Participation in string quartets in the years around 1800 was largely an amateur pursuit. Before the French Revolution chamber music had primarily been the concern of professional musicians at noble courts; now, a few years later, devaluation and the decline of the aristocracy had driven increasing numbers of musicians to seek their fortunes elsewhere – in city orchestras, in teaching and in opera. For professionals there was, at best, time for chamber music in the evening hours only, as a pleasant diversion among friends. Much the same was also true for the many amateur musicians who were the most important buyers of quartets, trios, sonatas and songs. During Beethovens lifetime, chamber music – which before 1800 had mainly been heard in the salons of the nobility – gradually moved into the drawing-rooms of the bourgeoisie…..Download booklet
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