Beethoven: String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor ("Serioso"), Op. 95

Ludwig van Beethoven's String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op. 95 was the last of his middle period quartets. It is commonly referred to as the "Serioso," stemming from his title "Quartett[o] Serioso" at the beginning and the tempo designation for the third movement.

It is one of the shortest and most compact of all the Beethoven quartets. In many ways, it reminds us of another piece that he was working on in the same year — the overture to his incidental music for Goethe's drama Egmont.

Interestingly, Beethoven stated in a letter that "The Quartet [Op. 95] is written for a small circle of connoisseurs and is never to be performed in public." This piece would have been shocking in 1810 as Beethoven used it to expirement with new compositional techniques (e.g. shorter developments, interesting use of silences, metric ambiguity, seemingly unrelated outbursts).