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The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: marvinbrown on July 14, 2007, 01:29:06 PM

Title: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: marvinbrown on July 14, 2007, 01:29:06 PM


  Hello All, I have recently started reading up on Beethoven's chamber music which I am completely unfamiliar with.  Most of what I read praises the string quartets and especially the late string quartets. So I have 2 questions:

  1) Are the earlier string quartets worth knowing? Or should I just concentrate on the late quartets?

  2) What recordings complete or otherwise would you recommend?  I prefer modern recordings with excellent sound.  I have seen so many recordings on the market retailing at various prices I am getting confused...figured I'd ask for help.

   I would appreciate any advice....


  marvin 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on July 14, 2007, 01:38:15 PM
Marvin, you should've titled this thread 'Opening a can of worms'! ;D

Expect a bewildering array of recommendations. ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on July 14, 2007, 01:49:35 PM
All of Beethoven's quartets are worth knowing.  My two favorite complete cycles are the Budapest's mono set on United Archives and the Vegh's stereo cycle on Naive.  Since you want modern sound, the Takacs are superb in the early and middle quartets, and still technically superb in the late quartets.  (I'm not so keen on the interpretations, though.)  The Cleveland Quartet is also excellent.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Holden on July 14, 2007, 01:58:49 PM
The early quartets - Op 18 etc - contain some of Beethoven's most delightful music and as a beginner I stringly suggest that you actually start with the quartets from that Opus.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: mahlertitan on July 14, 2007, 02:03:41 PM
Lindsay
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on July 14, 2007, 06:22:15 PM

As Todd mentioned, Vegh's stereo set is incredible. This is the set that a member on the old forum described as "the set you want to take home, get married and have grandchildren with." I've heard others say that "never has Beethoven's quartet music been treated with so much love." I really can't say enough about this set, except - buy it! The sound is totally fine, it isn't modern, but it's far from historical.  :)

I have other sets and individual discs, but I find them to be in another league.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scriptavolant on July 14, 2007, 06:42:52 PM
Leaning on much more experienced minds - since I didn't listen to a consistent range of interpretations -, if I had to recommend a recording , I'd go for our great Quartetto Italiano.

(http://www.quartettoitaliano.com/Frames/Capitoli/Perche_01.jpg)

Enjoy.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on July 14, 2007, 06:50:08 PM

Actually, I just found something. A while ago, I asked for recommendations here and on rmcr for the Beethoven Quartets.

These are the results I came up with (coming from both sites and a number of guidebooks):

Vegh got 14 votes

Talich got 12

Takacs, Busch, Julliard all got 7

Italiano got 5

Smetana and Emerson got 4

Amadeus got 2


I sampled Talich and found them bland, Vegh didn't impress me at first, but quickly clicked for me. I also have the Italiano, they have a more beautiful sound that is nice, but just not my first choice. The Julliard has a very modern approach that I haven't warmed to yet. Same could be said of Emerson. Haven't heard the others yet, except for Busch, where I haven't made up my mind yet.  :)

 
 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: edward on July 14, 2007, 06:56:23 PM
Nobody voted for Budapest on rmcr? (They're alongside my Juilliards as favourites: I need to get the Veghs next.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Expresso on July 14, 2007, 11:18:17 PM

The Juilliard's from the 60's. Very intense performance and good sound quality.

It's worth buying a whole set of SQ's, even the first ones have many qualities. Also it comes cheaper than buying various different quartets.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Steve on July 14, 2007, 11:45:31 PM
I will, second the Juliard reccommendation, but if you can afford it, I would add a couple more:


(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WH14XPQTL._AA240_.jpg)

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/31PFQ3MRMJL._AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: marvinbrown on July 15, 2007, 01:01:11 AM
As Todd mentioned, Vegh's stereo set is incredible. This is the set that a member on the old forum described as "the set you want to take home, get married and have grandchildren with." I've heard others say that "never has Beethoven's quartet music been treated with so much love." I really can't say enough about this set, except - buy it! The sound is totally fine, it isn't modern, but it's far from historical.  :)

I have other sets and individual discs, but I find them to be in another league.

