Beethoven Made Easy

by Steve Staruch, Minnesota Public Radio
June 23, 2011

St. Paul, Minn. — For the past few weeks, we've been sampling the string quartets by Ludwig van Beethoven. Like the Missa Solemnis and the 9th Symphony, written in the last few years of Beethoven's life, the string quartets of his "late period" push the boundaries of formality and emotion.

When they were first performed, the music completely overwhelmed the audience and the musicians. But the Pacifica Quartet is famous for their ability to tackle complex quartets with style and passion, from their Grammy-award winning Elliott Carter disc to their most recent challenge, recording all of the string quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich (to be released in the coming year).

In this week's Regional Spotlight, it's the Pacifica Quartet's performance of the first of Beethoven's "late" quartets, from a Music in the Park Series concert recorded this past April.

Regional Spotlight airs Thursday at 3 p.m. on Classical MPR stations and web stream.

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