"The playing is highly polished and technically impeccable, phrases tend to be long and tempos correspondingly lively...If you're collecting the Cleveland series, this is a worthy volume." —American Record Guide
Beethoven was in no hurry to debut as a composer of string quartets. He almost certainly hesitated to compete directly with his teacher, Haydn, and the late Mozart, who had created unsurpassed models of the medium However, his first six quartets, published as Opus 18 in 1801, showed he had thoroughly absorbed the achievement of Haydn and Mozart—the conversational independence of the four instruments, the combination within a single work or even a single movement of lyricism, drama, wit and suspense. Opus 18 was, in every way, homage to what had rather quickly become a great tradition of string quartet writing.
Opus 18 marks the end of the first stage of Beethoven's involvement with the medium: an involvement that was to last, on and off, for the rest of his life.