Julie Fox Henson, violin
Tracy Engman Finkelshteyn, violin
Jonathan Sturm, viola
George Work, cello
June 28th, 2022
Belin Quartet Concert Program
Julie Fox Henson, violin
Beethoven String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3
I. Andante con moto – Allegro vivace
II. Andante con moto quasi allegretto
III. Menuetto grazioso
IV. Allegro molto
Commissioned in 1805 by Count Andreas Razumovsky, Beethoven composed three string quartets to be performed by the Schupanzzigh Quartet. Whereas most string quartets of the early 19th century were performed exclusively for the entertainment of aristocrats, Beethoven’s Razumovsky Cycle shifted the genre into the concert hall. The cycle later premiered in Vienna in 1807 and was published as a set the following year. Despite the intricate melodies and compositional ambition of Beethoven, the pieces were initially ill-received by audiences. Until then, many of his compositions had been for amateur chamber ensembles and were more simplistic. In turn, musicians and listeners alike were quick to label the pieces “unusual” and too challenging for any player to perform. Fast forward 200 years, the Razumovsky Cycle has become a fan favorite and staple in the string quartet repertoire.
Of the three pieces in the set, the third — No.9 in C Major— is regarded as the most individualistic with its dramatic flair and rousing themes. Whereas the other two have clearly identifiable Russian themes, per the request of Razumovsky, the final quartet does not. The piece begins with a cutting chord, followed immediately by silence. This eases back into a serene melody later broken by the livelier first theme. The second movement shifts into a more somber and dark style, sometimes compared to the desolate Siberian landscape. The third movement returns to the dream-like minuets of the period concluding with a bridge directly into the allegro molto. The final movement creates a euphoric ending to the Razumovsky Cycle with no shortage of energy from the quartet.
For more than 20 years, Belin Quartet concerts have been presented to our community at no charge through the generosity of the Belin Family.
Meet the Musicians
About the Belin Quartet
The Belin Quartet has been harmonizing with the Des Moines community for more than 20 years. With instrumental support from the Civic Music Association since its founding, the Belin Quartet honors the enduring legacy of David Belin (1928-1999) and Connie Belin (1930-1980).
Tracy was a member of the first violin sections of the Winnipeg Symphony and Manitoba Chamber Orchestra and has served on the faculty of several Universities including Northwestern, St. Olaf College, Carleton College and North Carolina State University.