The Shanghai Quartet is an ensemble of impressive technical suppleness and tremendous tonal depth that caresses as much as it performs Beethoven's first three string quartets. The tonal beauty of the playing recalls the Quartetto Italiano's recordings of the same works, recordings that are not to all tastes in this repertoire for that very reason: the emphasis on tonal beauty sometimes obscures more essential aspects of the music. But, before writing the Shanghai Quartet off as being too unrelentingly exquisite, make sure to sample the intensely expressive Adagio affettuuoso ed appassionto from the F major Quartet, or the silly Scherzo from the G major Quartet, or their witty Presto from the D major Quartet. There is more to the Shanghai's performances than simply beauty. Recorded in 2006 in Iwafune Cosmos Hall in Tochigi, Japan, Camerata's digital sound is clear and very close.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
|String Quartet No. 1 in F major, Op. 18/1|
|String Quartet No. 2 in G major ("Compliments"), Op. 18/2|
|String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 18/3|