Following the disbanding of the Cleveland Quartet in 1996, Telarc released their" Farewell Recording," featuring the debut of the String Quartet by Corigliano, commissioned by the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts for the farewell tour of the ensemble. Now pursuing individual careers, the members of the quartet completed their recording of the Beethoven string quartets during 1995 for Telarc.
The coupling on this release in the series features the last complete composition Beethoven wrote: the Quartet in F Major. At the age of fifty-five, the composer had no idea that this would be his final work. It differs from his other late quartets in that it is more staid and classical in overall style than, for example, the Opus 131. The work is famous for its inscription in the finale: "Muss es sein? Es muss sein!" (Must it be? It must be!), written following a musical amateur's request for the use of the parts for the Opus 130 quartet, for which Beethoven requested a fee. The gentleman is said to have moaned, "If it must be," whereupon Beethoven gleefully composed a canon on the words, "It must be! Yes, yes, out with your purse!"