The two quartets on this recording, both first works in the genre for their respective composers, are nonetheless a vivid study in contrasts which illuminate much about the composers themselves. The string quartet as a medium was one upon which Beethoven, with his sixteen canonical works in the genre, had cast a long and imposing shadow which would stretch over the course of the 19th century and beyond. Both Debussy and Brahms were acutely aware of the heightened stakes in approaching this of all forms of chamber music; and it was here that Debussy, on the cusp of his career, revealed seeds of the highly inventive sensibility that would revolutionize French music at the turn of the 20th century, while an already well established Brahms sought to make his mark on this daunting medium firmly within the terms of the Germanic musical tradition which had held pre-eminence in Europe over the past century. Since their founding in 1994, the Ceruti String Quartet has brought chamber music to audiences of all ages in performances described as spirited, richly colorful and intimately poetic. Named for the influential Italian violin maker Giovanni Battista Ceruti (1756 1817), they have presented recitals in such venues as Weill Recital Hall, Goethe-Institut in New York, National Assembly in Seoul, Ford Center in Mississippi, Peace Center for the Arts in South Carolina and Teatro Santa Isabel in Recife, Brazil. The Quartet has been featured artists for the Memphis Chamber Music Society, Bechstein Hall Concert Series in Arkansas and the Fine Arts Center and Governor s School for the Arts in South Carolina. In addition to concertizing, they are dedicated to fostering interest in chamber music in the next generation of audiences and musicians through teaching-performing residencies in Tennessee, South Carolina, Michigan, Georgia and New York. The members of the Ceruti Quartet, violinists Soh-Hyun Park Altino and Timothy Shiu, violist Lenny Schranze and cellist Leonardo Altino, are members of the string faculty at the Rudi E. Scheidt School of Music at the University of Memphis, where they also direct the string chamber music program. In the summer, the Ceruti members serve on the faculty of the Masterworks Festival and Interlochen Center for the Arts. They have collectively pursued individual studies at the Cleveland Institute of Music, Eastman School of Music, New England Conservatory, Peabody Institute of Music, Juilliard, Yale University and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and in Germany at the Detmold Musikhochschulle. Ceruti members have worked with such esteemed pedagogues as Aldo Parisot, Donald Weilerstein, Dorothy Delay, Heidi Castleman, Max Aronoff and Joseph Fuchs.