Author Topic: Beethoven's String Quartets  (Read 107957 times)

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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #800 on: September 08, 2014, 05:55:11 PM »
I agree completely. Of the four sets I've heard (Alban Berg, Quartetto Italiano, Tokyo, Végh), the Alban Berg is the one I ended up buying. I'm mighty pleased with it.

Me too, assuming you're talking about the studio ABQ and not the live one.
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Offline Peter Power Pop

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #801 on: September 08, 2014, 07:10:52 PM »
Me too, assuming you're talking about the studio ABQ and not the live one.

Yep.

This is the set I bought:

« Last Edit: September 08, 2014, 11:59:46 PM by Peter Power Pop »

Offline Brian

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #802 on: September 08, 2014, 07:35:45 PM »
I also got Artemis, Endellion, and Vermeer for about $30, and the Budapest box should be available for around $25. The Tokyo String Quartet's first cycle, for RCA, is now under $15. Alexander Quartet's first cycle is $30. Haven't heard the Tokyo cycle, but it can't be that bad a starter kit.

Vermeer was how I got to learn all the quartets through Op. 95, and I was very happy with them. Also very happy with Artemis, Alexander II (which is pricier), and Prazak (again, pricier).

Offline Que

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #803 on: September 08, 2014, 10:00:53 PM »
Is this



the same as this series?



Given that the top set was recorded 1999-2003, largely in Super Audio and considering the jackets, ties and haircuts on the picture below, that seems highly unlikely. :)

I didn't like it that much BTW, that later set... ::)

Q
À chacun son goût.

Offline Wanderer

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #804 on: September 08, 2014, 10:42:01 PM »
Is this



the same as...

I don't know, but it's a quite magnificent set and deservedly praised.

Offline Chris L.

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #805 on: March 23, 2015, 10:24:36 AM »
I got this 10 CD set at Half Price Books for 40% off. It's on the Membran-NCA label and the discs are housed in a unique box with a lift off top. This style of box takes up more space but makes access to the discs easier. Although this set doesn't claim to be "complete" I'm assuming it is or pretty close to it. The sound quality on this was astounding for the price, at any price really. These are amongst the best sounding string quartet recordings I've heard. I don't have a lot to reference this against but I could easily live with this set if it were the only one I could have. It also includes a bonus interview disc of former members the Gewandhaus-Quartett and a CD-ROM with notes and text. Highly recommended!



« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 11:03:17 AM by Chris L. »

Offline Jo498

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #806 on: March 23, 2015, 10:44:21 AM »
The Gewandhaus-set is complete, it even includes Beethoven's own arrangement of the piano sonata op.14/1. It seems a very solid set.
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #807 on: March 23, 2015, 02:26:14 PM »
Haven't heard the Tokyo cycle, but it can't be that bad a starter kit.

It's not bad. Very smooth and creamy in tone, without (unlike the Italiani) making the quartets sound like Bruckner. You will not hear razor-sharp, hair-splitting accents here; to my mind their approach works best for an expansive work like op. 59/1, or the variations in 127. Best thing about it: they include both the op. 14/1 arrangement and the C major quintet (w/Pinchas Zukerman, at least this is true in the 3-box set version I have). Worst: they can be imprecise with the rhythms at times, most obviously in the intro to 127, where they fail to sustain the half notes for their full values (measure 3 comes across as 3/8 rather than 2/4, thus destroying the written syncopations, and this annoys me more each time I hear it). And in the big climax near the end of the Heiliger Dankgesang, they press forward too much, rather than sustaining the long chords in tempo.
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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #808 on: March 23, 2015, 04:25:01 PM »
Given that the top set was recorded 1999-2003, largely in Super Audio and considering the jackets, ties and haircuts on the picture below, that seems highly unlikely. :)

I didn't like it that much BTW, that later set... ::)

Q

The photos look like Year 1 BEFORE and Year 1 AFTER the fall of the iron curtain, actually. Reminds me a bit of Gregor Voss on Sprockets.

Offline Chris L.

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #809 on: March 23, 2015, 10:05:36 PM »
It's not bad. Very smooth and creamy in tone, without (unlike the Italiani) making the quartets sound like Bruckner. You will not hear razor-sharp, hair-splitting accents here; to my mind their approach works best for an expansive work like op. 59/1, or the variations in 127. Best thing about it: they include both the op. 14/1 arrangement and the C major quintet (w/Pinchas Zukerman, at least this is true in the 3-box set version I have). Worst: they can be imprecise with the rhythms at times, most obviously in the intro to 127, where they fail to sustain the half notes for their full values (measure 3 comes across as 3/8 rather than 2/4, thus destroying the written syncopations, and this annoys me more each time I hear it). And in the big climax near the end of the Heiliger Dankgesang, they press forward too much, rather than sustaining the long chords in tempo.
Whoa... that's way over my head! You obviously must be a musician. I wish I could convey what I like or don't like about a piece in that manner.

Offline amw

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #810 on: September 29, 2016, 06:25:40 AM »
one of the figures being a chart of the timings in the Heiliger Dankgesang from Op. 132. I remember that while the average timings were in the 15-18 minute range there was one recording (explicitly described as an outlier) which took something insane, like 22 minutes... but don't remember which recording that was.
Found it!!!

