The three "Razumovsky" (or "Rasumovsky") string quartets, opus 59, are the quartets Ludwig van Beethoven wrote in 1806, as a result of a commission by the Russian ambassador in Vienna, Count Andreas Razumovsky:
String Quartet No. 7 in F major, Op. 59, No. 1
String Quartet No. 8 in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2
String Quartet No. 9 in C major, Op. 59, No. 3They are the first three of what are usually known as the "Middle Period" string quartets, or simply the "Middle Quartets." The other two are opus 74 and opus 95. Many quartets record all five as a set.
Beethoven uses a characteristically Russian theme in the first two quartets in honor of the prince who gave him the commission:
In Op. 59 No. 1, the "Thème russe" (as the score is marked) is the principal theme of the last movement.
In Op. 59 No. 2, the Thème russe is in the B section of the third movement. This theme is based on a Russian folk song which was also utilized by Modest Mussorgsky in the coronation scene of his opera Boris Godunov, by Sergei Rachmaninoff in the sixth movement of his 6 Morceaux for Piano Duet, Op.11 "Glory" ("Slava"), and by Igor Stravinsky in his ballet The Firebird.
In the quartet Op. 59 No. 3, there is no Thème russe explicitly named in the score, but many commentators have heard a Russian character in the subject of the Andantino movement.All three quartets were published as a set in 1808 in Vienna.