Author Topic: Beethoven's String Quartets  (Read 124950 times)

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Offline The One

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #880 on: December 25, 2017, 10:00:09 AM »
Today, I couldn't stopped myself from playing Mosaiques' 131 over and over again. Will try to find a fault tomorrow.  ???

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #881 on: December 25, 2017, 02:42:54 PM »
Today, I couldn't stop myself from playing Mosaiques' 131 over and over again. Will try to find a fault tomorrow.  ???


 ;D

Or just keep playing. I can totally understand ya.


Offline Herman

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #882 on: December 26, 2017, 05:16:30 AM »
In the big survey the second cycle by the Alexander SQ is characterized as "essentially a fancy promotional issue on behalf of their instrument builder," adding the Seinfeldian "Not that there is anything wrong with that."

In that case the Budapest Library of Congress recordings need to be viewed as "a fancy promotional issue" for the four matched LoC instruments, too, and I believe the Tokyo used to perform on a matched 4t of instruments, too, called the Paganini Strads, loaned to the 4t by the Nippon Music Foundation.

The difference that would make it a promo (not that there's anything wrong with that!) is that the Alexander SG play on a matched 4t by a living maker, rather than Stradivari? I would applaud them for this.

What's different is that it has become custom, or rather, fashion for violinists to append a note in their programs and liner notes detailing the make of their instrument. It's like when you're out having dinner and the waiter explains to you from what lineage your steak hails. People like this. I like these little instrument bios, too.

However, back to the ASQ. Recording an entire cycle of the LvB quartets is an exhausting, back breaking process, and these guys did not do this to thank the people who helped them acquire the Kuttner instruments. I'm sure they did it because they felt they could do it better than the first time.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2017, 05:18:50 AM by Herman »

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #883 on: December 26, 2017, 06:20:27 AM »
In the big survey the second cycle by the Alexander SQ is characterized as "essentially a fancy promotional issue on behalf of their instrument builder," adding the Seinfeldian "Not that there is anything wrong with that."

In that case the Budapest Library of Congress recordings need to be viewed as "a fancy promotional issue" for the four matched LoC instruments, too, and I believe the Tokyo used to perform on a matched 4t of instruments, too, called the Paganini Strads, loaned to the 4t by the Nippon Music Foundation.

The difference that would make it a promo (not that there's anything wrong with that!) is that the Alexander SG play on a matched 4t by a living maker, rather than Stradivari? I would applaud them for this.

What's different is that it has become custom, or rather, fashion for violinists to append a note in their programs and liner notes detailing the make of their instrument. It's like when you're out having dinner and the waiter explains to you from what lineage your steak hails. People like this. I like these little instrument bios, too.

However, back to the ASQ. Recording an entire cycle of the LvB quartets is an exhausting, back-breaking process, and these guys did not do this to thank the people who helped them acquire the Kuttner instruments. I'm sure they did it because they felt they could do it better than the first time.

Surely there is a difference between the examples you mention. Every quartet that plays at the LoC is expected, if not outright required, to play those instruments. It may be considered an honor or a benefit or a marketing-worthy detail. Fair enough. But these are not the quartet's instruments nor did Stradivari or the LoC, in the Budapest's case (or any other that may exist; like the Juilliard's) finance the recording project.

The promotional aspect of the Alexander II cycle's instruments goes well beyond what is usual for such issues. I don't know if the instrument maker was above-and-beyond supportive in the making of the cycle, nor would that, if true, suggest that the Alexanders didn't also have something new or better to say about the works at hand than in their previous release. It's just a point of interest. Not, as has been mentioned liberally, that there's anything wrong with that. In any case, the result is excellent enough to stand on its own -- and if anything a listener might be thankful to whomever helped to make their recording a possibility.

I'm not sure if there's much of a disagreement here to pick at, actually, except perhaps phrasing or assumed insinuations.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #884 on: January 10, 2018, 09:18:43 AM »
I'm afraid we must still wait for such a performance. So far least irritating interpretation I've heard is the pianoforte one:



I wonder what you make or the new Mosaiques op 130/133.
Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muss man schweigen

Offline Baron Scarpia

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #885 on: January 10, 2018, 09:27:17 AM »
Listened to Op 131 by the Cleveland Quartet (Telarc) as an antidote to the Mosaiques.

The Cleveland Quartet performance had no distinguishing features. They simply performed the music, observing dynamic and tempo markings, and with commitment. Telarc sound was very natural, engaging but never harsh. It was wonderful.

My view of Op 131 has evolved over the years. Once I was walking on the street on the upper west side of Manhattan and a guy with his girlfriend stopped me on the sidewalk and asked what I considered the best work of art, in any genre, painting, music, architecture, sculpture, anything. I said "Beethoven string quartet in c# minor." He seemed satisfied with that response. I thought of it as a work steeped in profundity.

But now, it sounds to me like an extremely subtle but light hearted serenade. I don't like it any less.

Offline Herman

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #886 on: Today at 02:46:20 AM »
I thought of it as a work steeped in profundity.

But now, it sounds to me like an extremely subtle but light hearted serenade. I don't like it any less.

There is a lot of parody in these late quartets, and in that regard they are sublime and sometimes bawdy fun.

fun, as you can see, is part of the word profundity.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #887 on: Today at 04:24:39 AM »
But in op.131 there is no obvious parody. The only movement that could maybe considered that way is the scherzo and what should it be a parody of (in the way the danza tedesca could be a parody of a waltz)? Some of the variations in the central movement employ a "serenade style" but it does not sound parodistic to me either.

Wagner loved op.131. To him it contained the whole world:

„Das ist der Tanz der Welt selbst: wilde Lust, schmerzliche Klage, Liebesentzücken, höchste Wonne, Jammer, Rasen, Wollust und Leid; da zuckt es wie Blitze, Wetter grollen: und über allem der ungeheuere Spielmann, der alles zwingt und bannt, stolz und sicher vom Wirbel zum Strudel, zum Abgrund geleitet: – er lächelt über sich selbst, da ihm dieses Zaubern doch nur ein Spiel war."
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)

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