View Poll Results: Favorite Opus 18 Quartet

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  • Op 18 #1 in F Major

    3 15.00%
  • Op 18 #2 in G Major

    2 10.00%
  • Op 18 #3 in D Major

    2 10.00%
  • Op 18 #4 in C Minor

    8 40.00%
  • Op 18 #5 in A Major

    2 10.00%
  • Op 18 #6 in Bb Major

    3 15.00%
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Thread: Beethoven Opus 18 String Quartets

  1. #16
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    The big-name quartets pretty much all do a fine job with the Op. 18. The Takacs of course are a fine place to start. Worth watching out for the Petersen Quartet and, for period instruments, the Smithson.


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  3. #17
    Senior Member Melvin's Avatar
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    That is interesting, that #4 is a "hodgepodge" of earlier material: I did not know that, but this makes sense. Maybe from the analytical ears of Greenberg there could be structural problems that he may dislike. Obviously if you're patching together fragments like this it's tough to avoid some continuity errors. Still I've never taken any of this into account and I love the piece for its intensity and caprice. I also like particularly the counterpoint rounds in the second movement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Triplets View Post
    I voted for 2. I like them all, actually but lately I’ve been listening to Haydn Op.20 Quartets and This Beethoven work seems to recall those pieces
    I love Haydn's opus 20 set as well: melodic and structural perfection... perhaps the most instructive set for Mozart's and Beethoven's classical quartets.

    I love the period instrument recordings of op. 20 done by Quatour Mosaïques; they also recorded Beethoven's op. 18. It's a great way to hear these quartets with the warmth of the period instruments they were written for.


    Op. 18 truly is Beethoven's last statement on the Classical style, and I do believe most scholars place it as the final crowning work of Beethoven's early period.

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  5. #18
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Some interesting background: Prince Lobkowitz commissioned sets of six string quartets from both Haydn and Beethoven at about the same time, ca 1798. Beethoven delivered his in two sets of three each to the publisher Mollo in 1801. Haydn, already suffering from the malady that ended his composing career, was able to complete only two, published as his Op. 77. A third, incomplete, was published as his Op. 103 in 1803.

    An early 1801 notice on Beethoven's first three in the AMZ: "Among the new works being published here, excellent works by Beethoven stand out. Three quartets serve as sufficient proof of his art. However, they have to be played very often and very well since they are very difficult to execute and by no means popular."
    Last edited by KenOC; Apr-02-2018 at 07:10.


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  7. #19
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    At the moment no.5. No doubt that will change by tomorrow / next week.

  8. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    The big-name quartets pretty much all do a fine job with the Op. 18. The Takacs of course are a fine place to start. Worth watching out for the Petersen Quartet and, for period instruments, the Smithson.
    I bought the Smithson set quite a while back (1980s I think) when CD choices for chamber music were not extensive. I had never heard the recording or, for that matter, heard of the group. It turned out to be wonderful purchase. I recently bought the Takacs cycle, which I haven't listened to enough times to draw conclusions, and I have several other cycles. But for the Op. 18 quartets the Smithsons are my favorites.

    Great sound too.

  9. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    The big-name quartets pretty much all do a fine job with the Op. 18. The Takacs of course are a fine place to start. Worth watching out for the Petersen Quartet and, for period instruments, the Smithson.
    Interesting that you mention the Peterson Quartett. they made some very fine recordings during the 1980`s and 90`s. I still have their Beethoven and Schubert recordings. I am not sure if they are still active, if so not with the original members,

  10. #22
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    The big-name quartets pretty much all do a fine job with the Op. 18. The Takacs of course are a fine place to start. Worth watching out for the Petersen Quartet and, for period instruments, the Smithson.
    As good as the Smithson quartet is in Op. 18 (and they are very, very good), the Turner Quartet is even better, if you can find their set:

    turner.jpg

  11. #23
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    ...Haydn, already suffering from the malady that ended his composing career, was able to complete only two, published as his Op. 77.
    Another explanation I've seen was that Haydn didn't welcome the inevitable comparison of his works with Beethoven's, which he sensed were becoming more popular than his own. But I've never seen this idea supported by any evidence.


  12. #24
    Senior Member EdwardBast's Avatar
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    I like #3 best. It was the first one he composed. I also like #5 a lot.

    Look here bother,
    Who you jivin' with that cosmic debris?

    Frank Zappa

  13. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    I also like #5 a lot.
    Always makes me think of the last three Mozart quartets, the andante cantabile. I heard Hagen Qt. play op 18/3 and 5 together in a concert and they released a CD with the two of them, very good I think.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Apr-03-2018 at 15:54.

  14. #26
    Senior Member Olias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by EdwardBast View Post
    I also like #5 a lot.

    Especially that theme and variations movement.

  15. #27
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    I've been listening to the Jerusalem Quartet recordings of the Op 18 quartets, and rather like them.

  16. #28
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    At the moment no.5. No doubt that will change by tomorrow / next week.
    I told you I'd change my mind. Now it's no.4 and no.1. Recordings-wise there's so many good versions of the early quartets. Vegh, Emerson, Takacs, Alban Berg.....very few duffers of these great works. I love the Takacs account of No.4 best at the moment. Just a wonderful set, all round.

  17. #29
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    i too noticed that the opening to no. 1 seems to preview the sound and spirit of the late ones.

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