Beethoven turned Western classical music on its head with his inventiveness, setting a blueprint for future composers to follow in finding ingenious ways to discard the rules of traditional composition. The very popular American composer, Caroline Shaw, quite literally created a blueprint of Beethoven’s joyous and playful Opus 18 No. 6 quartet; her composition of the same name proves that the master is still at work inspiring composers today.

In Beethoven’s Opus 135, his last quartet is characterised by the crazily whacky Scherzo movement with rhythmic tricks galore, not to mention first violin acrobatics in the Trio, followed by the devastatingly touching slow movement in the unexpected, warm key of D flat major. This last quartet is certainly quite different from the ‘late’ quartets that preceded it; it’s often said that it marked the beginning of a new period for Beethoven, but you’ll never know for sure.

Elizabeth Sellers, violin / Wilma Smith, violin / Helen Ireland, viola / Zoe Knighton, cello


Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet No.6, Op.18, No.6

Caroline Shaw “Blueprint”

Ludwig van Beethoven String Quartet No.16 in F major, Op.135

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