Beethoven - String Quartets 1 to 6
Haydn - String Quartet in E flat, Op.76/6
Again, this list isn't exactly a lot to look at! But it did mean I finally listened to all of Beethoven's Opus 18 string quartets, as I had been planning to do for three months in a row.
And in fact the one that I hadn't listened to for the longest period, No.6, turned out to be one of my favourites. I really must try to remember that in future. But they're all enjoyable works. Full of Beethoven's energy, and at a stage in the 'early' phase of his career where you can really hear the increasing confidence. I can well believe that publishing a group of 6 quartets was a conscious effort to put himself on the same terms as previous masters like Haydn and Mozart. At the very least, publishing things in a group of 6 was a long-established practice at this point for producing a complete, satisfying set and displaying a range of moods.
In a sense, Beethoven is still learning what he can do. But he is picking up the lessons very rapidly, and it won't be long before he is really pushing the boundaries of music.