Dedicated to Prince Franz Joseph von Lobkowitz, String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18, No. 1 was finished on June 25, 1799 with some revisions thereafter. Beethoven initially felt it to be a work in progress and commented that he had not yet “learned to write quartets properly”. Despite his perfectionism, only minor changes were made after the premier performance.
Compositionally, this work is best aligned with the string quartets of Mozart and Haydn – two of Beethoven’s largest influences; however, a seasoned listener can feel his strain against the established norms of the classical period. The opening motive of the first movement is a six-note turn that was originally heard over 130 times throughout the movement. The composer later scaled this number down to 109 in subsequent revisions. It follows closely to a sonata allegro form and, with the exception of his typical dramatic dynamic changes, follows the patterns established by his predecessors.
– Joshua Mietz (Arranger)
Solo Parts Included: Clarinets 1-3, Bass Clarinet