  Oh WOW Mark was right I guess I really opened the flood gates (can of worms) on this one.  Gosh I do not think I have ever read a recommendation quite like the one posted above by George.  As of now I have I reached one conclusion based on what I have read:  I need to buy a COMPLETE set of the String Quartets and start at the beginning as Holden and others have suggested.  George thanks for posting those voting results on various sets. This will be my guide as I shop around.....so many recommendations one is spoiled for choice.  I'll give a few more days to see how this thread develops then I'll go shopping Thurs/Fri of next week.

   marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on July 15, 2007, 04:19:45 AM
  Oh WOW Mark was right I guess I really opened the flood gates (can of worms) on this one.  Gosh I do not think I have ever read a recommendation quite like the one posted above by George.  As of now I have I reached one conclusion based on what I have read:  I need to buy a COMPLETE set of the String Quartets and start at the beginning as Holden and others have suggested.  George thanks for posting those voting results on various sets. This will be my guide as I shop around.....so many recommendations one is spoiled for choice.  I'll give a few more days to see how this thread develops then I'll go shopping Thurs/Fri of next week.

   marvin

No problem, Marvin. I forgot to add, as always, do some sampling before buying.

Also, I forgot to post this Review of the Vegh: https://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=3144 (https://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=3144)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on July 15, 2007, 04:20:43 AM
Nobody voted for Budapest on rmcr? (They're alongside my Juilliards as favourites: I need to get the Veghs next.)

I am sure they did, though I wasn't zeroing in on historical recordings at the time.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on July 15, 2007, 04:51:23 AM
All of Beethoven's quartets are worth knowing.  My two favorite complete cycles are the Budapest's mono set on United Archives and the Vegh's stereo cycle on Naive.  Since you want modern sound, the Takacs are superb in the early and middle quartets, and still technically superb in the late quartets.  (I'm not so keen on the interpretations, though.)  The Cleveland Quartet is also excellent.

As Todd mentioned, Vegh's stereo set is incredible. This is the set that a member on the old forum described as "the set you want to take home, get married and have grandchildren with." I've heard others say that "never has Beethoven's quartet music been treated with so much love." I really can't say enough about this set, except - buy it! The sound is totally fine, it isn't modern, but it's far from historical.  :)

I have other sets and individual discs, but I find them to be in another league.

Put me down for the Végh String Quartet set as well....here is the cover of the set I have:

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/41MYVQCW2XL._AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: MishaK on July 15, 2007, 04:56:10 AM
(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WH14XPQTL._AA240_.jpg)

I like this one very much. The early quartets are a joy in particular.

(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/31PFQ3MRMJL._AA240_.jpg)

I found these guys' phrasing rather mannered in places.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 15, 2007, 05:06:28 AM
I don't see how you can beat the Alban Berg if you are a beginner. You get a brand new set for about $25. You should be laughing all the way to the bank at that price. All the other sets are more expensive, often at 2x the cost.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: marvinbrown on July 15, 2007, 06:37:29 AM
I don't see how you can beat the Alban Berg if you are a beginner. You get a brand new set for about $25. You should be laughing all the way to the bank at that price. All the other sets are more expensive, often at 2x the cost.

  Thanks for alerting me.  obviously the first step is finding out what's in the market...basically what's considered good or popular and what's considered not so good or not so popular- bearing in mind that there is always a subjective element to it all (thanks to everyone's responses I have a good idea now whats out there).  Then the shopping starts- trying to find out exactly how much each of these sets  cost.   In this particualr case i am going to sample before I buy as George points out given that i'll probably end up paying somewhat over bargain prices.  From what i have seen so far these sets seem to be on the expesive side (most averaging £25-£40 the alben Berg being amongst the most economical)  But sometimes I like to pay a little bit more and buy a set with a very good reputation which appears to be the case with the Vegh set- kind of like an investment for the future.  I wonder if other GMG members go through this painstaking research before buying cds?

   Please feel free to discuss why you like your recommended recordings...I think we can all benefit from open discussion.

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on July 15, 2007, 08:05:33 AM
The Alban Berg review:
here (http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=850)

The Vegh review:

here (http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=3144)

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.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Que on July 15, 2007, 08:13:25 AM

  Hello All, I have recently started reading up on Beethoven's chamber music which I am completely unfamiliar with.  Most of what I read praises the string quartets and especially the late string quartets. So I have 2 questions:

  1) Are the earlier string quartets worth knowing? Or should I just concentrate on the late quartets?

