Beginner Quartet Listener

January 3, 2005 at 08:01 PM · Recently bought Beethoven's Quartets No. 14 in C# minor. Really beautiful, quite dark and sorrow most time.

Any other of his or other composer's Quartets worth listening to?

Replies (25)

January 3, 2005 at 08:47 PM · You bet. Almost all of the Beethoven Quartets, particularly middle and late (from opus 59 on) are very much worth listening too, as are many of the late Haydn (particularly opus 76 and 77) and much of Mozart's output.

January 3, 2005 at 10:25 PM · i'd get the cleveland quartet recording of the complete beethoven. Its a very good place to start. there are many other good recordings too but somehow i feel that is a first good one. after that i'd check out brahms and debussy and ravel and such. for debussy and ravel i'd go with the last julliard one.

January 3, 2005 at 10:30 PM · Mendelssohn Quartets are great!

January 3, 2005 at 11:56 PM · Greetings,

William, although they are established works, in a funny kind of way I often think the power and depth of Haydn quartets isseriosuly underestimated. They have a sort of habit of being used as warming up for the more meaty stuff. But take a listen to for example , the slow movement of op 76 no.5 played by the hungarian ( my fave) or any of the op 76 quartets. That is a good place to begin I think.



January 4, 2005 at 12:51 AM · Schubert's Death and the Maiden and Dvorak's American Quartet are always fun to listen to.

January 4, 2005 at 01:04 AM · I think Quartets were Haydn's speciality. I believe the melody for the German national anthem is taken from the one of his quartets (correct me if I'm wrong).

Mozart also wrote some good ones, even though he hated writing for quartets.

January 4, 2005 at 01:25 AM · My first quartets I listened to was Tchaikowsky, where D. Oistrakh played the 1st violin part. I was really impressed. Also, try Schostakovich played by Borodin's Quartet (if you understand this music).

January 4, 2005 at 06:25 AM · Greetings,

Shostakovitch 8 is perhaps the most accessible although I love them all. It is a kind of programmatic represenattion of the bombing of Dresden and can be emotionally very disturbing to either play or listen to at times,



PS Rita, you might explore the Fitzwilliam Shostakovitch recordings too if you have the energy.

January 4, 2005 at 07:56 AM · Thank you, Buri. I have lots of energy (good energy:) and since I am a big fan of Schostakovich I'll look forward to listen to these recordings.

January 4, 2005 at 02:17 PM · Phil -- you are correct. "Deutschland Uber Alles" comes from the second movement of Haydn's Emperor

Quartet (I think it is one of the opus 77 quartets).

January 4, 2005 at 04:43 PM · Nope, Tom, Op.76.

January 4, 2005 at 08:46 PM · late Haydn, any of the Mozart "six quartets ded. to Haydn," any of Beethoven op. 18.

THEN, Beethoven op, 59#3,

Op. 127, and Grosse Fuge.

THEN Schubert #14or#15,

Borodin #2, Debussy and Ravel (only wrote one each)

THEN Bartok #3, #5 or #6,

Shostakovich #8, maybe some Elliot Carter....just my 2 cents worth.

January 4, 2005 at 09:26 PM · The two from Borodin are nice.

January 4, 2005 at 10:57 PM · For quartets, having done intense study of the Haydn quartets, I am highly partial to all of them. Simply an extraordinary outpu from beginning to end. It all begins with him, and I still think that it is a great starting point IMHO!


January 5, 2005 at 03:58 AM · i totally agree with you christian, i'm not sure if they measure up to the genius of beethoven but he maintained a startling level of excellency considering how many of them he wrote.

January 5, 2005 at 05:49 AM · Thanks for the recommendations.

I see most of you have recommended Haydn's quartet. Haydn is considered "the father oof quartet", is that right?

January 5, 2005 at 06:34 AM · yeah, but beethoven is the god.

January 5, 2005 at 07:45 AM · Exactly Owen.


January 5, 2005 at 09:04 AM · Greetings,

who is the godfather of the quartet world?

(Probably that Swedish dude...)



January 5, 2005 at 05:34 PM · Robert Mann is da man.

January 5, 2005 at 07:57 PM · he's teaching a masterclass in april, i think he might play too. amazing.

January 5, 2005 at 09:54 PM · I had the pleasure of seeing and hearing the "Takacs Quartet" late last year. I have to say I was quite impressed with their performance and range of repetoire.

They get glowing reviews for their Beethoven quartets... however the one composer whom they really made me take notice of was Dvorak. In particular Op. 96 "American" (A bit of a crowd pleaser) was very good.

They're certainly worth checking out if you want to hear a good range of quartet music from Mozart to Bartok.

January 5, 2005 at 10:42 PM · i still like the American, whether or not it is a geat piece of music. Its not nearly as bad as some things.

January 5, 2005 at 11:09 PM · Yeah I like the "American" too. I don't know if it's a great piece of music or not. All I know is that I like it, and all my friends who are new to classical music like it too. If Beethoven is God of the quartets, then I nominate Dvorak as an Arch-angel.

January 5, 2005 at 11:20 PM · Less often performed is the American quintet. That's a nice one as well.

I also recommend Beethoven's op. 18 quartets. They have this wonderful dramatic appeal and I believe that they, along with Schubert's rosamunde, were some of the first quartets I'd ever heard.

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