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Beethoven's "Mozart" Quartet

Author(s): Jeremy Yudkin


Source: Journal of the American Musicological Society, Vol. 45, No. 1 (Spring, 1992), pp.
30-74
Published by: University of California Press on behalf of the American Musicological
Society
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Beethoven's "Mozart" Quartet

BY JEREMY YUDKIN

IN HIS BOOK ON INFLUENCE AND ORIGINALITY IN POETRY, Harold Bloom


invokes a series of six stages of imitation, from clinamen, the
deliberate misreading ("misprision") of the original, to apophrades, in
which the style of the original is so completely sublimated that "the
tyranny of time almost is overturned, and one can believe, for startled
moments, that they [the latecomers, the "ephebes"] are being imitated
by their ancestors."' This essay examines a particular instance of
Beethoven imitating Mozart-and behind Mozart, Haydn. About
I8oo, Beethoven took a late Mozart string quartet, K. 464, one of the
"Haydn" quartets, as the model for a quartet of his own, deliberately
"misreading" it. The result was his op. 18, no. 5, in A major. Late in
life, Beethoven undertook a new series of string quartets. In the
second of these, op. 132, Beethoven again turned to K. 464 for
inspiration. This imitation clearly exhibits the quality of Bloom's final
stage, that of complete sublimation of the model.
Much has been written on the "anxiety of influence" suffered by
composers throughout the nineteenth century, living as they did in
the shadow cast by Beethoven. Carl Dahlhaus has shown perceptively
how nineteenth-century composers, listeners, and aestheticians de-
rived their view of Beethoven from a myth of their own making: "A
history of the Beethoven myth would be tantamount to an intellectual
history of the nineteenth century."' They saw Beethoven as the great
original; and no composer was able to escape his shadow: in that

' The Anxiety oflnfluence: A Theory of Poetry (New York: Oxford University Press,
1973), 141 (italics original). I would like here to express my thanks to several
colleagues, whose help has materially affected the final form of this essay: Lewis
Lockwood, who read an entire draft and made many cogent suggestions; John
Daverio, who drew my attention to Schoenberg's comments on the minuet of K. 464;
and Evan Bonds, who is working on a book on the confrontation of nineteenth-
century symphonists with Beethoven and who was enormously persuasive regarding
the methodology of my own work.
2 Nineteenth-Century Music, trans. J. Bradford Robinson, California Studies in
19th-Century Music, vol. 5 (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California
Press, 1989; original edition, Wiesbaden: Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, 1980),
33.

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 3I
shadow, the string quartet etiolated, concerto and symphony evolved
into hybrid forms or were grafted onto alien stock.
And yet Beethoven himself had shadows to deal with. Publicly
and privately compared to the prodigy Mozart as a boy, Beethoven
grew up with Mozart's music in his ears, and his example (both
literally and metaphorically) before him. Mozart died when
Beethoven was not quite twenty-one years old, the very model of late-
eighteenth-century genius now canonized by immortality. The fol-
lowing year Beethoven was sent to Vienna to study with Haydn,
acknowledged now as the greatest composer in Europe. Beethoven
was to receive "Mozart's spirit from Haydn's hands."3 Formal lessons
lasted from 1792 to 1793, and the association between the older man
and the young rebel, complex and fraught with tensions though it
was, continued informally for some time after Haydn's return from
London in i795.
Starting a career as a composer in the shadow of Mozart and as the
prot6g6 of Haydn: this, if anything, is a prescription for anxiety.
Beethoven was well aware of the comparison he sought: in early years
he insisted upon it ("I firmly maintain that only Mozart would arrange
for other instruments the works he composed for the pianoforte; and
Haydn could do this too. Without wishing to force my company on
these two great men, I make the same statement about my own
pianoforte sonatas also . . .");4 later he adopted an attitude more
self-deprecating ("Do not rob Handel, Haydn, and Mozart of their
laurel wreaths. They are entitled to theirs, but I am not yet entitled
to one.")5
Dahlhaus points up clearly the paradox of nineteenth-century
attempts to come to terms with Beethoven's achievement.6 You
imitate the master in order to become original, but in so doing you
sacrifice the quality for which you worship him: originality. It is
precisely indicative of the radical aesthetic dichotomy between the
eighteenth and nineteenth centuries that Beethoven was not troubled
by this paradox. Many of his early works from the years in Bonn (the
Rondino, WoO 25; the Piano Quartets, WoO 36; the Trio for Piano,

3 Alexander W. Thayer, Thayer's Life of Beethoven, rev. ed. by Elliot Forbes,


(Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1967), vol. i, 115. Maynard Solomon,
Beethoven (New York: Schirmer, 1977), 58.
4 Emily Anderson, The Letters of Beethoven, Collected, Translated and Edited with an
Introduction, Appendixes, Notes and Indexes (New York, 1961; reprint, New York: W.
W. Norton, 1985), vol. I, 75, letter no. 59 (1802).
s Anderson, The Letters of Beethoven, vol. i, 380, letter no. 376 (1812).
6 Nineteenth-Century Music, 27 and 324.

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32 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Flute, and Bassoon, WoO 37; the Octet, op. I03) as well as some of
the early works from Vienna (the Trio for Violin, Viola, and Cello,
op. 3; the Sextet for Two Clarinets, Two Horns, and Two Bassoons,
op. 7') are imitations of Mozart. For he learned, with Quintilian, that

It is from these and other authors worthy of our study that we should
draw our vocabulary, the variety of our figures, and our method of
composition, while we turn our minds to the models of excellence. For
there can be no doubt that a great portion of art lies in imitation.7

This lesson was absorbed by writers, painters, architects, sculp-


tors, and musicians of the eighteenth century and for centuries
beforehand. Indeed it was known well before Quintilian: by the
Alexandrians, who modeled their works on those from the Golden
Age of the Greek city-states; by the Romans, who cast their orations,
their histories, their epics, their love poems, in the mold of an earlier
era. Imitation was standard practice in the Middle Ages, when all
intellectual activity was ruled by the concept of auctoritas, and in the
Renaissance, when "parody" and "paraphrase" were but different
forms of imitation.8 Baroque music ("baroque" = odd, eccentric) is by
definition new and bizarre, but Bach was a close imitator of Vivaldi,
and Vivaldi of Corelli.

Imitation contains a complex interplay of impulses: among these,


in varying degrees, are the desire to learn, rivalry, and homage.9 A

7 "Ex his ceterisque lectione dignis auctoribus et verborum sumenda copia est et
varietas figurarum et componendi ratio, turn ad exemplum virtutum omnium mens
dirigenda. Neque enim dubitari potest, quin artis pars magna contineatur imita-
tione." Institutio Oratoria of Quintilian, vol. 4 (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University
Press, 1958), 74.
8 Lewis Lockwood has suggested that we replace these words with the more
accurate (and less anachronistic) term "imitation" technique. See his "On 'Parody' a
Term and Concept in I6th-Century Music," in Aspects of Medieval and Renaissance
Music: A Birthday Offering to Gustave Reese, ed. Jan LaRue et al. (New York, 1966;
reprint, New York: Pendragon, 1978), 567-75. See also Howard Mayer Brown,
"Emulation, Competition, and Homage: Imitation and Theories of Imitation in the
Renaissance," this JOURNAL 35 (I982): 1-48.
9 Charles Rosen proposes a simpler, descriptive model, in which imitation ranges
from plagiarism to complete transformation; see "Influence: Plagiarism and Inspira-
tion," i9th Century Music 4 (I980): 87-100. A remarkably systematic instance of
transformation ("paraphrase") and the use of models is described in J. Peter
Burkholder, "'Quotation' and Paraphrase in Ives's Second Symphony," i9th Century
Music ii (1987): 3-25. In an earlier essay Burkholder demonstrated the permanent
nature of musical allegiance and the enduring model of Brahms for composers of the
last one hundred years; see idem, "Brahms and Twentieth-Century Classical Music,"
i9th Century Music 8 (1984): 75-83. Dahlhaus liked simply to distinguish imitatio from
aemulatio (Nineteenth-Century Music, 27 and 324).

