View Poll Results: Favorite Opus 18 Quartet

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  • Op 18 #1 in F Major

    6 20.69%
  • Op 18 #2 in G Major

    4 13.79%
  • Op 18 #3 in D Major

    2 6.90%
  • Op 18 #4 in C Minor

    10 34.48%
  • Op 18 #5 in A Major

    2 6.90%
  • Op 18 #6 in Bb Major

    5 17.24%
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Thread: Beethoven Opus 18 String Quartets

  1. #1
    Senior Member Olias's Avatar
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    Default Beethoven Opus 18 String Quartets

    I'm very partial to this set of string quartets and feel like they get overshadowed by the middle and late quartets. I'd like to know everyone's favorite of the set and perhaps discuss some of the individual pieces.

    In Robert Greenberg's lecture series of all 16 of Beethoven's quartets, he outlines the styles in which Beethoven was trying to emulate for each quartet. Interestingly, his least favorite in the set is my most favorite (the c minor quartet).

    Here is VERY basically how the quartets are viewed in the course.

    #1 - Beethoven innovates on the traditional model
    #2 - In Haydn's style
    #3 - In formula classical era template
    #4 - patchwork quartet of some earlier composed material
    #5 - In Mozart's style
    #6 - Beethoven innovates on the traditional model

    https://www.thegreatcourses.com/cour...beethoven.html

    So which one do you like the best and why?
    Last edited by Olias; Mar-30-2018 at 16:27.

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Olias's Avatar
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    Over 70 views and no replies.....oh well, I guess no one is interested. Just ignore my lame attempt at a thread and move on.

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    It's not a lame attempt at a thread, it's just that if your attention is elsewhere, then it's hard to give all but the most superficial response. I like these quartets very much, certainly I like them more than the op 59 quartets. But I'm listening more to music by Elisabeth Jacquette de la Guerre than Ludwig van Beethoven right now, and so thinking about op 18s is a jolt about as welcome as a hair in your soup. Without listening to all six op 18s I couldn't say with any confidence why I like one over another, apart from mentioning performances I've heard which I've enjoyed, which is maybe not so interesting either for me to do or for you to read about.

    I can mention one thing. I once met a guy who I thought was a bit of a fool, who said that in his opinion the op 18s contained pre echoes of the late quartets. This same person denied that Beethoven made any essential musical development, he thought that the seeds of the late music are there in the early music. I think to prove his point he pointed to La Malinconia in op 18/6 - but I may be misremembering.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Mar-31-2018 at 18:15.

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  6. #4
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    My favorite is the lovely, lilting A Major, No. 5.
    Facts don't care about your feelings.

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  8. #5
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olias View Post
    I'm very partial to this set of string quartets and feel like they get overshadowed by the middle and late quartets. I'd like to know everyone's favorite of the set and perhaps discuss some of the individual pieces.

    In Robert Greenberg's lecture series of all 16 of Beethoven's quartets, he outlines the styles in which Beethoven was trying to emulate for each quartet. Interestingly, his least favorite in the set is my most favorite (the c minor quartet).

    Here is VERY basically how the quartets are viewed in the course.

    #1 - Beethoven innovates on the traditional model
    #2 - In Haydn's style
    #3 - In formula classical era template
    #4 - patchwork quartet of some earlier composed material
    #5 - In Mozart's style
    #6 - Beethoven innovates on the traditional model

    https://www.thegreatcourses.com/cour...beethoven.html

    So which one do you like the best and why?
    I don't know, but I think his publisher was wise to make the F-major no. 1, though it was not the first one composed chronologically, or so I've read. A formidable piece, unmistakably Beethoven.

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  10. #6
    Senior Member Melvin's Avatar
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    Quartet #4 in C minor is Robert Greenberg's least favorite or Beethoven's? Because it has always been my favorite and to me the one that stood out the most in this set. I haven't listened to these in a little while, but I used to listen to them frequently. I would like to re-examine these soon.

