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Beethoven: Early String Quartets, Op 18 / Quartetto Italiano


Release Date: 08/14/2007 
Label:  Philips   Catalog #: 000943402   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 2 Hours 43 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews



BEETHOVEN String Quartets: Nos. 1–6 Qrt Italiano PHILIPS 475 8252 (3 CDs: 163:01)


"Recorded in the early to mid 1970s, the Quartetto Italiano’s Beethoven cycle has long been among the most consistently satisfying and important contributions to the recording annals of these works. In and out of the domestic catalogs many times over the years, it has never actually been deleted or unavailable in one form or another, though there was a time when it could be obtained only as an expensive import item. As of Read more this writing, it is still available in a 10-CD boxed set of the complete quartets, and the late quartets can still be had in two separate Philips two-fer sets costing a dollar or two less than this latest incarnation in a three-disc box. In whatever format you choose, however, if Beethoven’s string quartets matter to you, your collection should not be without these recordings. The Philips originals still have a place of pride in my own collection.


The Italiano’s sound is, in a word, plummy. The effect is achieved through taking long bows, applying even pressure, and holding notes to the end of their full metric values, resulting in a smooth, seamless texture. The impression this creates is one of slower than expected tempos; and indeed, many movements tend towards the slow side compared to what we hear today from contemporary ensembles. The impression, however, can be an illusion; for in some movements that seem a bit slow, comparison with other ensembles and against Beethoven’s metronome markings prove that the Italiano’s tempos are as brisk as they need to be. Listen, for example, to the Scherzo from the F-Major Quartet, op. 18/1. Again, the impression is created by the homogenized smoothness and carefully regulated phrasing that were hallmarks of these players.


Intonation and ensemble balance are impeccable throughout; and the matter of tempos aside, interpretively the Italiano’s readings, especially in the slow movements, probe Beethoven’s otherworldly reveries with rapt concentration..."

FANFARE: Jerry Dubins
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Works on This Recording

1. Quartet for Strings no 1 in F major, Op. 18 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
Written: 1798/1800 
2. Quartet for Strings no 2 in G major, Op. 18 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
Written: 1798/1800 
3. Quartet for Strings no 3 in D major, Op. 18 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
Written: 1798/1800 
4. Quartet for Strings no 4 in C minor, Op. 18 no 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
Written: 1798/1800 
5. Quartet for Strings no 5 in A major, Op. 18 no 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
Period: Classical 
Written: 1798/1800 
6. Quartet for Strings no 6 in B flat major, Op. 18 no 6 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quartetto Italiano
Written: 1798/1800 

Sound Samples

String Quartet No.1 in F, Op.18 No.1: 1. Allegro con brio
String Quartet No.1 in F, Op.18 No.1: 2. Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato
String Quartet No.1 in F, Op.18 No.1: 3. Scherzo (Allegro molto)
String Quartet No.1 in F, Op.18 No.1: 4. Allegro
String Quartet No.2 in G, Op.18 No.2: 1. Allegro
String Quartet No.2 in G, Op.18 No.2: 2. Adagio cantabile - Allegro - Tempo I
String Quartet No.2 in G, Op.18 No.2: 3. Scherzo (Allegro)
String Quartet No.2 in G, Op.18 No.2: 4. Allegro molto, quasi presto
String Quartet No.3 in D, Op.18 No.3: 1. Allegro
String Quartet No.3 in D, Op.18 No.3: 2. Andante con moto
String Quartet No.3 in D, Op.18 No.3: 3. Allegro
String Quartet No.3 in D, Op.18 No.3: 4. Presto
String Quartet No.4 in C minor, Op.18 No.4: 1. Allegro ma non tanto
String Quartet No.4 in C minor, Op.18 No.4: 2. Andante scherzoso, quasi allegretto
String Quartet No.4 in C minor, Op.18 No.4: 3. Menuetto (Allegretto)
String Quartet No.4 in C minor, Op.18 No.4: 4. Allegro

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