The renowned American music magazine Fanfare called our first cpo production featuring Gaetano Donizetti’s string quartets »a compelling demonstration on behalf of some of the most dazzling works of the quartet literature.« Now the Pleyel Quartet of Cologne, which during the course of its existence has gained fame above all for its rediscoveries of forgotten masterpieces of the string quartet literature, presents three more quartets by the Bergamo master – his early Quartets Nos. 1-3. Performed on original instruments, these quartets develop a special tonal appeal and offer astonishing examples of Donizetti’s compositional talent and special music feel. Since they are obliged to an older ideal, they combine seriousness and delightful sound; both technically and musically, demanding and entertaining elements maintain a balance. According to a friend’s memoirs, Donizetti wrote his first six string quartets at his desk, with the greatest concentration and without the assistance of the piano. On the one hand, they reflect impulses and influences from the Viennese quartet literature and from the Parisian quatuor concertant. On the other hand, they also show just how astonishingly quickly Donizetti was increasingly able to develop mastery while working with his models and contributing his own ideas.