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 33

full analysis of the interplay of imitations between Moz


themselves has yet to be undertaken. For example: M
Haydn in his set of "Haydn" quartets. This is well kn
it merits deeper exploration,'0 for there are elements b
op. 33 and of his op. 20 present in the set, at least. Moza
D minor is one of the "Haydn" quartets, from 1785.
death, however, Haydn himself patently imitated K
Minor Quartet, op. 76, no. 2. Here there is a doub
influence: from master to pupil to master. The "latec
"ancestor"; "ancestor" has become the new "latecomer
In this essay I pay particular attention to a late
Beethoven imitating Mozart, with the aim of raising
about the concepts of originality, influence, and con
obtained at a critical moment of divide between the era of rationalism
and the century of anxious originality. I also consider the precise
nature of Beethoven's imitation and its implications for his life and
work. I suggest that an examination of Beethoven's "anxiety" at
different stages of his career may lead us to a closer understanding of
his creative development.
In order to examine the relationship between two works and focus
on significant elements of similarity and difference, however, it is first
necessary to establish some points of understanding. Convention
ruled everything in Classic music, from large-scale form and harmonic
motion to close-range period structure to the tiniest rhythmic or
melodic gesture." In this context of a prevailing lingua franca of
music, it is not easy to distinguish those elements that suggest
significant points of similarity between two works from those that
belong to the prevailing language of the time and thus might be found
in a large number of works of the same genre (especially if they are
written in the same key). Certainly it is not enough to look for
thematic similarities as proof of relationship, nor is the lack of shared
themes indicative of independent genesis. In the eighteenth and
nineteenth centuries composers often borrowed tunes, but the bor-
rowing was usually overtly announced ("Variations on 'Ein Ma*dchen
oder Weibchen' from Die Zauberfl6te," "Rhapsody on a Theme of
Paganini"), or the melody was so pointedly introduced (Brahms's First

,o One aspect of this relationship has been well analyzed in Wolfram Steinbeck,
"Mozarts 'Scherzi': Zur Beziehung zwischen Haydns Streichquartetten Op. 33 und
Mozarts Haydn-Quartetten," Archiv fiir Musikwissenschaft 41 (1984): 208-31.
" The great strength of Leonard G. Ratner's book, Classic Music: Expression, Form,
and Style (New York: Schirmer, 1980) is its clear exposition of the role of convention
in the Classic style.

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34 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Symphony, Mahler's Third) that the debt was unmistakable. In this


period what a composer looked for in another's work was usually not
material itself, but ways of approaching material, rhetorical strategies,
ideas of span, control, expression, and coherence.' These borrowings
cannot be indisputably proven. In the end the determining factors
must be a broad knowledge of the repertory, which provides "statis-
tical" referents, and sensitivity to the style."3 I cannot pretend to be
the final arbiter in these matters, but I shall present the evidence as
clearly as I can, so that the reader may take on that role.
It was over a hundred years ago that Theodor Helm first pointed
out that Beethoven had turned to Mozart's String Quartet K. 464 for
inspiration while he was at work on his own String Quartet op. 18,
no. 5.14 Since that time other commentators have simply repeated the
assertion or drawn attention to some of the more obvious links
between Beethoven's quartet and Mozart's. The best-known study of
the Beethoven quartets, that by Joseph Kerman, finds links between
the Mozart and Beethoven works primarily in their slow move-
ments. '5

Beethoven clearly knew K. 464 intimately. He copied out the


Andante of Mozart's quartet into score and is believed also to have
copied out the finale. The manuscript of the Andante is at the

" Much of this essay is spent explaining this statement. A simple instance is
provided by comparing the opening phrases of Mozart's Piano Concerto in B-flat, K.
595 (his last) and Beethoven's "Second" Piano Concerto in B-flat, op. 19 (his first).
Mozart's concerto was completed in i791; Beethoven's was begun before i793,
though not published until 8o0i. It is scored for exactly the same orchestra as
Mozart's. Mozart's concerto begins with a dramatic opposition: a lyrical phrase in the
strings, piano, answered by a short descending arpeggio, forte and in dotted rhythm,
in the woodwinds. Beethoven borrows the idea, not the tunes (though a case may be
made here for some thematic resemblance). His concerto opens with loud, dotted-
rhythm arpeggios in the whole orchestra, answered by a short lyrical phrase, piano,
in the strings alone. The contrast is the same, though Beethoven has reversed the
elements. There are many other such instances to be found in this pair of works.
'3 In his many writings Leonard Meyer has perceptively analyzed the issue of
historical style and the "culturally experienced listener." See, for example, his Music,
the Arts, and Ideas: Patterns and Predictions in Twentieth-Century Culture (Chicago:
University of Chicago Press, 1967) and Style and Music: Theory, History, Ideology
(Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989).
'4 Beethovens Streichquartette: Versuch einer technischen Analyse, 3rd ed. (Leipzig:
Siegel, 1921).
'5 Joseph Kerman, The Beethoven Quartets (New York: Knopf, 1966). Kerman
traces connections between the two slow movements with some care. In the
Beethoven finale he determines that one theme has been "lifted" from Mozart, but he
characterizes only vaguely the other debts he finds in that movement (the movement
as a whole, the last measures, the retransition, the bridge in the recapitulation). The
elusive epithet he relies on in all these cases is "Mozartean."

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 35

Stiftelsen Musikkulturens framjande in Stockholm; t


tion of the finale in Beethoven's hand is unknown, and
in some doubt. A note to Mozart's K. 464 in the s
K6chel reads: "Das Rondo dieses Quartetts hat Beeth
Partitur geschrieben. Die Handschrift davon bes
Wien."'6 Nevertheless in an examination and reconstr
Artaria collection, Douglas Johnson did not locate a c
movement. He believes that K6chel's reference to a Beet
the "rondo" is a mistaken identification of the Andante.'7 This
appears unlikely: K6chel might easily refer generically to a last
movement as a rondo, but not to an andante filled with a numbered
series of variations. Johnson admits that "it is, of course, possible that
Beethoven copied both the andante and the rondo."'" The most recent
inventory of Beethoven sketchbooks, under the heading "Copies by
Beethoven of music by other composers," does not list either one of
the movements.'9 The mystery deepens when one notices that the
first edition (1862) of K6chel's catalogue actually used the present
tense: "Das Autograph davon besitzt Artaria in Wien."2'
In I8oo Beethoven was at a crucial turning point in his career: he
was thirty, he was approaching the end of his first decade in Vienna,
and he had decided to confront the masters of the high Classic style on
their own ground. There were two of them to confront: Haydn and
Mozart. Haydn had written fourteen quartets in the years 1793-1799,
and his last set of six quartets, his op. 76, was published in 1799.
Haydn was in his late sixties and living in Vienna. He was by no
means written out: the two quartets of op. 77 appeared in 1802, and
the unfinished op. 1o3 was published in i8o6. Beethoven had begun
work on his own set of six quartets in 1798 and had completed the first
three (nos. 3, i, and 2, in D, F, and G, in that order).2' At this point,

16 Ludwig Ritter von K6chel, Chronologisch-thematisches Verzeichnis samtlicher Ton-


werke Wolfgang Amadd Mozarts, 6th ed. (Wiesbaden: Breitkopf and Hartel, 1964), 502.
17 Johnson, "The Artaria Collection of Beethoven Manuscripts: A New Source,"
in Beethoven Studies i, ed. Alan Tyson (New York: W. W. Norton, 1973), 233-
'8 Johnson, "The Artaria Collection," 233, n. 88.
'9 Johnson, Alan Tyson, and Robert Winter, The Beethoven Sketchbooks: History,
Reconstruction, Inventory, California Studies in 19th-Century Music 4 (Berkeley and
Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1985), 598.
20 Ludwig Ritter von K6chel, Chronologisch-thematisches Verzeichnis samtlicher Ton-
werke Wolfgang Amadi Mozarts (Wiesbaden: Breitkopf and Hirtel, 1862). An article on
Mozart holdings in Swedish libraries presumably relies on the K6chel reference when
it mentions the "schon bekannte Beethovensche Partitur-niederschrift des Finales
." See Alfred Orel, "Mozartiana in Schweden," Acta Mozartiana 7 (1959): 4.
21 See Gustav Nottebohm, Zweite Beethoveniana: Nachgelassene Aufsiitze, ed. Euse-
bius Mandyczewski (Leipzig: Peters, 1887), 476-94; Sieghard Brandenburg, "The

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36 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

halfway through the set," it is said that Beethoven balked at the


challenge; his nerve, or his inspiration, failed him. That, at least, is
the received wisdom on the subject.23 For he turned to the other
master, Mozart, his teacher per exemplum, and used one of his pieces as
a model for his next quartet: no. 5 in A major.
I propose that Beethoven's imitation of Mozart at this point in his
career is the result not of a loss of nerve, but of a conscious decision
to undertake a careful reinterpretation, a "misprision," of a composi-
tion he admired. Further, I suggest that the imitation is far more
thorough-going than has hitherto been remarked and involves not
only the slow movement but the entire quartet. This in turn provides
the opportunity for a more detailed examination of the nature of
Beethoven's imitative process and its implications for his creative
development.

