Author Topic: Beethoven's String Quartets  (Read 121139 times)

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Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #20 on: July 15, 2007, 11:04:26 AM »
Marvin, considering the technical and emotional complexity of these works, your appreciation of them is bound the develop in stages. First the stage in which you get to know and explore them. Then you'll develop ideas on how you would like to hear them. And then begins the quest for the recording that matches that best!

Highly improbable that you'd hit the right recording for years to come in just one go.
Buying a solid performance that is very modestly priced, just to get " the feel" of these works first, therefore seems the best option to me.

Q

  Que its good to hear from you...the last time you and I talked we were involved in 3 party discussions with 71dB over the Bach Cantatas  :).  I spent a lot of time today doing research and popped over  to HMV today in the London rain to check some prices out and also checked amazon.co.uk.  You and PerfectWagnerite raise some interesting points- it is very difficult at this moment for me to make a decision and the high prices of many of the sets do not make this easy.  The only place that I know where I can sample various music sets is Virgin Records who have facilities for this....thats where I am off to next week after work.  I am keeping my options wide open, I am well aware of how personal tastes develop with repeated listenings (I ran into a similar situation with the many Wagner Ring Cycle recordings on the market- I have 3 complete Ring Cycles  ::) ).   

PerfectWagnerite: Thanks for the link to the Alban Berg review PerfectWagnerite.

  marvin



Offline Bogey

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #23 on: July 15, 2007, 05:40:29 PM »
The Alban Berg review:
here

The Vegh review:

here

I haven't heard the Vegh but as far as the ABQ goes, the playing is simply stupendous. Lyrical and powerful, every stringendo frighteningly real, and tonal beauty and dynamic contrast that defy the imagination. As your FIRST complete set it just makes sense. Now you can spend twice that much and get the Vegh and then decide: Uh, I don't like this music. At least with the ABQ you only wasted $25. I haven't heard the Vegh but members here laud it so I am sure it is a magnificent set. But I just don't believe it makes sense as an introduction to spend 2x the price of the ABQ.



Looks as though the ABQ would be a very nice second set for me based on your review and the price then PW....I will look into it.
« Last Edit: July 15, 2007, 05:47:33 PM by Bogey »
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Offline Bogey

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #24 on: July 15, 2007, 05:46:11 PM »
Here are two old PMs that helped me decide on the Vegh from DavidW.  I believe I posted them before, but thought it worthwhile to unearth them again:


It might be very annoying to read my posts on Beethoven SQs because on most of the threads I just get into brawls with other posters.   What can I say, I'm a jerk!

Fast--
Smetana Q (supraphon) but you have to get these from Japan!
Juilliard Q-- you have to get the whole box set to get these I think
Talich Q-- again I think you'd have to get the whole box set

Slow--
Vegh Q (second set, stereo) oh no another box set!

That's for the late quartets, for the middle ones that you're missing I suggest the Takacs Quartet.  If you go for the Juilliard Quartet they're just as good IMO.  Also I like the Vegh Quartet there as well, they are on the slower side though.

and this one:

For Supraphon they only did only one of the early quartets.  So if you want the Smetana Quartet, you don't have much of a choice there.  I haven't heard the denon recordings myself.

My favs for the earlies are Vegh Q and Takacs Q.

You get the pattern I have here-- if you don't need speed, the Vegh Quartet's emotional depth is profound.   The Takacs Quartet are exceptional, but swift.  They are perhaps the most modern cycle.   Like Todd I like what they (Takacs) did with the late quartets, but there is so much fantastic competition (at a lower price I might add!) that I have clear favorites above them.  However they are nearly unbeatable compared to even older recordings in all of the other quartets imo.
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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #25 on: July 15, 2007, 07:01:23 PM »
Looks as though the ABQ would be a very nice second set for me based on your review and the price then PW....I will look into it.

I've had my eye on that one, too. I still would like to get to know my Juilliard set first.

Offline Bogey

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #26 on: July 15, 2007, 07:04:53 PM »
I've had my eye on that one, too. I still would like to get to know my Juilliard set first.

Good evening George,
Before I get another SQ set, I believe the Kempff mono PS set would come first....then on to the SQ's.  However, I am also interested in the Végh mono, though I do not believe it is complete.
There will never be another era like the Golden Age of Hollywood.  We didn't know how to blow up buildings then so we had no choice but to tell great stories with great characters.-Ben Mankiewicz

George

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #27 on: July 15, 2007, 07:08:22 PM »
Good evening George,
Before I get another SQ set, I believe the Kempff mono PS set would come first....then on to the SQ's.  However, I am also interested in the Végh mono, though I do not believe it is complete.

Evening, Bill.

I believe the price is right on the mono Vegh.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #28 on: July 15, 2007, 09:21:55 PM »
Whatever group you decide to go with don't make the mistake of passing on the early quartets. They need not suffer in comparison to the other quartets.

Yes, they may appear to be 'throwbacks' to the classical era but they really aren't. Just listen with a critical ear you'll discover how original they really are. Beethoven could bring it home even at this early date.