  2) What recordings complete or otherwise would you recommend?  I prefer modern recordings with excellent sound.  I have seen so many recordings on the market retailing at various prices I am getting confused...figured I'd ask for help.

   I would appreciate any advice....


  marvin 

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
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: marvinbrown on July 15, 2007, 10:04:26 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
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Expresso on July 15, 2007, 11:03:46 AM
You can listen to some samples on amazon:


Quartetto Italiano SQ
http://www.amazon.de/Frühe-Streichquartette-Quartetto-Italiano/dp/B000KQGOCM/ref=sr_1_4/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529321&sr=1-4 (http://www.amazon.de/Frühe-Streichquartette-Quartetto-Italiano/dp/B000KQGOCM/ref=sr_1_4/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529321&sr=1-4)

Emerson SQ
http://www.amazon.de/Späte-Streichquartette-Emerson-String-Quartet/dp/B0000942LM/ref=sr_1_6/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529219&sr=1-6 (http://www.amazon.de/Späte-Streichquartette-Emerson-String-Quartet/dp/B0000942LM/ref=sr_1_6/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529219&sr=1-6)

Alban Berg SQ
http://www.amazon.de/Streichquartette-Alban-Berg-Quartett/dp/B000026D4J/ref=sr_1_1/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529429&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.de/Streichquartette-Alban-Berg-Quartett/dp/B000026D4J/ref=sr_1_1/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529429&sr=1-1)


Juilliard SQ
http://www.amazon.fr/Beethoven-Intégrale-Quatuors-Quatuor-Juilliard/dp/B00006OA6A (http://www.amazon.fr/Beethoven-Intégrale-Quatuors-Quatuor-Juilliard/dp/B00006OA6A)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: BorisG on July 15, 2007, 12:37:56 PM
You can listen to some samples on amazon:


Quartetto Italiano SQ
http://www.amazon.de/Frühe-Streichquartette-Quartetto-Italiano/dp/B000KQGOCM/ref=sr_1_4/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529321&sr=1-4 (http://www.amazon.de/Frühe-Streichquartette-Quartetto-Italiano/dp/B000KQGOCM/ref=sr_1_4/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529321&sr=1-4)

Emerson SQ
http://www.amazon.de/Späte-Streichquartette-Emerson-String-Quartet/dp/B0000942LM/ref=sr_1_6/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529219&sr=1-6 (http://www.amazon.de/Späte-Streichquartette-Emerson-String-Quartet/dp/B0000942LM/ref=sr_1_6/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529219&sr=1-6)

Alban Berg SQ
http://www.amazon.de/Streichquartette-Alban-Berg-Quartett/dp/B000026D4J/ref=sr_1_1/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529429&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.de/Streichquartette-Alban-Berg-Quartett/dp/B000026D4J/ref=sr_1_1/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529429&sr=1-1)


Juilliard SQ
http://www.amazon.fr/Beethoven-Intégrale-Quatuors-Quatuor-Juilliard/dp/B00006OA6A (http://www.amazon.fr/Beethoven-Intégrale-Quatuors-Quatuor-Juilliard/dp/B00006OA6A)


Based on your PaulB Clips, I rate in order, Juilliard, Alban Berg, Emerson, Italiano. 8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on July 15, 2007, 04:40:29 PM
The Alban Berg review:
here (http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=850)

The Vegh review:

here (http://www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=3144)

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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on July 15, 2007, 04:46:11 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on July 15, 2007, 06:01:23 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on July 15, 2007, 06:04:53 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on July 15, 2007, 06:08:22 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 15, 2007, 08:21:55 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...


(http://ec1.images-amazon.com/images/I/412H34YA6VL.jpg)

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: marvinbrown on July 16, 2007, 01:49:38 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: 71 dB on July 16, 2007, 02:09:11 AM
I don't give a rat's ass to "mono Vegh" etc.

I am 100 % happy with Kodály Quartet on Naxos.

 ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: marvinbrown on July 16, 2007, 02:37:35 AM
You can listen to some samples on amazon:


Quartetto Italiano SQ
http://www.amazon.de/Frühe-Streichquartette-Quartetto-Italiano/dp/B000KQGOCM/ref=sr_1_4/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529321&sr=1-4 (http://www.amazon.de/Frühe-Streichquartette-Quartetto-Italiano/dp/B000KQGOCM/ref=sr_1_4/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529321&sr=1-4)

Emerson SQ
http://www.amazon.de/Späte-Streichquartette-Emerson-String-Quartet/dp/B0000942LM/ref=sr_1_6/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529219&sr=1-6 (http://www.amazon.de/Späte-Streichquartette-Emerson-String-Quartet/dp/B0000942LM/ref=sr_1_6/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529219&sr=1-6)

Alban Berg SQ
http://www.amazon.de/Streichquartette-Alban-Berg-Quartett/dp/B000026D4J/ref=sr_1_1/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529429&sr=1-1 (http://www.amazon.de/Streichquartette-Alban-Berg-Quartett/dp/B000026D4J/ref=sr_1_1/028-6224830-7975739?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1184529429&sr=1-1)


Juilliard SQ
http://www.amazon.fr/Beethoven-Intégrale-Quatuors-Quatuor-Juilliard/dp/B00006OA6A (http://www.amazon.fr/Beethoven-Intégrale-Quatuors-Quatuor-Juilliard/dp/B00006OA6A)

  thanks for the links  :) ......

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on July 16, 2007, 03:02:27 AM
FWIW, Marvin, I have this set (which can be had fairly cheaply):

Beethoven's Complete String Quartets (http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/7388608/a/Beethoven:+Complete+String+Quartets+%2F+Guarneri+Quartet.htm)

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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: marvinbrown on July 16, 2007, 04:05:51 AM
FWIW, Marvin, I have this set (which can be had fairly cheaply):

Beethoven's Complete String Quartets (http://www.cduniverse.com/search/xx/music/pid/7388608/a/Beethoven:+Complete+String+Quartets+%2F+Guarneri+Quartet.htm)

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
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: mjwal on July 23, 2007, 04:33:36 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: marvinbrown on July 23, 2007, 08:14:48 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
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 22, 2007, 03:13:15 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?



Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 22, 2007, 03:16:10 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. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 22, 2007, 03:18:54 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



Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 22, 2007, 03:19:53 PM
Words of wisdom, George! ;D

Backed up by David W, Peregrine and Bogey.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 22, 2007, 03:25:37 PM
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?

Heard some of the Takacs set, and again, liked what I heard. Didn't buy them, though: every time I checked on Amazon, they were either too pricey ... or discontinued. ;D With all the recommendations here for the Vegh, I wonder if I need to hear these. After all, I have two sets with which I'm happy.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 22, 2007, 03:26:27 PM
Heard some of the Takacs set, and again, liked what I heard. Didn't buy them, though: every time I checked on Amazon, they were either too pricey ... or discontinued. ;D With all the recommendations here for the Vegh, I wonder if I need to hear these. After all, I have two sets with which I'm happy.

You have Alexander and ?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 22, 2007, 03:30:34 PM
You have Alexander and ?

Guarneri.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 22, 2007, 03:36:39 PM
Heard some of the Takacs set, and again, liked what I heard. Didn't buy them, though: every time I checked on Amazon, they were either too pricey ... or discontinued. ;D With all the recommendations here for the Vegh, I wonder if I need to hear these. After all, I have two sets with which I'm happy.

Oh, well, if you're budget conscious (who isn't? ;D) the Vegh stereo set is actually available at a pretty affordable price (last I checked). Might not be the last word in bargain-bin pricing but still pretty decent.




 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: longears on September 22, 2007, 04:08:19 PM
Any reason why these guys haven't been mentioned in this thread (until now ;D)?

