THE ALFRED BARKER STRING QUARTET :
ALFRED BARKER (1st Violin), LEON OGDEN (2nd Violin), RUSSELL BROWN (Viola), CARL FUCHS ('Cello)
This is one of the first Quartets Beethoven wrote (not actually the first; though called 'No. 1,' it is really his second).
These early Quartets (written when he was about thirty) are mostly happy and clear, and easy to follow. They remind us pretty frequently of Mozart, whom Beethoven almost idolized, but he never merely copied his great forerunner's style. There is always, even in his first pieces, a powerful, original individuality at work, moulding the old forms of music afresh, or filling them with new ideas and unexpected treatments.
The Quartet we are to hear is in four Movements.
The First is crisp and gay. Of the Second, Beethoven once remarked that it was inspired by the sad ending of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
The Third Movement is a brilliant interlude containing some charming bits of repartee for the four performers, and the Finale is a sportive Rondo, giving us a vivid impression of the composer's ardour and vital freshness of fancy.