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GREAT COMPOSITIONS/PERFORMANCES: Beethoven – String Quartet No.2 in G major, Op.18 – Végh Quartet – 1952


Beethoven – String Quartet No.2 in G major, Op.18 – Végh Quartet – 1952

Ludwig van Beethoven: The Early String Quartets, Opus 18
String Quartet No. 2 in G major, Op. 18, No. 2
(Streichquartett Nr. 2 in G-dur, Op. 18, Nr. 2)

I. Allegro
II. Adagio cantabile — Allegro — Tempo I
III. Scherzo. Allegro
IV. Allegro molto, quasi presto

Végh Quartet
Sándor Végh, 1st violin
Sándor Zöldy, 2nd violin
Georges Janzer, viola
Paul Szabo, violoncello

The 1952 Haydn Society Recordings


The String Quartet No. 2 in G major, op. 18, No. 2, was written by Ludwig van Beethoven between 1798 and 1800 and published in 1801.

Of the Op. 18 string quartets, this one is the most grounded in 18th-century musical tradition.[1] According to Steinberg, “In German-speaking countries, the graceful curve of the first violin’s opening phrase has earned the work the nickname of Komplimentier-Quartett, which might be translated as ‘quartet of bows and curtseys’.”[2]

The nickname may have originated from one of Haydn’s last string quartets written about the same time (Op. 77, No. 1; 1799), which was also known as the Komplimentier-Quartett. Haydn was Beethoven’s teacher at the time, and there are similarities in style between the two quartets. They are also both in the key of G major.[3]

After he finished the quartet, Beethoven was not satisfied with the second movement and wrote a replacement. Sketches of the original slow movement survive and a complete version has been reconstructed by musicologist Barry Cooper.[4] It was performed publicly, possibly for the first time, by the Quatuor Danel in the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall at the Martin Harris Centre, University of Manchester, on 30 September 2011.


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