These quartets are opus 127, 130 and 132. Together with the quartets opus 131, 133 and 135, they are commonly referred to as the "last quartets" of Beethoven. When the composer was in full possession of his artistic means he developed a style entirely his own. However it was that style which also gave him the reputation of having destroyed the forms of tradition.
SKETCH FOR THE STRING QUARTET IN E FLAT MAJOR, OPUS 127 The work was created between 1822 and 1825 and published in 1826. On March 6th, 1825 it was first performed by the Schuppanzigh Quartet. It had no success whatsoever. It was repeated by the Böhm Quartet which played it twice in succession in one and the same concert; at that time it received the enthusiastic acclaim of the audience. The reproduced page is part of the first variation of the second movement. The note at the head of the page is Beethoven's and is directed to an inadequate copyist "The gentleman need not come back because I cannot use him as a copyist and his stupidity makes everything futile." ( Society of Friends of Music, Vienna)
STRING QUARTET, B FLAT MAJOR, OPUS 130 Title page of the score with dedication to Prince Nicolaus Galitzin Composed in 1825, it was performed for the first time by the Schuppanzigh Quartet on March 21, 1826--in its first version with the final fugue. It was published only after Beethoven's death--in 1827--by Artaria in Vienna. ( Society of Friends of Music, Vienna)
AUTOGRAPH OF THE STRING QUARTET IN F MAJOR, OPUS 135 First page of the first movement Completed in October, 1826 it was published in September, 1827 by Schlesinger in Berlin and Paris. Beethoven had dedicated the work to his friend Johann Nepomuk Wolfmayer. (Bodmer, Zürich)
STRING QUARTET IN C SHARP MINOR, opus 131 Title page of the score with the dedication to Baron von Stutterheim Completed in 1826, it was published by Schott in Mainz in April, 1827. The agreement between the publisher and the composer was signed six days before Beethoven's death (see page 213). ( Society of Friends of Music, Vienna)
GREAT FUGUE FOR STRING QUARTET IN B FLAT MAJOR, OPUS 133 Title page of the score with the dedication to the Archduke Rudolf of Austria Before it became an independent composition, the work had been thought of as the final movement of the string quartet opus 130, for which Beethoven later wrote a different finale. The Pugue was published as an independent work by Artaria in Vienna in 1827. ( Society of Friends of Music, Vienna)