What kind of piece did Beethoven choose as his model? Mozart's


String Quartet in A Major, K. 464, is one of the most uncompromis-
ing of all of Mozart's chamber works. It is not the best known of the
group of six quartets that Mozart dedicated so touchingly to Haydn,
perhaps because it is so complex and inaccessible.
The quartet is somewhat unconventional even in its outward
design.24 The Minuet is placed second and is followed by a lengthy
slow movement in D major, cast as a series of variations on a theme.25

First Version of Beethoven's G Major Quartet, Op. 18, No. 2," Music and Letters 58
(1977): 127-52; and idem, "Beethovens Streichquartette Op. 18," in Beethoven und
Bohmen: Beitriige zu Biographie und Wirkungsgeschichte Beethovens, ed. Brandenburg and
Gutierrez-Denhoff (Bonn: Beethoven-Haus, 1988), 259-310.
22 I take 8oo as the year of "completion" for op. 18, no. 5, despite the fact that
Brandenburg suggests mid-I799. The year 18oo seems more secure for the finished
work for the following reasons: (i) The sketches that have survived from mid-i 799 are
very far from the finished (published) version. (2) We know that an entire sketchbook
is missing from mid-i799 to the spring of 18oo. (3) Beethoven took the opportunity
in 18oo substantially to revise op. 18, nos. I and 2. (4) It is not until the middle of
December I8oo that Beethoven mentions having his quartets ready and sold to the
publisher (they were not published until 80oi).
23 Kerman, The Beethoven Quartets, 59.
24 This is one of the ways in which Mozart imitates Haydn's op. 33. Four quartets
of that set (nos. I, 2, 3, and 4) contain rearrangements of the inner movements. Three
of Mozart's "Haydn" quartets have their minuets in second place.
2s5 None of Haydn's op. 33 contains a theme and variations, but the second
movement of his op. 20o, no. 4, is a theme and variations movement in D minor.
K. 464 is the only one of Mozart's "Haydn" quartets to contain a slow movement in
this form.

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 37

That Beethoven followed this framework is easy to dem


Table I gives the movement markings, keys, meters, and for
four movements of both works:'6

Table i
Comparison of Movement Markings, Keys, Meters, and Forms of the Four
Movements of Mozart's String Quartet in A Major, K. 464, and Beethoven's
String Quartet in A Major, Op. 18, No. 5

Mozart, K. 464 Beethoven, Op. 18, No. 5


Allegro, A, 3/4, Allegro, A, 6/8,
Sonata form Sonata form
Menuetto, A (Trio in E) Menuetto/Trio, A
Andante, D, 2/4, Andante cantabile, D, 2/4
Theme and 6 variations Theme and 5 variations
Allegro non troppo, A, 6, Allegro, A, C,
Sonata form Sonata form

Beethoven was at the midpoin


of the second half of the set (n
the balance and traditional a
Minor Quartet, no. 4, replaces
a move that foreshadows m
Beethoven's own oeuvre (op.
in that of composers up to B
26 This table follows the movemen
and the new Beethoven edition. In
markings, Beethoven labels his slow
Andante. It is intriguing to note th
British Library (Add. 37763) show
cantabile for his movement and th
available in Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Autograph Manuscripts in the Briti
Facsimiles 4 ([London]: The British
String Quartet K. 464 (New York: Th
the finale, Mozart's autograph show
troppo. Beethoven also calls for Al
to Mozart's autograph of K. 464? W
Constanze to Johann Anton Andre,
Tyson, introduction to Wolfgang Am
Facsimile, xi).
27 See Brandenburg, "The First Version," 133-41; and idem, "Beethovens
Streichquartette," 277-83.
28 This idea, pace the nineteenth century, was not new in Beethoven either.
Haydn has an allegretto as the second movement of his String Quartet op. 54, no. i,
followed by a minuet; and the third movement of his op. 64, no. i, has as its third
movement an allegretto scherzando, preceded by a minuet.

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38 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

in Bb major, has the remarkable adagio Malinconia, in essence a second


slow movement, as preface to and intruder into the finale.99
As he set out on this new tack, Beethoven chose as his model a
Mozart work that reorders its inner components, thus throwing new
light on the balance among all of them. It may be inferred that this is
one of the things about K. 464 that attracted Beethoven. Clearly there
were many others.
What cannot be shown in a table is the depth and detail of
Beethoven's imitation. The pages that follow compare parallel move-
ments in the two quartets, beginning each time with the Mozart
quartet in order to establish the salient features of the model and then
examining the equivalent movement of Beethoven's quartet in an
attempt to understand the nature and character of the imitation in
each case.

Mozart's first movement is a dark and complex affair. Its most


marked characteristics are contrapuntal density, rich texture, and
ambiguity of key and meter, these latter underlined by chromaticism,
frequent interchange of mode, and exploitation of the hemiolic
potential of the triple meter. Sparking across this multivalent web are
further catalysts of disruption: frequent halting rests and intense
dynamic contrasts.
The opening eight measures propound many of these elements at
the very outset of the work (see Example i, mm. 1-8). The frame is
symmetrical enough: a four-measure antecedent phrase moves from I
(A major) to V6; the consequent returns to I. But little else promotes
balance or stability. The dynamics and articulation are tentative; three
instruments disappear after the opening chords until measure 3; the
second pitch sounded by the first violin (D#) contradicts the key; two
notes later the contradiction is itself contradicted (DI). This harmonic
ambivalence is enhanced by the extreme ambiguity of the meter. As
composers have known since the Middle Ages, 3/4 lends itself more
readily to metrical manipulation than any other pattern. The most
obvious reinterpretations that can be imposed are 6/8 groupings
within the bar; groups of half-notes across two bars (hemiola); and
duple groupings (2/4), also across the measure lines. All of these
transformations of the meter are overtly adopted by Mozart within
this first movement. In the opening measures, however, the music is

29 Here, too, Beethoven was not quite the innovator he seems: Haydn prefaces
the last movement (presto) of his op. 54, no. 2, with an extended (fifty-five-measure)
adagio. The movement concludes with a modified reprise of the adagio. Mozart's G-
Minor String Quintet, K. 516, has a long adagio introduction to its last movement.

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 39

Example I
Mozart, String Quartet in A Major, K. 464, first movement, Allegro, mm. 1-45
and 84-87

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Neue Ausgabe saimtlicher Werke. Serie VII: Kammer-
musik; Werkgruppe 20: Streichquartette und Quartette mit einem Blasintrument;
Abteilung 1: Streichquartette; Bd. 2. Ed. Ludwig Finscher. Kassel: Birenreiter,
1962. Reprinted by permission of Baerenreiter Music Corporation.

Aflegro

Violin 1 .. . "rIJ o

Violin2 _ _ __f
d 0, - O
Viola

Violoncello __of__-_Ia

Ii ' 1

,r~~ ~ 11 -1

OP

,'' - -" I -I '


iL,
lJ I I i I 1 i rl

op., RAW . .f f LIM..._ ,.


Ems ofIl TI 1 "11- - -T
6.t"o

, 1f
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40 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Example i (continued)

Lk

--- 1 1 1 . :J

I
F
r
I
I I-e
cre - -I sen - Ido
do

cre .

T..
,, .'.

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 41

Example I (continued)

J - -I I I- _ A I ..

eih-esr pnigsaeetcn e

makngallwace fo te aavstc pllexrte b th lgiimae5Dn

eight-measure opening statement can be scanned in 2/4


making allowances for the atavistic pull exerted by the
designated)
" ?P rL" ' --I!_1 ' ! J ' ; ' ' / I ' meter, it cries out to be (see Example 2).
|1 , ,1 I a i i i i" i 4i 1 i i i,

Example 2

Mozart, String Quartet in A Major, K. 464, first movement, mm. 1-8, first violin
only, rebarred in 2/4

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42 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

The allowances made for the reading in triple meter would have to
take into account the harmonic rhythm, especially the relative
strength of the cadential chord at the beginning of the (original)
measure 4 and the slightly increased strength of the cadential down-
beat on the (original) measure 8, because of its return to the tonic and
because it is preceded by a dotted half note on the fifth degree in the
bass. Neither of these allowances completely undermines a reading in
2/4.30 They bring into balance what would otherwise be an unam-
biguously duple statement. The potent tension of this quartet lies
precisely in the balance among its strongly multivalent tendencies.
One further point. The ambiguity of the meter is helped at this
critical juncture of the piece, the beginning, by the solo texture of the
music. Most of the notes of the first violin's phrase(s) are played
without an accompaniment that would otherwise establish underlying
metrical patterns. This point will be taken up again later.
A further eight measures (see Example i, mm. 8-16) present
another pair of antecedent-consequent phrases (4 + 4). Here more
striking contrasts are introduced. Instead of piano answered by piano,
forte is answered by piano; and the four-bar forte phrase is itself
broken into two-bar segments. The texture changes radically to
unison (cello an octave below). The second segment reiterates the
D#-DI problem (whispering E minor); and Mozart introduces one
more rhythmic transformation: the forte segments contain two clear
6/8 measures (mm. 9 and II).3' Against this transformation the 2/4
duple pulse continues unchecked.
Of course, this new antecedent-consequent pair functions as a
consequent to the previous pair. And all four of these phrases are
linked, for they all, in different ways, relay the pickup/dotted-quarter-
note/eighth-notes motive.
The last of the phrases (mm. I 2-16) not only grounds the harmony
(V/IV-IV-I\-V-I) but also removes the chromatic burrs, refashions
the indirection of the previous melodic lines into a smooth and
continuous descent, and summarizes the metrical potentialities ex-
plored thus far. Measure 13 is a 6/8 bar for the first violin. A tie makes
explicit the 2/4 meter in the second violin. The viola and cello revert

30 These observations have some bearing on performance. If, instead of assuming


two "missing" beats from the opening pickup measure, the players feel only one, they
will find that the patterns of duple measures emerge more naturally. What is
remarkable is how far into the music this duple feeling continues.
3' This grouping has already been suggested (we hear this retrospectively) by
mm. I and 5.