As far as recs for the early quartets I'm partial to a hard-to-find set on Supraphon from the late 60's: the Vlach Quartet (not to be confused with a similarly named group on Naxos). They have a bit of the 'romantic' in their blood, with somewhat broad pacing (their set takes up three CD's!), but Beethoven gets a thorough going-over and it's impossible to criticize their taste.

BTW, the Takacs Quartet makes a fine alternative for the Op.18's...




« Last Edit: August 24, 2009, 09:46:37 PM by Que »
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #29 on: July 16, 2007, 02:49:38 AM »
Whatever group you decide to go with don't make the mistake of passing on the early quartets. They need not suffer in comparison to the other quartets.

Yes, they may appear to be 'throwbacks' to the classical era but they really aren't. Just listen with a critical ear you'll discover how original they really are. Beethoven could bring it home even at this early date.


  Thanks donwyn, I have already decided to go for a complete set.  The transition from the classical era into the Romantic or rather early romantic era is what I look for in all of Beethoven's works: Symphonies, Piano Sonatas, Piano Conecrtos etc.  Beethoven was revolutionary in almost all genres.  I would be very interested in hearing what he does with his chamber music (string quartets).  I felt compelled to ask if the earlier SQ were worth knowing because sometimes with some composers one can afford to pass on their earlier works.

  marvin

  PS: I am surprised to learn how many Beethoven fans are not familiar with the Alban Berg String Quartet recording.

Offline 71 dB

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #30 on: July 16, 2007, 03:09:11 AM »
I don't give a rat's ass to "mono Vegh" etc.

I am 100 % happy with Kodály Quartet on Naxos.

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Mark

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #32 on: July 16, 2007, 04:02:27 AM »
FWIW, Marvin, I have this set (which can be had fairly cheaply):

Beethoven's Complete String Quartets

In good, stereo sound (from the late '60s, I believe - there are samples on the page I linked to), the set can be had from as little as £15 if you Google around. I like this set a lot - it's been a terrific introduction. Not sure yet which alternative set (or sets) I'll someday pick up.

Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #33 on: July 16, 2007, 05:05:51 AM »
FWIW, Marvin, I have this set (which can be had fairly cheaply):

Beethoven's Complete String Quartets

In good, stereo sound (from the late '60s, I believe - there are samples on the page I linked to), the set can be had from as little as £15 if you Google around. I like this set a lot - it's been a terrific introduction. Not sure yet which alternative set (or sets) I'll someday pick up.

  Great and it has links to sample as well  :). Thanks Mark.

  marvin

Offline mjwal

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #34 on: July 23, 2007, 05:33:36 AM »
Looking at this thread I find no surprises, and I certainly agree with the recommendation of the (studio) Juilliard Qt recording, though I am indifferent to the comparable technical polish of the Berg, rate the Vegh (st) very highly & get great pleasure from the Talich. Yet I imprinted on the Busch late quartets and had despaired of finding another interpretation as searching & profound when I recently discovered the Hungarian Qt's 1953 recording of them going for a song on Andromeda. You owe it to yourself to get this as a supplement, whichever boxed set you acquire.
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Offline marvinbrown

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #35 on: July 23, 2007, 09:14:48 AM »
Looking at this thread I find no surprises, and I certainly agree with the recommendation of the (studio) Juilliard Qt recording, though I am indifferent to the comparable technical polish of the Berg, rate the Vegh (st) very highly & get great pleasure from the Talich. Yet I imprinted on the Busch late quartets and had despaired of finding another interpretation as searching & profound when I recently discovered the Hungarian Qt's 1953 recording of them going for a song on Andromeda. You owe it to yourself to get this as a supplement, whichever boxed set you acquire.

  Thanks for the tip on the Hungarian Qt's 1953 recording.  I already purchased the Berg set, it seemed like a good place to start.  I know I will acquire more recordings over the years...its nice to have a reference thread to go back to.

  marvin

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #36 on: September 22, 2007, 04:13:15 PM »
Any reason why these guys haven't been mentioned in this thread (until now ;D)?


Probably because the competition in this repertoire is overwhelmingly fierce.

Either that or indifference.

For me after living for years with some of the finer sets out there (Vegh stereo in particular) I don't feel particularly compelled to seek out any other recordings. :) 

I guess I'm satisfied enough with what I have: Vegh, bits from Takacs, Vlach, Hollywood, Hagen, Yale.

Have any of these crossed your path, Mark?



Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

George

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #37 on: September 22, 2007, 04:16:10 PM »
Probably because the competition in this repertoire is overwhelmingly fierce.

Either that or indifference.

For me after living for years with some of the finer sets out there (Vegh stereo in particular) I don't feel particularly compelled to seek out any other recordings. :) 

What he said.  :)

And imagine Mark, just how good a set of Beethoven's SQ would have to be to accomplish this seemingly impossible task. They are that good. 

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #38 on: September 22, 2007, 04:18:54 PM »
And imagine Mark, just how good a set of Beethoven's SQ would have to be to accomplish this seemingly impossible task. They are that good. 

Words of wisdom, George! ;D



Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

George

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #39 on: September 22, 2007, 04:19:53 PM »
Words of wisdom, George! ;D

Backed up by David W, Peregrine and Bogey.  :)

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