Jerusalem Quartet records the Beethoven opus 18 string quartets: "aristocratic but not stiff"
Even Ludwig van Beethoven suffered from debutant anxiety. Haydn and Mozart had already delivered masterful string quartets, but he, in his twenties, had not yet achieved anything in this genre. Only in 1789 after a patron ordered six quartets did Beethoven dip his pen in the ink.
With the opus 18 quartets he immediately placed himself at the very top. Just listen how Beethoven revitalizes a corny dance form, a minuet, in the fourth quartet. Notice how he starts the last movement of the sixth quartet: brooding, searching, entirely in the spirit of the gloomy titel 'La Malinconia' (melancholy).
The Jerusalem Quartet, one of the best string quartets of our time, play Beethoven aristocraticly, but they never become stiff. The Israelis pleat the melodies with care, without being prim. Call it authentic 18th century: a civilized conversation without avoiding the riscs.
VOLKSKRANT Guido van Oorschot, 19 Augustus 2015