6 Струнных квартетов Op. 18

Время создания: лето-осень 1798 - лето-осень 1800 гг.
Посв. князю Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz, 1798

The six String Quartets op. 18 were written between the years 1798 and 1800. They were a first for Beethoven: up till then he had not dared to write anything for this genre. He had already written numerous chamber music works, also for different groups of stringed instruments. But he first ventured to compose something for string quartet, the genre in which Mozart and Haydn had shone, at a relatively late stage, at a time when he had already written about half his works for piano. Beethoven was commissioned to write the quartets in autumn or winter 1798/99 by Prince Franz Joseph Maximilian von Lobkowitz. The sequence of the quartets was a different one to the one we know today. In late autumn 1798 Beethoven began with the third quartet in D major, completing it at the beginning of 1799. Between January and March he wrote the first quartet in F major, followed by the second one in G major, which he probably finished in May of the same year. He delivered a copy of the first three quartets to Prince Lobkowitz probably at the beginning of October. According to the sketches he began work on the fifth quartet in A major right after completing the first three quartets, but stopped to continue working on other compositions. The quartet was, however, finished in autumn 1799. Afterwards he wrote the fourth quartet in C minor and then finally the sixth quartet in B-flat major, which he composed in spring or summer 1800. It was in this summer that he also made a thorough revision of the first three quartets and presented all six Quartets op. 18 to Prince Lobkowitz in October 1800.


Beethoven devoted his first years in Vienna to mastering the genres popular in that city. Before turning to the string quartet, he wrote piano sonatas, string trios, duo sonatas for piano and violin or cello, and short songs and opera arias. No doubt Beethoven's apparent trepidation when approaching the string quartet medium was a result of the immense shadow cast by Haydn, whose opp. 71 and 73 were composed in 1793, the year Beethoven began to study with the older master. Haydn published his Six "Erdödy" Quartets, op. 76 in 1797, and his two quartets of op. 77 in 1799. To prepare himself for his eventual foray into the genre, Beethoven studied the works of others. In particular, he copied Haydn's op. 20, no. 1 in 1793-94, and Mozart's K. 387 and 464 while he was beginning work on op. 18 The quartets were published 1801 in Vienna, in two sets of three by Mollo & Co. They were not written in their published order, but rather Nos. 3, 1, 2, 5, 4, and 6.

The number of quartets comprising his op. 18 is but one of Beethoven's nods to tradition, for sets usually included six works. Also, in Nos. 2 and 5, Beethoven seems to confront his predecessors directly, and as a result, moves to another level of composition In his op. 18 quartets we find Beethoven both mastering the styles of his predecessors and forging into new territory. For instance, the independence of the four parts is much greater than in the works of his predecessors, which may be attributable to the fact that Beethoven developed his skills during a time freed from the hitherto ubiquitous basso continuo. Despite the numerous recent models, and despite the fact that the String Quartets, op. 18, are clearly a product of their time, they could not have been written by any composer other than Beethoven. Dedicated to Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz, the six quartets of op. 18 constitute Beethoven's most ambitious project of his early Vienna years.

Подробнее о №1 фа мажор, Op. 18 №1
Подробнее о №2 соль мажор, Op. 18 №2
Подробнее о №3 ре мажор, Op. 18 №3
Подробнее о №4 до минор, Op. 18 №4
Подробнее о №5 ля мажор, Op. 18 №5
Подробнее о №6 си-бемоль мажор, Op. 18 №6

(John Palmer, Rovi)