Arietta’s label incorporates a fragment of the original manuscript of the Arietta movement of Beethoven’s last piano sonata, Opus 111. This movement, one of the pinnacles of classical music, is comprised of an Arietta (song) followed by four variations of increasing complexity. Beginning with the serene “Arietta,” the movement grows organically into an earthy, classical “boogie-woogie,” dissolves into musical timelessness, and finally rises to a startlingly modern, contemplative, and ethereal climax. Beethoven’s tempo indication, “Adagio molto semplice e cantabile” (very slowly, simply, and songlike) is handwritten above the first two bars of the music on all Arietta labels except the Arietta Quartet.
The label for the Arietta Quartet is designed around an original fanciful drawing of the instruments of a string quartet. The drawing is by future Arietta owner Libby Hatton, who at the age of eight surprised her parents with its presentation during discussions of concepts for a new label. The music behind the instruments is a fragment of the manuscript of the famous “Cavatina” movement from the Beethoven String Quartet Opus 130.