    Quote Originally Posted by fluteman View Post
    I don't know, but I think his publisher was wise to make the F-major no. 1, though it was not the first one composed chronologically, or so I've read. A formidable piece, unmistakably Beethoven.
    In these early pieces published in sets under a single opus, the numbering is not usually in chronological order, but they are usually arranged in a way so that the formal/more conservative pieces are presented first, and the more experimental and innovative pieces are grouped in the latter half: In Opus 18, #1-3 and #4-6 are divided as such. Or for example in opus 1, the third and final trio in the set is piece that is the most daring and progressive, while the first two would safely please the publisher and the buyer.

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    Senior Member Melvin's Avatar
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    I like #4 because its the most Beethoveny

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    Quote Originally Posted by Melvin View Post
    I like #4 because its the most Beethoveny
    Likewise. To my ears the C minor quartet anticipates the Rasumovsky Quartets, especially in it's almost "Russian" sounding last movement. Equally forward-looking, I feel, is Op. 18 No 5 in A, another huge favourite of mine.

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  15. #9
    Senior Member Olias's Avatar
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    For what its worth the order of composition for Opus 18 was 3 1 2 5 4 6

  16. #10
    Senior Member Olias's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melvin View Post
    Quartet #4 in C minor is Robert Greenberg's least favorite or Beethoven's? Because it has always been my favorite and to me the one that stood out the most in this set. I haven't listened to these in a little while, but I used to listen to them frequently. I would like to re-examine these soon.
    Yes, its one of the RARE times I've ever disagreed with Greenberg. He does lay out a good case for why the work is probably a hodgepodge of earlier compositions (especially the first two movements). Honestly, I don't care if it is "inferior" or not, I still like it a lot.

  17. #11
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    I like them enough to have two complete sets,and several other recordings of the works. I think that the Op.18 is important because they are Beethoven`s final thoughts about the "Classical Style". i don`t pay attention to signs of what is to come in the later Quartets, I just enjoy them for what they are .

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  19. #12
    Senior Member fluteman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Melvin View Post
    Quartet #4 in C minor is Robert Greenberg's least favorite or Beethoven's? Because it has always been my favorite and to me the one that stood out the most in this set. I haven't listened to these in a little while, but I used to listen to them frequently. I would like to re-examine these soon.



    In these early pieces published in sets under a single opus, the numbering is not usually in chronological order, but they are usually arranged in a way so that the formal/more conservative pieces are presented first, and the more experimental and innovative pieces are grouped in the latter half: In Opus 18, #1-3 and #4-6 are divided as such. Or for example in opus 1, the third and final trio in the set is piece that is the most daring and progressive, while the first two would safely please the publisher and the buyer.
    The op. 1 no. 3 Trio is very high on my list of favorites. It was interesting to read about the conservative-to-progressive approach you mentioned. I read that the F major was chosen as no. 1 because it was the longest, though no. 5 is about the same length. I think all six, though obviously very much based on Haydn's approach, progress far beyond Haydn, even at his most daring. The C minor quartet (no. 4) is to me an especially dramatic departure from Haydn into the kind of material one hears in all the rest of the quartets, even the final ones. So the conservative-to-progressive idea you discuss does make sense.

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  21. #13
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    I've always loved String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, especially for its beautifully lyrical and emotional second movement Adagio Affettuoso Ed Appassionato. That Beethoven wanted to create the setting from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet makes it especially appealing to me. I also really enjoy the fourth movement Allegro.

    A very close second choice of the six is No. 3 in D Major.

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    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

  23. #15
    Senior Member ProudSquire's Avatar
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    I'm only familiar with the C minor quartet from this set, which I like quite a lot. I find it highly enjoyable and bursting with frevor and energy. I just listend to the A major quartet, which was also a delight. I'll definitely have to explore this set a bit more in order to appreciate it. Good thing I have many recordings available, perhaps The Takács Quartet is where I'll start.
    "Trust Your Intuitive Moral Knowledge!"
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