String Quartet no. 1 in Cm, Op. 51 / 1
Johannes Brahms completed his Quartet no. 1 in C minor in 1873, and published it toghether with his second quartet as Op. 51. Brahms regarded the string quartet, toghether with the symphony, as a very important genre (with Beethoven's works in the field considered definitive and exerting a paralyzing influence over him). He reportedly destroyed some twenty string quartets before allowing the two Op. 51 quartets to be published. He wrote the pieces slowly, with many practice runs and at least one secret performance held, after which Brahms re-wrote parts of the music. They are dedicated to his friend Theodor Billroth. The no. 1 quartet is remarkable for its organic unity and for the harmonically sophisticated, "orchestrally inclined" outer movements that bracket its more intimate inner movements. Structurally and thematically, the first movement shows the influence of Schubert's Quartettsatz, D. 703, also in C minor. The quartet consists of four movements.