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 43

to 3/4 in time to resolve the conflict in favor of the ort


the cadence at measure 16.
All this phrase-by-phrase analysis misses the most significant
feature of the joins between phrases: there are none. The phrases ar
separated by rests, and the third phrase is divided into its two shor
segments by a rest. Articulation augments the abruptness: in the first
two phrases the cadential measures are marked staccato (mm. 3-4 and
7-8). The effect of resolution conveyed by the fourth and concluding
phrase (mm. I2-16) is enhanced by the relative continuity of it
accompaniment and by the legato bowing.
What Mozart does now, after these first sixteen measures, is to launch
into a highly imitative passage (see Example i, mm. 17-24) marked forte,
featuring each of the instruments in turn, commenting on the opening
phrase. This passage opens in the tonic minor and sounds more like the
middle of a development section than the early stages of an exposition.
Indeed it is highly unorthodox in other ways. The entries (second
violin, viola, cello, first violin) are on E, F, F, and G. The first and last
statements retain the chromatic ambiguity of their second pitch, the
last (first violin: G-F# . . . G-F?) so that the music can move,
surprisingly, to C major. This key (=4III) arrives with yet another
dynamic contrast (piano) and is granted twelve measures (mm. 25-36
of such metrical and textural stability and with a theme of sufficient
profile that we are in doubt as to whether the legitimate second key
has been reached. In fact, the phrase builds with a crescendo to V of
V, and the true second key area, marked by yet another transforma-
tion of meter (triplet groupings within the measure, = 9/8), arrives in
the most unobtrusive way possible: piano, and with a light confirming
cadence in the middle of a phrase (mm. 43-44).
The second key area itself is marked to a high degree by the same
characteristics of ambiguity and complexity. These are achieved
partly by contrapuntal density (the triplet figure pervading the
texture) and frequent dynamic changes; but new techniques are also
brought to bear: deceptive cadences, new voice pairings, unexpected
phrase extensions, and the last of the three metrical games, hemiola
This appears in syncopation between the second violin and viola in
measures 54-57 (not given), but it also forms a cadential figure to end
the entire exposition (see Example i, mm. 85-87). One cannot help
noticing that these last two measures before the final chord of the
exposition contain an even more complete r6sum6 of the possibilities
inherent in the meter than that presented in measures I2-16. The
cello is in 3/4; the viola has a 6/8 measure (m. 86); the second violin is
in duple time; and the first violin displays the clinching hemiola.

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44 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

A summary of the principal features of the first movement of K. 464


would be as follows. The movement is intellectually dense and marked
by contrapuntal and rhythmic complexity. It is highly unified. Material
from the opening of the movement returns to end the exposition. Both
the first and the second key areas are characterized by similar disruptive
tendencies, the most pervasive being that of metric ambiguity. Key
definition is frequently undermined. The most dramatic and unortho-
dox harmonic move is a lengthy detour to the "flat" side before the
(weak) arrival of the second key. This detour involves the tonic minor
and C major (bIII of the tonic). The movement is made up of a total of
270 measures, with the exposition lasting 87 measures.
While the remarkable richness of this movement requires a far more
detailed analysis than has been sketched here, these brief comments
provide a minimum of material necessary for a comparison of this
movement with the equivalent movement in Beethoven's op. I8, no. 5.
The first movement of Beethoven's quartet is a very different kind
of piece. It is lighter in affect, more galant,32 thinner and clearer in
texture. And yet it is shot through with ideas and strategies garnered
from the Mozart work. I have suggested above that imitation involves
a complex of psychological and professional motives, including,
among other things, the desire to learn, rivalry, and homage.
Beethoven was eager to learn from Mozart, but it is absurd to
suggest that he learned simply by borrowing melodies or that when no
melodic borrowings can be traced he was not learning.33 For
Beethoven learned a great deal from K. 464: ideas of strategy and
procedure, techniques of textural and dynamic contrast, and possibil-
ities of rhythmic ambiguity. These were put to use in the deliberate
pursuit of an aim quite different from Mozart's.
The rhythmic play in the first movement of op. i8, no. 5 is evident
from the outset. Mozart's meter is 3/4, with all its potential for
reinterpretation. Beethoven adopts the duple obverse of 3/4: 6/8
meter, also a meter with latent ambivalence. This seems to be a
deliberate move, in line with, and yet different from, Mozart's

32 For a useful survey of the meanings inherent in this term, see David A.
Sheldon, "The Concept galant in the 18th Century," The Journal of Musicological
Research 9 (1989): 89-io8.
33 In looking only for thematic connections between the first movements, Kerman
misses everything else. Of Beethoven's Allegro he writes: "Grace and ease the
movement does possess; in places it betrays a strongly Mozartean flavor. The
principal theme itself, save for tiny details, could have been written by Mozart .. ."
(Kerman, The Beethoven Quartets, 57). Kerman searches through the K6chel catalogue
to find a parallel theme to that crafted by Beethoven but finds none. He finally hits
upon a model in Beethoven's own Violin Sonata, op. 12, no. 2.

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 45

Example 3

Beethoven, String Quartet in A Major, op. 18, no. 5, first movement, Allegro,
mm. 1-43 and 219-24

Ludwig van Beethoven: Werke. Herausgegeben vom Beethoven-Archiv Bonn


unter Leitung von Joseph Schmidt-G6rg. Abteilung VI, Bd. 3: Streichquartette I.
Ed. Paul Mies. Munich: G. Henle, 1962. Reprinted by permission of G. Henle
Verlag.

Allegro . -)
Violin 1 fiY=HI_-F

Violin 2C f f

Viola L

Violoncello """_"

SO

--- --- --- ---

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46 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Example 3 (continued)

e?cresc.
fi I" i A -,+- 40,, , i 1

cresc. /

cresc.

i.+ p" " W- -

crest.-
cresc. f j
c resc.s

.....,'--6..j-
,. . ] I , P' i i',J " " ',c '
:=" "i~ " " 'd - -4
+

... .i k ,lAV,,
-----------------.,- i I' ?
AVAfI T

Ad f, 13,t

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 47

Example 3 (continued)

A t r v i : , ,I o__Ti
PP
pp

.,%.--; r opp
/ --ie

p:..o 21 ?p

-pp p, - "

lot- C ,.

rest. ./
cresc. f

CresciTf

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48 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

choice. 34 The striking rhythmic ambiguity of the opening of op. i8,


no. 5 may be crystallized in the form of a question: Where is the
downbeat? Beethoven invests the fourth beats of the first three
measures with a force equal to that of the first beats. This he achieves
by means of the gruppetti that anticipate the ictus and the sforzando
indications on every one of the parts.3s By the end of the third
measure the fourth beat has actually taken over in prominence from
the first, this because of the omission of the first violin chord and by
the simple fact of repetition. If the second beat of the third measure is
in fact a downbeat, then the ensuing "measure" is in 9/8: a triple meter
in the context of duple, the reverse of Mozart's game. The shift is
accomplished by means of rests in the lower instruments. At this
point the first violin is playing solo, the same technique, for similar
ends, as Mozart adopted (see Example 3, mm. 1-4).

34 By the last two decades of the eighteenth century, opening movements in either
3/4 or 6/8 are relatively rare. Of the forty-nine quartets published by Haydn and
Mozart in these years, only six have opening movements in 3/4 and only three begin
with movements in 6/8. The only quartet of op. 33 (1782) that has an opening
movement in anything other than a simple duple meter is op. 33, no. 6. Mozart
imitates this opening movement in his K. 458: both movements are in 6/8, and both
present a similarly ornamented version of the opening theme immediately after the
first four measures; Haydn's movement is labeled Allegro vivace assai, Mozart's
Vivace assai. (The special effect evoked by 6/8 meter is reflected in the soubriquet for
K. 458, "The Hunt.") Apart from this imitation, K. 464 is the only one of the
"Haydn" quartets in 3/4 or 6/8. (Of the six Mozart string quintets only one, the E-flat
Quintet K. 614, has an opening movement in 6/8.)
35 The sketches for this movement show Beethoven developing this idea gradu-
ally. In the early stages the forceful groups of eighth notes (with their gruppetti) come
on the first beat of the bar, followed by rests. See the sketchbook Berlin, Staatsbib-
liothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Mus. ms. autogr. Beethoven Grasnick 2, p. 64.
Grasnick 2 is available in facsimile and transcription in Wilhelm Virneisel, ed.,
Beethoven: Ein Skizzenbuch zu Streichquartetten aus Op. i8, 2 vols. (Bonn: Beethoven-
haus, 1972, 1974). Sketches for op. i8, no. 5, would seem to survive only in this
manuscript and in one leaf from the "Kafka sketchbook" (London, British Library,
Add. MS 2980oi, fol. 39-162). See Johnson, Tyson, and Winter, The Beethoven
Sketchbooks, 72, 77, 87, n. 5, and 463, n. i. For more on the "Kafka" leaf see below,
n. 45. Fuller sketches for op. I8, no. 5, are missing and were presumably contained
in a sketchbook from 1799-I8oo. See Brandenburg, "The First Version," 137;
Johnson, Tyson, and Winter, The Beethoven Sketchbooks, 87; and Richard Kramer,
"'Das Organische der Fuge': On the Autograph of Beethoven's Quartet in F Major,
Opus 59, No. i ," in The String Quartets of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven: Studies of the
Autograph Manuscripts, ed. Christoff Wolff, Isham Library Papers, vol. 3 (Cambridge,
MA: Harvard University Department of Music, 1980), 226. Donald Greenfield,
"Sketch Studies for Three Movements of Beethoven's String Quartets, Opus 18 No.
i and 2" (Ph.D. diss., Princeton University, 1983), 31-35, lists the variants for op.
i8, no. 5, as preserved in a manuscript copy of the op. i8 set in the Lobkowitz
collection in the National Museum in Prague.

