The power of allusion: Beethoven’s Grosse Fuge and Op. 130 VI*

Megan Ross -


Beethoven composed two strikingly different finales for his string quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130. The original Grosse Fugue finale is an immense and heavy multi-sectioned movement, while the second so-called “little” finale is a lighter sonata-rondo hybrid. The extensive body of scholarship surrounding when and why Beethoven composed both movements almost always promotes the polarity of the two endings. However, I argue that these two movements are more closely related than previously recognized. Specifically, I uncover multiple allusions, or similarities between these finales in terms of melodic and rhythmic contour, texture, and form, that exist in the final versions and which can also be traced back to Beethoven’s sketch material for the second finale. The power of allusion allows us to bridge the gap between these finales and helps to promote the second finale as both a ‘late’ and non-conventional work alongside the original.

Full Text



Registrazione presso la Cancelleria del Tribunale di Pavia n. 552 del 14 luglio 2000 – ISSN elettronico 1826-9001 | Università degli Studi di Pavia Dipartimento di Musicologia | Pavia University Press

Privacy e cookies