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. Credit: Joseph Karl Stieler (Public domain)
The extraordinary drama and serenity of Beethoven's string quartets, Op. 130, 131, 133, and 135, was achieved, according to historian Paul Johnson, against the astonishing backdrop of "his deafness, amid a chaos of broken piano wire, wrecked keyboards, dirt, dust, and poverty... surely the most remarkable display of courage in musical history."

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