Hi, this is from my final chamber music exam. At the exam we played only the first movement of this quartet, although we've played it complete in concert. My chamber music partners, are string players from the school where I study. We have been playing together for about 10 months prior to this. One thing to note, is that the cellist and violinist are quite young. 17 and 16 respectively.
This quartet is the string version for Beethoven's wind quintet, written out by him. It has some things for the strings, but the piano part is extremely difficult, like most of Beethovens chamber music from the same period. He was a young virtuoso, and it shows. Octaves, thirds, leaps, very fast scales.... its like a piano concerto. And usually, the strings/winds, just want to play faster and faster, because they dont have anything. Check out the "Campanella" sections after the second theme, those leaps were a bitch. And for the scales, Im using very unorthodox fingerings and changed the rythm a bit, to be able to fit all those notes into a single measure. I like the piece very much though, its very good natured, full of little jokes.
Like most chamber music repertoire, the hardest part of all, was not being too loud, knowing when to accompany and when to stand out. When taking lessons with Pressler, he would yell at you for even looking too loud.
Beethoven - Op.16, Piano Quartet, I. Grave. Allegro ma non troppo