Weirdly mistagged on youtube and may not be available in your country:
<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/07s9CX3uHdY" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/07s9CX3uHdY</a>

It's the Concord Quartet on Vox and they take 21:36.

(This appears to be their approach in general—witness a 10+ minute slow movement to Borodin 2 on the same album. I certainly recommend hearing the Op. 132, at least as an experience.)
« Last Edit: September 29, 2016, 07:05:14 AM by amw »

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #811 on: August 10, 2017, 10:22:04 PM »
Are there metronome markings in the manuscript of op 132? If so, are they doable?

The reason I ask is that I've been listening to a concert recording of the quartet by LaSalle, from 1964, and it's very fast. To me, it was a revelation - I've not enjoyed this quartet so much before. And I'm wondering where they got the inspiration to play it like that, and whether anyone else does.

.

I also remember that there was a really fast Heiliger Dankgesang as another outlier, 12 minutes or so. I think that's the Leipzig Quartet on MDG but not 100% certain.

The LaSalle from 1964 is 12 minutes something - more bold than their studio recording. And Leipzig on MDG take a little under 13. Thanks for pointing it out.
« Last Edit: August 10, 2017, 10:41:27 PM by Mandryka »
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #812 on: August 10, 2017, 11:52:59 PM »
No, there are no metronome markings for any of the late quartets. The analogies/reconstructions from Kolisch and others point to a fairly fluid tempo for the Dankgesang because it seems of the same "choral" (and actually alla breve despite the 4/4 time signature) type as op.59/2, ii and the first section of the adagio of the 9th symphony. Both of which have the fairly quick marking of 60 for the quarter note (which is (ballpark) taken by some quartets in op.59 but rarely in the 9th symphony (only Norrington and Gielen are in the ballpark, I think). The rationale by Kolisch etc. for taking this quick tempo seriously is that it is actually 30 for half notes but Beethoven's metronome ended at 40 or 44.

I have heard the Leipzig Q in Konzert with that "quick" tempo and it is a different experience (never bothered to get their recording, though). Can't deny that I tend to fall for the slow luxuriating performances. But there are also some in between, often reducing vibrato to get an "otherworldly" archaic feeling in the beginning (afair Artemis and Hagen do something like that).
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline amw

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #813 on: August 11, 2017, 01:55:53 AM »
Quatuor Terpsycordes plays the opening without vibrato and on period instruments at a fairly flowing tempo (quarter note ≈ 50) which sounds more or less "right". Of course I evidently also have a weakness for slower tempi (albeit combined with austere & "archaic" phrasing/vibrato) with my favourite version being by the Belcea Quartet at quarter note ≈ 28.

It's possible that quick tempi would come from extrapolation from Beethoven's metronome marks for existing pieces, and the nascent authentic performance movement in the 1960s, but also there has always been a tradition of quick and incisive Beethoven performance from e.g. Toscanini, Szell, Schnabel, Gulda. I do not know enough about the LaSalle Quartet to judge.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #814 on: August 20, 2017, 08:28:15 AM »


Tokyo Quartet's second recording of op 132. There was a heated disagreement about these performances when they first came out in 2013 and I remember defending them vigorously. Scarpia thought that it was spoilt by a weak the cello: I don't concur with that objection. Going back to this op 132 now, I think it is so unbelievably melancholy and reflective, moving, I love it more now than then in fact. They even manage to make the whole thing work, including the repetitive second movement.

Of the quartets from 130 - 135, 132 seems the most conventional.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 08:30:15 AM by Mandryka »
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Offline Jo498

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #815 on: August 20, 2017, 09:39:10 AM »
Really? op.135 is more conventional on the surface (op.127 as well). Of course it is almost impossible in 1826 to be more excentric than op.131. The overall form of op.132 is fairly conventional (only compared to the environment of Late Beethoven) but the movements themselves not at all. The first movement is quite strange, it has the unique feature of basically two recapitulations with the first of them being in the wrong (dominant) key.  And the alla marcia - recitative - finale sequence must have appeared rather excentric at its time, and the finale has also passages that are extraordinarily violent (2 vs. 3 rhythms + jarring dissonances in a fairly extended passage in the development)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #816 on: August 20, 2017, 10:34:12 PM »
Really? op.135 is more conventional on the surface (op.127 as well). Of course it is almost impossible in 1826 to be more excentric than op.131. The overall form of op.132 is fairly conventional (only compared to the environment of Late Beethoven) but the movements themselves not at all. The first movement is quite strange, it has the unique feature of basically two recapitulations with the first of them being in the wrong (dominant) key.  And the alla marcia - recitative - finale sequence must have appeared rather excentric at its time, and the finale has also passages that are extraordinarily violent (2 vs. 3 rhythms + jarring dissonances in a fairly extended passage in the development)

Yes you may be right about op 135. But I really wanted to thank you for the comment of op 132/iv, it's a movement I haven't paid enough attention to,  i always wondered why the final dance at the end appeared so bitter to me, ironic.
« Last Edit: August 20, 2017, 10:36:48 PM by Mandryka »
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