In 1799 Ludwig van Beethoven made the acquaintance of the widow and daughters of the Count of Brunswick and was soon, as the teacher of the two young Countesses, an honoured guest at their country estate. At the instigation of her mother, Countess Josephine married Count Joseph Deym, the owner of the waxworks museum for whom Mozart had written his three pieces for mechanical organ. Beethoven himself was interested in all sorts of musical automata and wrote three pieces especially for the Count’s collection. The composer was particularly concerned with string quartet writing at this time, bringing to fruition the Six String Quartets, Op 18. The arching melodic lines of the Adagio in F major
suggest a quartet slow movement, while the high degree of ornamentation betrays it as a work not originally designed for human hands.
from notes by Stephen Westrop © 1998