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 49

For much of the remainder of the exposition, Bee


chose not to follow Mozart. He seems to have had very d
about the overall affect of his opening movement,
come close to the extraordinary intensity of Mozart's A
mic play is now mostly confined to conventional "m
accompanying figures (see Example 3, mm. I2-I9)
cavalier, however, to dismiss as conventional the pleasan
Phrygian cadence or the perfectly placed Beethoven
crescendo-to-piano in measures 17-I9. The six-measu
movement (see Example 3, mm. 219-24) both recalls a
rhythmic ambiguity of the opening, as though to ma
reassuring contact with the model.
Beethoven is evoking a very different atmospher
generated by Mozart. But there are more ideas and s
learned in the service of this movement. The most strik
maneuver Mozart had made was a lengthy detour to the
the key before arriving (equivocally) at the domina
effects a very similar postponement of his second key a
colorful Phrygian cadence (to E) quoted above, the m
embraces the dominant through a series of authentic
19-24). The grammatically unnecessary measures 23
new tonic are a sign of Beethoven's vehemence.
What happens next, however, (mm. 25ff) shows h
Beethoven had studied his model. A new theme, str
characterful, though piano, leaps into the minor m
minor v). Indeed all the instruments leap directly from t
of the scale, B, to the one pitch that transforms the m
degree, G natural. The result of this is a considerable de
arrival of the second key area, a delay of some eigh
(almost exactly the same length as the parallel maneu
Beethoven's minor v leads to G major (m. 32), both ke
sharps "flatter" than the tonic. The phrase is repeated w
(mm. 33-38). Then, for the approach to the seco
Beethoven spirits in three measures of the most delicate
(pianissimo), with its own little stretto (mm. 40-43).
There is still more to the imitation than the adop
maneuver, its delaying of the second key area, and its jo
keys that are flat in relation to the tonic. The passage t
minor mode (mm. 25ff quoted above) is cast in a textu

36 Other instances (not shown here) occur in mm. 49-50, 59-6


and especially the confirmatory drive to the double bar, mm. 74-7

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50 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

able contrast. As has been already mentioned, the G~ itself is stressed


by the leap and the unison playing. In fact the whole passage is
written in unison (with the cello an octave below), before flowering
into contrary motion. This texture is exactly that adopted by Mozart
for maximum contrast at the beginning of his second antecedent-
consequent pair (see Example i, mm. 8-I2).13 Also, the delicate
counterpoint of Beethoven's approach to the second key (see Example
3, mm. 4off) is a reflection of Mozart's imitative counterpoint at the
outset of his harmonic detour. Indeed the theme of Beethoven's
second key area is subjected throughout to contrapuntal manipula-
tion, though it is of the lightest kind, generally speaking, unlike that
in Mozart, and when it is not light it is clear, clean, and accessible.
Beethoven was learning, and yet he was perfectly capable of
adapting what he learned to his own purposes. What Beethoven
learned from Mozart was a series of ideas and strategies. The ideas are
used for very different purposes, the strategies to different ends.
Beethoven's first movement is a very different piece from Mozart's,
though at 225 measures, with an exposition of 79 measures, it is of
very similar length.38 As to evidence of themes shared between the
two movements, I can find none.

"This movement derives nothing from the minuet of Mozart's


Quartet in A ... " Kerman is speaking of the second movement
(Menuetto) of op. 18, no. 5-39
Mozart's Menuetto is an extraordinary piece, no less remarkable in
its own way than the first movement. Indeed what is most remarkable
about it is the way Mozart has unified it, subtly, integrally, with the
preceding Allegro. It begins with two rising unison statements (the
cello an octave lower) of two measures each. The statements are forte,
moving to piano: the first begins on A, the second on B; they are
separated by rests (see Example 4, mm. 1-4). This provides a striking
echo of the unison passage, measures 8-i 2, of the first movement
(see Example I, mm. 8-12).

7 The second segment of Mozart's phrase suggests E minor, the key chosen by
Beethoven to open his delaying maneuver.
38 Beethoven marked repeats for both halves of his movement, as did Mozart,
indeed as was traditional up to this time; in op. i8, however, Beethoven indicated
both repeats only for the quartets nos. 5 and 6.
39 Kerman, The Beethoven Quartets, 58.

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 51

These two opening statements of the Minuet (ante


quent) are followed by a consequent phrase (see Exam
made up of two short members, the first falling fr
mezzo-staccato E's; the second, from repeated mezzo
The opening of the first movement similarly count
statements (see Example i, mm. 1-4 and 5-8), the first b
repeated staccato E's, the second with repeated stacca
Mozart then launches his Minuet into aggressive co
The first motive is harshly combined with the second (s
mm. 9-I2). Counterpoint continues to be the ruling
deceptive cadence on C# minor at measure 24. Th
preceded by hemiola patterns in first violin, viola,
21-22). The final cadence of the strain involves patterns o
cadence at the end of the exposition of the first m
Example i, mm. 84-87).
The effect of this first strain depends to a large e
strategic placement and omission of rests. The rests
opening unison statements make them brusque, and the
after measure 8 forces the counterpoint. The multi-mea
measure 13 to measure 16 enhance the new contrapun
now on the opening motive alone), lighten the textur
the contrast to come, a passage based entirely on the
Immediately after the double bar in this moveme
dramatic gesture (see Example 4, mm. 29-33). Mozar
reiterated-note motive, piano, and with supporting c
every other measure, but this time the motive rise
descending. This produces a curious sense of anticip
sense is strongly reinforced by a hole in the fabric, an e
of rests in all the instruments (m. 33). The rising gestur
is never repeated exactly, but the change in sequential d
to all kinds of ingenious and rather disturbing inversion
first and of the second motive. The anticipation is not f
the affect of the whole minuet is one of unfulfillment.

40 The language here is arguably somewhat tendentious. By d


features of the passages in question that are the same, I draw a
similarity. One could certainly draw attention to some ways in whic
their similarity depends upon other factors also: they stand near
adjacent movements; both sets of phrases descend from their
repetition of opening pitches is designed as pick-up to the downbe
notes in the Minuet, one in the Allegro).
4' Schoenberg was fascinated by the contrapuntal dexterity of
See Arnold Schoenberg, Fundamentals of Musical Composition (L
Faber, 1967), 142.

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52 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Example 4
Mozart, String Quartet in A Major, K. 464, second movement, Menuetto, mm.
1-38

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Neue Ausgabe slimtlicher Werke. Serie VII: Kammer-
musik; Werkgruppe 20: Streichquartette und Quartette mit einem Blasintrument;
Abteilung 1: Streichquartette; Bd. 2. Ed. Ludwig Finscher. Kassel: Birenreiter,
1962. Reprinted by permission of Baerenreiter Music Corporation.

Menuetto oon

Violin 1

Violin 2j

Viola ocl

f p f PP
Violoncello . ,,--b

f P f P

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 53

Example 4 (continued)

phrase. I mo t I I - n-t./

' R op
f ,- "o

?d

,- F 'j.] I ~~~dddI .

" _ - ., _J e r

P? ? o W" " - -W_ " -


T 1 .i r . -_ J

p~hrase. It is scored with the mosqt delicate tw o-part couvnterpoi;nt.42 The


42 An early sketch for this minuet is contrapuntally richer, with quarter-note
motion in place of the dotted half notes in the top voice and a more detailed counter
melody. See Grasnick 2, page 67.

