• Karen Tanaka
  • At the grave of Beethoven (1999)

  • Chester Music Ltd (World)

Commissioned by the Arts Council of England

  • String Quartet
  • 9 min
    • 11th July 2022, Pitville Pump Room, Cheltenham, United Kingdom
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Programme Note

'At the grave of Beethoven' was commissioned by the Brodsky Quartet, on the occasion of the bicentenary anniversary of Beethoven's opus 18. The title suggests admiration and a tribute towards Beethoven, and this work is based on Beethoven's string quartet opus 18 no.3.

Opus 18 no.3 is probably the most gentle and lyrical work in the set. I feel the pure spirit and ardent hope of young Beethoven in it. The first movement of 'At the grave of Beethoven' was inspired by the first four bars of opus 18 no.3. These four bars were developed and interpreted in a contemporary manner, reflecting the tension and anxiety of our life today. The second movement is made by chains of modulations. When I was writing this movement in the spring of 1999, the news from Kosovo was reported on TV every day. I was shocked and horrified by this civil war, and it influenced my writing unconsciously. Along with each modulation, I had images that lotus flowers grow and bloom, in the hope of serenity and peace.

© Karen Tanaka


At The Grave of Beethoven: First Movement - Reflecting on Beethoven Opus 18 No. 3
At The Grave of Beethoven: Second Movement - Reflecting on Beethoven Opus 18 No. 3