The Große Fuge (or Grosse Fuge, also known in English as Great Fugue or Grand Fugue), Op. 133, is a single-movement composition for string quartet by Ludwig van Beethoven. An immense double fugue, it was universally condemned by contemporary critics. A reviewer writing for Allgemeine musikalische Zeitung in 1826 described the fugue as "incomprehensible, like Chinese" and "a confusion of Babel". However, critical opinion of the work has risen steadily since the beginning of the 20th century. The work is now considered among Beethoven's greatest achievements. Igor Stravinsky said that "[it is] an absolutely contemporary piece of music that will be contemporary forever."
The Große Fuge originally served as the final movement of his Quartet No. 13 in B♭ major (Op. 130), written in 1825. But Beethoven's publisher, who was concerned about the dismal commercial prospects of the piece, urged Beethoven to replace the fugue with a new finale. Beethoven complied, and the Große Fuge was published separately in 1827 as Op. 133. It was composed when Beethoven was almost completely deaf, and is considered to be part of his set of late quartets. It was first performed in 1826, as the finale of the B♭ quartet, by the Schuppanzigh Quartet.
Performances & Interviews
- Beethoven: Grosse Fugehttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01s51r3.jpghttps://ichef.bbci.co.uk/images/ic/240x135/p01s51r3.jpg2011-10-03T19:52:00.000ZStephen Johnson offers an insight into the mechanics of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge, pulling apart this string quartet masterpiece and exploring how we should go about listening to it.https://www.bbc.co.uk/music/audiovideo/popular/b0124sbs
Beethoven: Grosse FugeStephen Johnson offers an insight into the mechanics of Beethoven's Grosse Fuge, pulling apart this string quartet masterpiece and exploring how we should go about listening to it.