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54 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

repeat is written out so that the tune can be given to the viola an octave
lower and the counterpoint enriched and accommodated to four parts.
The tune itself owes little or nothing to Mozart.43 What is owed to
Mozart, apart from the overt adoption of the minuet genre and the
placement of the movement as a whole, is the idea of counterpoint and
the use of rests. Of all the op. i8 quartets, only two have minuets:
quartets nos. 4 and 5; and none of the four scherzo movements nor the
C-minor Minuet embrace counterpoint in anything like this manner.
Indeed at the end of the second strain of the A-major Minuet, what at
first sounds like a conventional internal repeat of the first strain blossoms
into quite intricate counterpoint, as viola, second violin, and first violin
engage in a three-part canon of the opening melody.
The principal gesture with rests comes in the second strain also, as
it does with Mozart. The music has turned rather dramatically to C#
minor, the same key Mozart turned to unexpectedly (see the deceptive
cadence in mm. 23-24 of Example 4). Beethoven presents a six-
measure phrase over a QC pedal (see Example 5, mm. 39-44), low in
the strings and growing with a crescendo to fortissimo, the sole use of
that dynamic in the whole movement. It is followed by a hole in the
fabric, an entire measure of rests plus two more beats of rests, before
the calm resumption of the music from the first strain. The disruption
thus caused is neither explained nor resolved. It is particularly
interesting to note that the phrase is structured as the reverse of
Mozart's: it ends with the three repeated staccato notes with which
Mozart's phrase begins.
The trios of the two movements are quite dissimilar. Mozart's is a
study in disruption: of meter, dynamics, phrase-length, harmony, affect,
figure, and style. It is in E major, and matches the turbulence of the first
movement exquisitely, even to the point of adopting triplets for its
second strain. Beethoven's trio remains in A. It is a lilting liindler,
clouded by consistently off-beat accents. What the pieces do have in
common is a marked thickness of texture, which contrasts with the
counterpoint of their minuets. All four instruments are rarely silent in
the Mozart trio, and for a large amount of the Beethoven trio either the
first violin or the viola is double-stopping.

4 One might see the opening ictus of the tune on E and its descent of a fourth to
B as a small debt, but this appears to me to fall in or very near the area of necessary
commonality, i.e., that collection of traits that would belong to large numbers of
tunes framed in A major.

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 55

Example 5
Beethoven, String Quartet in A Major, op. 18, no. 5, second movement, Menu-
etto, mm. 1-24 and 39-45.

Ludwig van Beethoven: Werke. Herausgegeben vom Beethoven-Archiv Bonn


unter Leitung von Joseph Schmidt-G6rg. Abteilung VI, Bd. 3: Streichquartette I.
Ed. Paul Mies. Munich: G. Henle, 1962. Reprinted by permission of G. Henle
Verlag.
Menuetto

Violin 1

Violin 2

Viola __-_

Violoncello "_ _ __-

pFsp,.
p

MID it 36" p
ME" a "r e ' ?-, I J

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56 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Example 5 (continued)

cresc.

cresc.

cresc.

cresc.

Kerman treats the next pair of movements well. The facts are as

follows. Both Mozart and Beethoven present theme and var


movements in 2/4 and in D major. Mozart's is labeled A
Beethoven's, Andante cantabile.r Mozart has six variation
sizeable coda, which includes a compressed return of the
Beethoven has five variations plus a substantial coda, which
a brief reminiscence of the theme.45
44Mozart's original movement marking was also Andante cantabile. Se
45 There are some aborted variation sketches for this movement on a sin
(fol. I52) in the so-called "Kafka sketchbook" (London, British Library
29801, fols. 39-162). This is a miscellaneous collection of single leaves, bif
gathered sheets acquired from Johann Kafka, a Viennese collector, in 1
whole collection is available in facsimile and transcription in Kerman, ed., Lu
Beethoven: Autograph Miscellany from circa 1786 to 1799: British Museum
Manuscript 29801,ff.39-162 (The "Kafka Sketchbook"), 2 vols. (London: Trust
British Museum, 1970). Folio 152 has been dated, on the basis of its pa
watermark, and rastrology to the years 1798-I8o i. See Johnson, Tyson, Wi
Beethoven Sketchbooks, 523. The "Kafka" leaf also contains some working-o
exposition, development, and coda of the finale of op. 18, no. 5-

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 57

Mozart's fourth variation is written in the tonic minor. Beethov-


en's fourth variation is not, though it does modulate to B minor and
thence to a cadence at the end of the first half on F# minor. Mozart's
sixth (last) variation introduces a completely new rhythmic figure (see
Example 6), which is carried into the coda and up from the cello
through all the instruments.46
Example 6

Rhythmic figure from third movement, Andante, of Mozart, String Quartet in A


Major, K. 464

ftf

Beethoven also introduces a new rhythmic figure in his last


variation (see Example 7), which is used to provide a link to the coda
but then disappears.
Example 7

Rhythmic figure from third movement, Andante cantabile, of Beethoven, String


Quartet in A Major, op. 18, no. 5

To this list a few points must be added, points of similarity and


points of contrast. Mozart's "theme" is cast in a two-reprise form. A
critical feature of this structure is its asymmetry. The first half is 8

46 Mozart continued redrafting this movement even into his autograph score. He
originally planned five variations, but added the fourth (minor) variation at the end,
simultaneously renumbering what had been variation number 4 to number 6 and
adding the coda with its continuation of the rhythmic motive. See Wolfgang Amadeus
Mozart, The Six "Haydn" Quartets: Facsimile of the Autograph Manuscripts, fols. 50v-52.
This is but one gauge of Mozart's remark in his dedication to Haydn that the quartets
represented "il frutto di una lunga, e laboriosa fatica." Another may be seen in the
unusual care with which Mozart corrected (and continued to revise) the parts of all the
quartets for the first edition. The changes between the autograph and the first edition
have been traced by Alfred Einstein in the Critical Report to his edition of the late
Mozart quartets. See Einstein, ed., W. A. Mozart: The Ten Celebrated String Quartets,
Publications of the Paul Hirsch Music Library, vol. 12 (London: Novello, 1945). For
further comments on Mozart's "labor," see Marius Flothius, "A Close Reading of the
Autographs of Mozart's Ten Late Quartets," in The String Quartets of Haydn, Mozart,
and Beethoven: Studies of the Autograph Manuscripts, 155, I57-58, and i6o; and Tyson,
introduction to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart/Facsimile, x.

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58 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

measures long, the second half is io measures long (see Example 8).
Mozart does not smooth over this extension of the second half; he
emphasizes it by means of a deceptive cadence (m. 16) and by means
of an increase in dynamics (crescendo to forte), rhythmic activity
(sixteenth-note triplets), melodic skips, and articulation (the first
staccato in the theme). This extension, thus emphasized, becomes a
landmark in the ensuing variations. It is one of Mozart's principal
weapons in the search for continuity and variety. After all, the
movement is 186 andante measures long, even without the repeats.
Example 8

Mozart, String Quartet in A Major, K. 464, third movement, Andante, mm. 1-18
(piano reduction)
Andante

l sotto voce

0P

crescendo

P crescendo

Mozart's variations begin in an old-fashioned manner, but they


become progressively more sophisticated, turning from external "di-

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 59

vision" variations to internal explorations of the them


implications. In one sense, however, Mozart's distribu
adheres throughout to the old-fashioned way, for he
tionally, each of the instruments in turn to share th
first and second variations present thirty-second-not
the first and second violin in turn. The viola has a starr
third variation, while the cello has to wait for the sixth
featured appearance (the new rhythmic figure).
Example 9

Beethoven, String Quartet in A Major, op. 18, no. 5, third movement, Andante
cantabile, mm. 1-16 (piano reduction)
I I I I r I1
1 2 3 1 2 3 4 1 1 2
Andante cantabile

6 3 1 2 3

.i i"A"

Beethoven's two-reprise "theme" is squarer than Mozart's. It falls


into two equal, eight-measure halves (see Example 9). But Beethoven
has
has learned what asymmetry learned
can do to pique and sustain interest. The wha
construction of the first half of his "theme" is extremely odd. In the
first place it is deliberately naive, both harmonically and melodical-
ly.47 Kerman delightfully compares it to the noble duke of York, who
"marched his men to the top of the hill and marched them down

47 In an early sketch for this movement Beethoven had a very square melody,
which he labelled "Pastoral." See Grasnick 2, p. 67.

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60 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

again." This tune is simple-minded too, for it goes nowhere stolidly.


But it goes nowhere in a slightly eccentric fashion. In Example 9 the
scansion of the first eight measures of the tune is marked, showing
how it falls into 3/4 measures, with a 4/4 and a i/4 measure in the
middle. It is easy to forget that the given meter is in fact 2/4. The
second half of the "theme" (mm. 9ff) becomes far more regular,
trading two-measure phrases between viola/cello and the two violins,
but a return of the opening tune (m. 13) is subjected to severe elision.
Elision is the opposite of extension, but it has the same effect of
drawing attention to a change in periodicity.
Beethoven's variations are often quite different from Mozart's, but he
adopts the same idea of sharing the spotlight among the instruments. The
first variation is an exercise in counterpoint that features all four
instruments one at a time, starting low in the cello and ending high in the
first violin. The second variation is a "division" variation for the first
violin in triplet sixteenths. The third variation features the second violin
in thirty-second-note divisions. The cello introduces the new rhythmic
figure in Variation 5, and the viola has to wait for the coda. Against a
brief reflection of the opening tune in Bb in the second violin and
sixteenth-note accompaniment in the first, the viola has a new counter-
melody in contrary motion, based on the same tune, but in double time.

