Debussy's only string quartet, composed in 1893, was his first masterwork. Together with two further works from this creative period, Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune and Pelléas et Mélisande, the quartet established the composer's position as the rising star of the French music scene.
Discrepancies existed from the initial publication in 1894 between the score, corrected and seen into print by the composer and the parts, not corrected by him. At a later point, Debussy made a large number of corrections and alterations in a copy of the first edition; these alterations have been incorporated in this Bärenreiter Urtext edition.
This scholarly-critical edition utilises all sources including the composer's letters, which offer a valuable insight into the genesis of the composition.