I think this could actually be the ultimate arrangement for viola quartet. And that is up against some very challenging competition.
What makes this work different?
Where do I begin?
Beethoven re-wrote the rules when he conceived this remarkable work. The first three movements are in the symphonic format we had come to expect. But then came the finale, and everything changed. It is practically as long as the previous three movements combined. And it begins with a loud discord, almost as if you have switched on in the middle of a scary movie. And if that wasn’t weird enough, it is then followed by a series of basso instrumental recitatives punctuated by flash-backs to the earlier movements. And and that is just the intro. What comes next is the famous theme and some variations, but with the help of vocal soloists and chorus; with frenzied activity interspersed by moments of serenity and calm.
It is a late opus, and there are many similarities to his series of late string quartets, particularly some of the writing in the remarkable Grosse Fuge. These string quartets are both musically and technically very difficult works. And this version of the Finale from the ninth is very similar in many ways. Therefor it is suitable for advanced or professional standard players. 25 mins A