Listening to Beethoven #73 – Fugue for string quartet in D minor (fragment)

Commemorative medal for Ludwig van Beethoven – silver medal, probably based on a design by Fritz Schwerdt © Beethoven-Haus Bonn

Fugue in D minor, Hess 245 for string quartet (1794-5, Beethoven aged 24)

Dedication not known
Duration 0’45”

Listen

Background and Critical Reception

A ‘fragmentary fugue’ is not necessarily a phrase to get the musical pulse racing, but since we are trying to cover everything Beethoven wrote, even the snippets are worth a listen.

This short excerpt also hails from Beethoven’s lessons with Albrechtsberger.

Thoughts

We return to the key of D minor, a popular selection for output from these lessons – but when the excerpt starts it feels like we have walked into a performance half way through.

Even at the end, in spite of the busy part writing, there is no resolution – so this is very much a scrap from the cutting room floor rather than something you would expect to see included in a concert.

Recordings used

Fine Arts Quartet (Naxos)

A very well played version – though it is far from complete, so difficult to judge.

Spotify links

Fine Arts Quartet

You can chart the Arcana Beethoven playlist as it grows, with one recommended version of each piece we listen to. Catch up here!

Also written in 1795 Hyacinth Jadin 3 Piano Sonatas Op.4

Next up Prelude and Fugue in C major Hess 31

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