(http://i205.photobucket.com/albums/bb31/idowords/redcover.jpg)

Just listening to them now, and I like what I hear. :)
They're not on a major label with all the promotional folderol that goes with it.  I like them very much, but they're one of the hometown teams so I'm prejudiced.  We usually catch them a few times a season.  This year we've a subscription to their Beethoven series in Berkeley.  Op. 59, 74, 95.  Their Shosty cycle a few years ago was superb!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 22, 2007, 04:36:21 PM
I'd chime in here and voice my admiration for Vegh Q, but apparently Bill had me covered. ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 22, 2007, 05:09:42 PM
I'd chime in here and voice my admiration for Vegh Q, but apparently Bill had me covered. ;D

At this point, saying the Vegh's stereo set is wonderful would be like saying Beethoven is wonderful.  :D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 22, 2007, 05:12:17 PM
I was about to reply to my own post and say "oh yeah Corey, well I..." and then I'm like wait that's not Corey, that's me.  Damn, stupid avatar. ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 22, 2007, 05:19:33 PM
I was about to reply to my own post and say "oh yeah Corey, well I..." and then I'm like wait that's not Corey, that's me.  Damn, stupid avatar. ;D

It could be worse you know. You could have chosen Ingrid Bergman as your avatar and Bogey could have chosen the one you currently have. Then you and Corey would be making out in Bogey's avatar.   ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Kullervo on September 22, 2007, 05:25:53 PM
It could be worse you know. You could have chosen Ingrid Bergman as your avatar and Bogey could have chosen the one you currently have. Then you and Corey would be making out in Bogey's avatar.   ;)

Too bad we don't share a Kim Novak avatar, otherwise I'd make a Vertigo reference so fast...
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 22, 2007, 05:28:01 PM
Too bad we don't share a Kim Novak avatar, otherwise I'd make a Vertigo reference so fast...

 ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 22, 2007, 05:36:47 PM
I was about to reply to my own post and say "oh yeah Corey, well I..." and then I'm like wait that's not Corey, that's me.  Damn, stupid avatar. ;D

Lay ten dollars on me and I won't change my avatar to Cary Grant! ;D




Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 22, 2007, 05:38:08 PM
Lay ten dollars on me and I won't change my avatar to Cary Grant! ;D

I'm changing mine to Alfred Hitchcock, I'll control you all.  >:D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 22, 2007, 05:42:22 PM
I'm changing mine to Alfred Hitchcock, I'll control you all.  >:D

There avatar changed, less confusion for all. ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 22, 2007, 05:43:02 PM
There avatar changed, less confusion for all. ;D

 ;D

Who will dare choose the female lead from Psycho as their avatar?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on September 22, 2007, 06:04:36 PM
Mark, if you do not give the Végh stereo cycle a test drive I will simply SCREAM! (http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:nuihotOOWbK0dM:http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/images1/psycho_shower.jpg[color=red][/color])
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 22, 2007, 06:06:35 PM
Mark, if you do not give the Végh stereo cycle a test drive I will simply SCREAM! (http://tbn0.google.com/images?q=tbn:nuihotOOWbK0dM:http://www.wilsonsalmanac.com/images1/psycho_shower.jpg[color=red][/color])

 ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 22, 2007, 11:41:16 PM
Oh, well, if you're budget conscious (who isn't? ;D) the Vegh stereo set is actually available at a pretty affordable price.

Searched Amazon, but draw a blank. ???
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: marvinbrown on September 23, 2007, 02:28:52 AM
Searched Amazon, but draw a blank. ???

  Yes I tried that too while I was searching for a Complete set of Beethoven's string quartet and could not find the Vegh recording at an affordable price.

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Que on September 23, 2007, 02:36:05 AM
  Yes I tried that too while I was searching for a Complete set of Beethoven's string quartet and could not find the Vegh recording at an affordable price.

  marvin


Well, $60 (http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-Quartets-Ludwig-van/dp/B0000DET84) or £35 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beethoven-Complete-Quartets-Ludwig-van/dp/B0000DET84)is certainly not cheap for a set of 8 CD's, but it still might be affordable?

At least, you now know where to find it, Mark! :)

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 23, 2007, 04:21:35 AM

Well, $60 (http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-Quartets-Ludwig-van/dp/B0000DET84) or £35 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beethoven-Complete-Quartets-Ludwig-van/dp/B0000DET84)is certainly not cheap for a set of 8 CD's, but it still might be affordable?

At least, you now know where to find it, Mark! :)

Q

Thanks for turning that up, Que. ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 23, 2007, 06:19:43 AM
Hey Mark, the mono cycle is cheaper, not as good either performance or sq wise, but still good and way cheaper.  On amazon US at least you can get it for $15 used. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 23, 2007, 06:58:23 AM
Hey Mark, the mono cycle is cheaper, not as good either performance or sq wise...