Mozart experimented with the style of his finale. He began writing


a light, leisurely, 6/8 rondo, a large fragment of which (i70 measures)
is extant in the Deutsche Staatsbibliothek, Berlin (Mus. ms. autogr.
W. A. Mozart KV Anh. 72/464a).48 This he abandoned at exactly the
point at which it begins to adopt counterpoint. It is as though he
suddenly hit upon a completely new idea for the finale of K. 464.
The finale Mozart ultimately fashioned for K. 464 is fast, driving, and
obsessive. It is also dense, chromatic, and highly contrapuntal, cast in

48 See Christoph Wolff, "Creative Exuberance vs. Critical Choice: Thoughts on


Mozart's Quartet Fragments," as well as the remarks of Lewis Lockwood, Christoph
Wolff, et al., The String Quartets of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven: Studies of the
Autograph Manuscripts, 197, 211-15, and 341. The likelihood that this fragment was
originally destined for K. 464 is supported by the fact that it is written on the same
rare paper type as that used for the completion of the Andante; see Alan Tyson,
"Mozart's 'Haydn' Quartets: The Contribution of Paper Studies," in The String
Quartets of Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven: Studies of the Autograph Manuscripts, 182 (the
article has been reprinted in Alan Tyson, Mozart: Studies of the Autograph Scores
[Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1987], 82-93) and idem, introduction to
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart/Facsimile, x.

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 6

Example io
Mozart, String Quartet in A Major, K. 464, last movement, Allegro non tro
mm. 1-17, 82-87, and 112-21

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Neue Ausgabe siimtlicher Werke. Serie VII: Kammer-
musik; Werkgruppe 20: Streichquartette und Quartette mit einem Blasintrument;
Abteilung 1: Streichquartette; Bd. 2. Ed. Ludwig Finscher. Kassel: Barenreiter,
1962. Reprinted by permission of Baerenreiter Music Corporation.
Allegro non troppo

Violin 1

Violin 2

sonata form with both halves repeated. This description is remini


the first movement of K. 464, and indeed Mozart has closel
integrally unified the first and last movements of this quart
opening theme (almost the only theme, since the movement is v
monothematic) is made up of two four-measure phrases, th
descending from E, the second from D, just like the opening of th
movement. Both phrases begin with solo first violin lines, again a
first movement. The first phrase conspicuously displays th

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62 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Example io (continued)

Exampl I, mm. 84 II

f _

EMSnge otoOlod byA hoeit7Z


P

E) ,
"J ) I I (

the -doul b- a e. T

aIvaenchniqe betweenDand
opening movement. Dynamic
manipulations of the indicate
insistence on patterns of 6
ambivale nce between
transformations DAl and
of 3/4, are D
p
Example IO, mmm. 8-4).
A dramatic gesture opens
the double bar (see Examp
plunge out disconcertingly to
fabric, indicated by fermatas
The gesture is not repeated; t
In technique and emotional im
of the second strain of the
Mozart achieves a moment
the development section, w
halt on V of vi, the "poin
completely new passage in
notes provide momentary

49 See Ratner, Classic Music, 226

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 63

eighths. This multiplies into a text-book exercise, involving all four of


the Fuxian contrapuntal species (fourth, second, third, and fifth) and
leads ultimately to the retransition (see Example Io, mm. 11 2-21).

Example Ila
Beethoven, String Quartet in A Major, op. 18, no. 5, last movement, Allegro,
mm. 1-6

Ludwig van Beethoven: Werke. Herausgegeben vom Beethoven-Archiv Bonn


unter Leitung von Joseph Schmidt-Gorg. Abteilung VI, Bd. 3: Streichquartette I.
Ed. Paul Mies. Munich: G. Henle, 1962. Reprinted by permission of G. Henle
Verlag.

Allegro

Violin 1

Violaoncello
p

Example jIIb
Mozart, Symphony No. 38 in D Major, K. 504, ("Prague"), last movement,
Presto, mm. 1-13, strings only

Presto

Violin 1 F., I I, ,r . -, F IN
Violin 1

Violin
Violin 2-.7
2 A I A IAt

F 4L?op-
..J'
i ] , I-""
I t.,o

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64 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Beethoven's finale is also in sonata form, with only the first repeat
indicated. This movement too is lighter in tone and more delicate than
its model. In fact, here Beethoven, searching for a light touch,
actually imitates a different work of Mozart's: the last movement of
the "Prague" Symphony. The three-eighth-note pickups, the tum-
bling entries, and the sketchy counterpoint are all borrowed from the
symphony (see Examples ii a and ii b).
Beethoven turns again to K. 464 for material to highlight his
second key area (see Example I2). What he borrows here is the idea of
first-species counterpoint from the middle of Mozart's development
section (see Example io, mm. i 12-21). The contrast is wildly
effective: long notes in learned style to set off the comic-opera
opening.50 The drop to pianissimo is prepared by a forte halt on V of
V the measure before (see Example 12, m. 35). Beethoven's first
species also multiplies into a Fuxian exercise (fourth, third, and fifth
species) for a gradual return to eighth-note motion and the codetta of
the exposition.
Perhaps the most overt acknowledgement to Mozart comes in the
final measures of the quartet. Mozart's quartet ends surprisingly
softly, especially in the light of the preceding turmoil. Or perhaps it
should not be surprising: understating, holding back at the end,
silhouettes all that has gone before. A nimble new cadential figure,
capable of moving up or down with equal ease, is combined with the
opening motive and gently disguises the fact that the movement has
ended exactly as it began (see Example I3a).
Beethoven also uses his opening figure to end the finale. Before
that it does service as a repeated cadential figure, scurrying over
first-species whole notes from the second key area. The whole
passage, with its tiptoeing wit, is sculpted very much like Mozart's
last page. Beethoven's ending is also quiet after forte, also a surprise,
and even more inconclusive, with its doubled third in octaves on the
top of the final chord (see Example i3b).

Mozart's String Quartet, K. 464, is one of the "Haydn" quartets,


written as a deliberate homage to the older master. It is a mature

50 The effect is the opposite of that obtained in the famous finale of K. 387, a
quartet that Beethoven is known to have copied out in full (see Johnson, Tyson,
Winter, The Beethoven Sketchbooks, 26, 29, and 598; Kramer, "'Das Organische der
Fuge,"' 23o; and Johnson, "The Artaria Collection," 21I.

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 65

Example 12
Beethoven, String Quartet in A Major, op. 18, no. 5, last movement, Allegro,
mm. 34-51

Ludwig van Beethoven: Werke. Herausgegeben vom Beethoven-Archiv Bonn unter


Leitung von Joseph Schmidt-G6rg. Abteilung VI, Bd. 3: Streichquartette I. Ed.
Paul Mies. Munich: G. Henle, 1962. Reprinted by permission of G. Henle Verlag.

:-" ' f F ' - -- e',--- _ - 0 ---

reIs c as 1I P
_cresc .

r cresc.

cresc P

cresc. PP

masterpiece
The quartet
Mozart's oe
degree. Ther

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66 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Example i3a
Mozart, String Quartet in A Major, K. 464, last movement, Allegro non troppo,
mm. 249-62

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: Neue Ausgabe samtlicher Werke. Serie VII: Kammer-
musik; Werkgruppe 20: Streichquartette und Quartette mit einem Blasintrument;
Abteilung 1: Streichquartette; Bd. 2. Ed. Ludwig Finscher. Kassel: Bairenreiter,
1962. Reprinted by permission of Baerenreiter Music Corporation.
249

S7 I I

PP

Ies*iA 44%,-

and the last movement, based on a motive whose pitches, shape,


texture echo the opening of the work as a whole, is essent
monothematic.
Beethoven's op. 18, no. 5, is a deliberate and conscious imitation

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 67
Example I3b

Beethoven, String Quartet in A Major, op. 18, no. 5, last movement, Allegro,
mm. 286-300

Ludwig van Beethoven: Werke. Herausgegeben vom Beethoven-Archiv Bonn


unter Leitung von Joseph Schmidt-G6rg. Abteilung VI, Bd. 3: Streichquartette I.
Ed. Paul Mies. Munich: G. Henle, 1962. Reprinted by permission of G. Henle
Verlag.

P P P

,p P

cresc.

cresc.

cresc.

techniques, of rhetorical gestures (such as the ending), as w

of K. 464, but it is an imitation of strategies and ideas, pr

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68 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

architectural design. Beethoven's quartet is lighter in tone than


Mozart's, less emphatic, less profound. It has deliberately "misprised"
its precursor. Its ruling affect is one of a delicate galanterie. This has
been achieved by incorporating clever counterpoint, learned from the
precursor, but not from there alone (the development sections of op.
18, nos. i and 2 are evidence of that). Touches of stridency in the first
and second movements, as well as the lindler trio and the frequent
sforzando chords in the last movement, serve to throw into relief the
prevailing manner. In the finale, the use of long notes for the
second-key-area material provides a contrast that precisely prevents
the movement from being monothematic.
These differences permit a closer examination of the location of
Beethoven's anxiety. It can now be asked: where exactly does Beethoven
choose not to follow Mozart? The most striking elements in Mozart's
quartet are the harmonic wrench in the first movement, the turbulent
and disruptive trio, and the strong sense of unity across the span of the
work (first movement, Minuet, and finale). Beethoven avoids all of these
elements. He is, after all, at a very different stage of his career. His
imitation involves both careful selection and careful rejection.
Of all the movements, Beethoven's first "swerves" the most from
its model.5' The parallels between the two Minuets, the two variation
movements, and the two finales are stronger than those for the two
first movements. They depend, in the Beethoven first movement,
upon the projection of rhythmic ambiguity at the opening and closing
of the movement and a deliberate delaying of the arrival of the
dominant key by a detour into the minor mode. Beethoven's rhythmic
ambiguity, however, comes only in the first four and last six measures
of the movement, and the harmonic detour in Beethoven's movement
involves E minor, simply the minor version of the dominant.
As Mozart's first movement shows so clearly, it is the opening
movement of a work that gives the entire composition its character.52
Indeed it is in his opening movement that Beethoven has most
radically reinterpreted his model. By deliberately misprising the
Allegro, Beethoven has adopted an affect quite different from that of
his model, avoiding from the outset the potential for unification that
is so strong an element in the Mozart, and setting the tone for the
entire imitation to come.

5' Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence, 14, 44-45.


52 In his op. 18 set, Beethoven appears to be deliberately experimenting with
opening meters (and thus the character of his works): five different meters appear in
the six opening movements.

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 69

As has been discussed earlier, the affect of Beethoven's first


movement is materially transformed by means of meter, harmoni
procedure, and texture; but in addition Beethoven adopts a structura
device that Robert Winter (following Lawrence Bernstein) has called
the "bifocal close," a half cadence that becomes tonicized as the second
key in the exposition but serves as a local dominant in the recapitu-
lation.53 Winter has shown that this device is typical of Mozart but
not of Haydn, that it is common in Mozart's works both in his early
and late years, and that Mozart abandoned it temporarily at precisely
the time that he was coming to grips with Haydn's style, that is
between the end of 1783 and the beginning of I786.54
What is important for our understanding of the relationship
between Beethoven and his precursor here is that the first movement
of Mozart's K. 464, being Haydnesque, does not adopt the bifocal
close. But the first movement of Beethoven's op. 18, no. 5, being
Mozartean, clearly does.55 In fact this is the only first movement in
the whole of op. i8 that does adopt the device.
The desire to learn, rivalry, and homage: these are the three
principal ingredients of imitation as outlined above. We have seen
how much Beethoven learned from K. 464. In homage to Mozart,
Beethoven models, a quartet on a Mozart masterpiece. In quiet rivalry
with him, he fashions a completely different composition from
matching materials and, in so doing, grounds his anxiety.
But by selecting K. 464 as a model, Beethoven came under a
double anxiety of influence. For in i 8oo, in undertaking his first set of
six string quartets, Beethoven was also in competition with his
teacher: Haydn, the living master, the greatest composer in Vienna
His patron and dedicatee of the set was Prince Lobkowitz, the same
patron who commissioned Haydn's op. 77, which commission was
still in force in i 8oo (Haydn had completed two of an anticipated se
of six). The selection of one of Mozart's "Haydn" quartets, with thei
heartfelt dedication, also allowed Beethoven to pay homage to Haydn,
but in a highly oblique manner.
In organizing his six quartets for publication, Beethoven kept in
public view the relation to his model. Beethoven would have known
Mozart's A-Major Quartet not as K. 464, obviously, but as Mozart's

53 See Robert Winter, "The Bifocal Close and the Evolution of the Viennese
Classical Style," this JOURNAL 42 (1989): 275-337.
54 Winter, "The Bifocal Close," 322-23-.
55 See mm. 24-25 and 164-65 of the first movement of op. 18, no. 5, and Winter,
"The Bifocal Close," 331.

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70 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

Example 14
Beethoven, String Quartet in A minor, op. 132, second movement, Allegro ma
non tanto, mm. 1-17

Allegro ma non tanto

Violin 1

Violin 2

Viola O

Violoncello are in poignant balance.

.P,,,

ad W?5 F P Jk

The sixth of Beethoven's set, op. I8, no. 6, also overtly imit
Mozart's op. . 0, fo. 6, otherwise known as K. 465, the "Dissonant"

56 Philip Radcliffe barely


(London: Hutchinson, 1965):

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BEETHOVEN'S "MOZART" QUARTET 71

cally searching one, and the idea of a conspicuous tu


from K. 465. (See the famous opening Adagio of that
as its measure 22, and measures 21-23, 36, 68, 112,
Andante cantabile.) Beethoven, however, saved his "in
the last movement of op. 18, no. 6-another radical reint
his source.
Commentators have argued about the imposition of "periods"
upon the trajectory of Beethoven's life and works. We might more
fruitfully gauge the nature of Beethoven's creative life by measuring it
in terms of his main sources of anxiety: Haydn and Mozart. In I8oo
Haydn was still very much alive. Solomon writes that "Beethoven's
conflicts with Haydn reached their peak at around this time " and that
"by the turn of the century Beethoven felt the weight of Haydn's
influence ... as an impediment to the growth of his own musical
individuality."'s Mozart's death had taken the man himself out of the
realm of psychodynamic conflict for Beethoven. What remained of
Mozart, as inspiration and terror, was the work. In 1785, at fifteen,
Beethoven imitated Mozart to absorb, to learn, to grow. In I8oo, at
thirty, Beethoven imitated Mozart in order deliberately to "misprise"
him, to "convert the substance or riches of [the other] to his own
use.s58
Is it possible to find in Beethoven the final stage of imitation-the
complete sublimation of the precursor, a capturing of his essence, a
winning-through from anxiety to calm, a sense of entitlement to the
same "laurel wreath"? I believe it is. Beethoven turned to K. 464 again
a quarter of a century later, when he was working on his Quartet op.
1 32.59 The Allegro ma non tanto of op. 132, Beethoven's next quartet
movement in A major, takes a further unwavering look at the
extraordinary Minuet from Mozart's op. io, no. 5.60 Beethoven
sublimates Mozart's movement more thoroughly than he dared to do
in I8o0. The unison statements in two-bar pairs, rising; the answering

duction by a cheerful quick movement may have been suggested to Beethoven by


Mozart's Quartet in C Major, K. 465" (p. 43).
s7 Solomon, Beethoven, 74-75-
58 Ben Jonson, quoted in Bloom, The Anxiety of Influence, 27.
9 Kerman, The Beethoven Quartets, 253 notices this connection too.
0 Towards the end of his life written expressions on Beethoven's part of his
profound admiration for Mozart increase in number and intensity: "I have always
counted myself amongst the greatest admirers of Mozart and shall remain so until my
last breath" (Anderson, The Letters of Beethoven, vol. 3, 1276-77, letter no. 1468
[February, 1826]). References abound in the conversation books also. See Karl-Heinz
K6hler, "Die Konversationshefte Ludwig van Beethovens als retrospektive Quelle der
Mozartforschung," Mozart-Jabrbuch (1971-72): 120-39.

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72 JOURNAL OF THE AMERICAN MUSICOLOGICAL SOCIETY

first violin in descent; the combination, surprising and inevitable, of


the two opening motives; the voice pairing; the saturation of the
movement by the two motives alone: all these suggest, "for a startled
moment," that the latecomer is being imitated by his ancestor (see
Example 14 and cf. Example 4). Beethoven has won through from
anxiety to acceptance, beyond originality, from rivalry to rapproche-
ment. He is now, finally, entitled to the same "laurel wreath."
Mozart's shadow merges with his own.
Boston University

LIST OF WORKS CITED

Facsimile Editions

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: The Six "Haydn" String Quartets: Facsimile of the
Autograph Manuscripts in the British Library, Add. MS 37763. British
Library Music Facsimiles, vol. 4. London: The British Library, 1985.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: String Quartet K. 464. New York: The Robert
Owen Lehman Foundation, 1969.

Sketchbooks

Berlin, Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz, Mus. ms. autogr. Bee-


thoven Grasnick 2. ("Grasnick 2")
London, British Library, Add. MS 29801. ("Kafka Sketchbook")

Modern Studies

Anderson, Emily. The Letters of Beethoven, Collected, Translated and Edited with
an Introduction, Appendixes, Notes and Indexes. 3 vols. New York, I961.
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ABSTRACT

The literary critic Harold Bloom coined the term "anxiety of influence"
to cover stages in the emancipation of poets from their powerful forebears.
Much has been written on the shadow cast by Beethoven over later
nineteenth-century composers, but Beethoven too had to come to terms with
powerful influences. It has long been recognized that the slow movement of
Beethoven's String Quartet, op. i8, no. 5, is modeled on that of Mozart's
String Quartet in A major, K. 464. Here it is shown that in fact, the
imitation involves not only the slow movement but all four of the move-
ments. This provides an opportunity to examine in detail Beethoven's
technique of reinterpreting his model. Indeed an examination of Beethoven's
"anxiety" at different stages of his career may lead us to a closer understand-
ing of his creative development. Toward the end of his life Beethoven
imitated one of the movements from K. 464 again. Here may be seen the final
stage in the confrontation of his anxiety.

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