In the early 1800s in Vienna, Beethoven had an opportunity unheard of for a composer: he got to write music for one of the world's first professional string quartets.
No longer was he writing for amateurs; now, he would write for the world's best string players.
Beethoven pulled out all the stops, during a time of great personal tragedy while he struggled with hearing loss.
Learn about the special music Beethoven wrote during this time from two members of the Cypress String Quartet.
Cypress just finished recording all of Beethoven's so-called "Middle String Quartets". Violinist Tom Stone and cellist Jennifer Kloetzel are guests on this week's Learning to Listen from Classical MPR.