I think you just lost Mark's attention.  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 23, 2007, 07:16:04 AM
I think you just lost Mark's attention.  ;D

;D

Hey Mark, the mono cycle is cheaper, not as good either performance or sq wise, but still good and way cheaper.  On amazon US at least you can get it for $15 used. :)

Thank you, David. But George is right: I owe it to myself not to compromise on either sound quality or performance. ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 23, 2007, 08:20:15 AM
;D

Thank you, David. But George is right: I owe it to myself not to compromise on either sound quality or performance. ;)

Then why were you complaining about the price? ???
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on September 23, 2007, 08:22:06 AM
Hey Mark, the mono cycle is cheaper, not as good either performance or sq wise, but still good and way cheaper.  On amazon US at least you can get it for $15 used. :)

And based on samples, good enough that this will be my next cycle purchase if and when this happens.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 23, 2007, 08:30:36 AM
Then why were you complaining about the price? ???

Er ... I wasn't. Re-read my posts and Donwyn's - you'll see which set I was referring to. ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 23, 2007, 09:01:47 AM
Er ... I wasn't. Re-read my posts and Donwyn's - you'll see which set I was referring to. ;)

Okay I did and it was as I remembered from this morning-- you were complaining about pricing and Donwyn told you to check out the stereo Vegh set saying that it was bargain priced, but it's not.  What have I missed?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 23, 2007, 09:19:05 AM
David, for an intelligent guy you can sometimes be a bit dim. ;D

Here's what I posted: I was referring to the price of the Takacs Quartet's set on Decca (which was pretty pricey when I was following it a few months ago). It was Donwyn who mentioned the Vegh in connection with being 'budget conscious' - perhaps that's where you got confused?

Heard some of the Takacs set, and again, liked what I heard. Didn't buy them, though: every time I checked on Amazon, they were either too pricey ... or discontinued.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 23, 2007, 09:56:35 AM
Oh yup that would be it, okay sorry.  Yeah the Takacs is still full price isn't it?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 23, 2007, 10:02:01 AM
Yeah the Takacs is still full price isn't it?

It is. I could've got it cheaper from overseas, but I didn't want to risk the import tax. :(
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Anne on September 23, 2007, 10:14:36 AM
Leaning on much more experienced minds - since I didn't listen to a consistent range of interpretations -, if I had to recommend a recording , I'd go for our great Quartetto Italiano.

(http://www.quartettoitaliano.com/Frames/Capitoli/Perche_01.jpg)

Enjoy.

Quartetto Italiano was recommended to me.  I like it very much.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: stingo on September 23, 2007, 01:43:26 PM
I've got the Tokyo and the Alban Berg versions - I'll have to return to refill my ears with them soon.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 23, 2007, 01:51:42 PM
Ahem ... time for me to correct an error of mine. I've just re-checked which recordings I have of these works, and it would appear I was wrong about my owning the Guarneri. That's the set I'll soon own, once the Brilliant Classics Complete Beethoven boxed set arrives. No, it turns out I've got the Alexander Quartet in all of the Quartets, plus Op. 18 with the Sharon Quartet and all the others with the Medici Quartet. How embarrassing!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: longears on September 24, 2007, 04:04:57 AM
Ahem ... time for me to correct an error of mine. I've just re-checked which recordings I have of these works, and it would appear I was wrong about my owning the Guarneri. That's the set I'll soon own, once the Brilliant Classics Complete Beethoven boxed set arrives. No, it turns out I've got the Alexander Quartet in all of the Quartets, plus Op. 18 with the Sharon Quartet and all the others with the Medici Quartet. How embarrassing!

Ah, just a mistake, no biggie...so, Mark--how do you like the Alexander String Quartet? 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 24, 2007, 09:31:27 AM
... how do you like the Alexander String Quartet? 

They play very well, with real commitment and energy. At times, the higher notes can come across as harsh, sharp or slightly over-bright, but that's a 'fault' of the engineer, not the musicians. I'd say I prefer the Medici Quartet on Nimbus, but that might change once I've heard the Guarneri.

