonic works all in the convenience of a parlour or music hall that had two pianos and four pianists. Many of the popular works of Wolfgang Amadeus MozartRobert SchumannJohannes BrahmsAntonín Dvořák were transcribed for two piano eight hands. The majority of 8 hand piano music consist of transcriptions, or arrangements.


Ludwig van Beethoven (Listeni/ˈlʊdvɪɡ væn ˈb.tvən/German: [ˈluːtvɪç fan ˈbeːt.hoːfən] ( listen); baptised 17 December 1770[1] – 26 March 1827) was a German composer and pianist. A crucial figure in the transition between the Classical and Romantic eras in Western art music, he remains one of the most famous and influential of all composers. His best known compositions include 9 symphonies, 5 concertos for piano, 32 piano sonatas, and 16 string quartets. He also composed other chamber music, choral works (including the celebrated Missa Solemnis), and songs.

Born in Bonn, then the capital of the Electorate of Cologne and part of the Holy Roman Empire, Beethoven displayed his musical talents at an early age and was taught by his father Johann van Beethoven and Christian Gottlob Neefe. During his first 22 years in Bonn, Beethoven intended to study with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and befriended Joseph Haydn. Beethoven moved to Vienna in 1792 and began studying with Haydn, quickly gaining a reputation as a virtuoso pianist. He lived in Vienna until his death. In about 1800 his hearing began to deteriorate, and by the last decade of his life he was almost totally deaf. 

The three piano quartets of WoO 36, written when the composer was 15, are among the most substantial of Beethoven‘s earliest compositions. They are so early, in fact, that the autograph score calls for “clavecin” instead of piano. The same manuscript gives “basso” instead of cello, with the pieces ordered C major, E flat major, and D major. The pieces were not printed until 1828 in Vienna, in the order E flat, D, and C. Material from the C major Trio was subsequently used in the Piano Sonatas, Op. 2, Nos. 1 and 3. These are the only works Beethoven composed for this ensemble, which he abandoned for the piano trio after moving to Vienna.

When he was a boy, Beethoven was musically influenced primarily by Christian Gottlob Neefe(1748-98), a composer and one of Beethoven‘s first music teachers, Abbé Franz Sterkel(1750-1817), one of the foremost pianists in Europe, and Mozart. Of these influences, Neefe’s was the most immediate and Mozart‘s the most profound. Each of the three quartets of WoO 36 draws on a specific violin sonata by Mozart, from the set published in 1781. The first ofBeethoven‘s quartets is modeled on Mozart‘s K. 379/373a, the second on K. 380/374f, and the third on K. 296. All three quartets of WoO 36 are in three movements.

The E flat major quartet is unusual in that its slow introductory movement jumps without pause into an Allegro con spirito in E flat minor. The E flat minor movement, in sonata form, features a tiny development, but contains some adventurous passages in the recapitulation. The final movement is a set of six variations in an ornamental style on a high-Classical-era theme with two eight-measure segments. Each of the segments is repeated, the first moving to the dominant and the second returning to the tonic. Beethoven follows this pattern in all of the variations, the fifth of which is in E flat minor. After the variations have run their course, the theme returns, only slightly rearranged, followed by a coda reminiscent of the first variation. Throughout the work, the piano dominates the proceedings.

Beethoven cast the D major quartet in a more traditional format, with a central slow movement enclosed by two fast ones. The opening Allegro is in sonata form and modulates to the dominant. Boasting a much larger development section than that of the E flat quartet, the movement touches on D minor before the recapitulation. The second movement, in F sharp minor, is in two parts and marked Andante con moto. The piano opens the concluding Rondo, a movement of youthful energy dominated by the keyboard part.

The quartet in C major is also in three movements, the second of which is in a relaxed F major. After a very brief development section, Beethoven begins the recapitulation on the subdominant, a procedure Schubert would use in several of his works. The second movement features some of the most compelling melodic passages of Beethoven‘s youth, although his tendency to double most of these robs them of some of their delicacy. Nearly all of the thematic material in the closing Rondo is concentrated in the piano part.

Despite the degree to which some aspects of the Piano Quartets, WoO 36, look forward to the mature Beethoven, they have little independent life as concert pieces that command interest for more than curiosity value

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9 responses to “Make Music Part of Your Life: Beethoven / Eschenbach, 1970: Piano Quartet in E flat Major, WoO 36, No. 1 – Amadeus Quartet

  1. Pingback: Ludwig van Beethoven – 12 Variations on “See the Conqu’ring Hero comes” WoO 45: make music part of your life | euzicasa

  2. Pingback: Mozart Quartet No 16 K 428 Hagen Quartet: great compositions/performances | euzicasa

  3. Pingback: fabulous musical moments: Beethoven / Eschenbach, 1970: Piano Quartet in C Major, WoO 36, No. 3 – Amadeus Quartet | euzicasa

  4. Pingback: historic musical moments: Beethoven – String Quartet No.6 in B flat major, Op.18 – Végh Quartet – 1952 | euzicasa

  5. Pingback: GREAT COMPOSITIONS/PERFORMANCES: Beethoven – String Quartet No.6 in B flat major, Op.18 – Végh Quartet – 1952 | euzicasa

  6. Pingback: GREAT COMPOSITIONS/PERFORMANCES: Beethoven – String Quartet No.2 in G major, Op.18 – Végh Quartet – 1952 | euzicasa

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  9. Pingback: Make Music Part of Your Life: Arrau Schumann Piano Concerto in A minor, Op. 54 | euzicasa

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