- String Quartet No. 7 in F major ("Rasumovsky 1"), Op. 59/1
- String Quartet No. 6 in B flat major, Op. 18/6
Philips' early '70s stereo recordings of the Quartetto Italiano playing Beethoven's string quartets were considered classics in their day both in terms of performance and sound. The Italiano's performances were judged poised but passionate, opulent in sonority but objective in interpretation, and Philips' sound was deemed wholly present but ineffably transparent with an ideal balance between instruments and an uncanny sense of place and time. In this 2008 PentaTone reissue of the Italiano's "F major Quartet Op. 59/1" and "B flat major Quartet Op. 18/6," the performances, naturally, remain unchanged, but the sound, miraculously, is even better. Though originally recorded in quadraphonic, these performances have heretofore only been issued in stereo. Here, however, the original quadraphonic sound is released for the first time and the results are little less than astonishing. Before, the sound was transparent with an uncanny sense of place and time; now the sound is essentially translucent with the listener placed right in the middle of the Italians. One can only hope that PentaTone will release more of Philips' Quartetto Italiano recordings.