I've had an opportunity since yesterday to sample a little of the stereo Vegh set (the Op. 131, no more), and again, I felt more drawn towards the Medici - for reasons of sonics as much as performance. The Vegh Quartet seem to me to be a little too deliberate, as though they were playing while still 'thinking out' their interpretation. The Medici avoid this and instead imbue the work with a charm and spontaneity that feel much more honest and fluid.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brewski on September 24, 2007, 11:24:38 AM
Recently I have been listening to the Orion String Quartet's new 3-CD release of the middle quartets, and I enjoyed them thoroughly.  They are fresh and play with great abandon, and the sound quality is excellent.  I especially liked the group's ability to capture the volatile moods of these pieces.  I'm not saying it's "the only" set, but for some listeners they could be a first choice.  (Eventually Orion will release the rest of the cycle.)

(http://www.orionquartet.com/images/record/cd6.gif)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 24, 2007, 11:54:29 AM
Recently I have been listening to the Orion String Quartet's new 3-CD release of the middle quartets, and I enjoyed them thoroughly.  They are fresh and play with great abandon, and the sound quality is excellent.  I especially liked the group's ability to capture the volatile moods of these pieces.  I'm not saying it's "the only" set, but for some listeners they could be a first choice.  (Eventually Orion will release the rest of the cycle.)

(http://www.orionquartet.com/images/record/cd6.gif)

--Bruce

And their label is ... ?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brewski on September 24, 2007, 11:57:40 AM
And their label is ... ?

It's on Koch, and just came out in March of this year. 

--Bruce
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: FideLeo on September 24, 2007, 11:59:22 AM
Not a HIP set, but the next better thing - Gewandhaus Quartet (NCA) - superb sound throughout, and imo an unusual but truly intriguing interpretation.  Available from sources like ebay or amazon uk for around £20.

(http://img131.imageshack.us/img131/3919/60139pbt3.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)





Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 24, 2007, 12:05:39 PM
Once again (and as I 'predicted' at the start of this thread), here we have another good example of there being dozens of recommendations without there necessarily being a clear 'winner'. I think that's great, BTW, as it demonstrates that we're all individuals looking for different things in our choices of recordings. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: FideLeo on September 24, 2007, 12:16:50 PM
Once again (and as I 'predicted' at the start of this thread), here we have another good example of there being dozens of recommendations without there necessarily being a clear 'winner'.

A complete set from an enterprising HIP group such as the Schuppanzigh (or the Turner or the Eroica or the Mosaiques) Quartet will be a clear winner for me though.  Gut strings produce a sonority that makes the music speak to me like no other.  The Gewandhaus Qt readings are nevertheless very interesting and worthwhile as an additional set at the price.   The tenth disc includes Beethoven's own arrangement of OP. 14,1 sonata for string quartet which I have heard only in Melos Qt's complete set.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brewski on September 24, 2007, 12:20:09 PM
I agree totally, Mark.  Further, it demonstrates that great works can withstand a wide variety of interpretations and still make their impact--something I believe very strongly.  

--Bruce
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: BorisG on September 24, 2007, 12:36:55 PM
Once again (and as I 'predicted' at the start of this thread), here we have another good example of there being dozens of recommendations without there necessarily being a clear 'winner'. I think that's great, BTW, as it demonstrates that we're all individuals looking for different things in our choices of recordings. :)

You mentioned some concern about import tax. What extra amount, for instance, would that be on a complete Takacs set?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 24, 2007, 01:08:47 PM
You mentioned some concern about import tax. What extra amount, for instance, would that be on a complete Takacs set?

All I know is this: when I bought the DG collector's set of Gidon Kremer's performances in a selection of chamber works, it cost me about £26 (I ordered it from Newbury Comics in the US, if I'm not mistaken). When the item reached me in the UK, I had to hand over another £7+ to get it delivered from the postal service, as I hadn't factored in the import duty. I consider that a bit steep, and think that overseas sellers should advertise their wares inclusive of import taxes to the countries they ship goods. I'm not suggesting they will actually charge these amounts at the point of sale, but making customers aware would help when ordering - I probably would've shopped around in the UK (and got a better deal), had I realised that I'd have more to pay when the item turned up. Naive, maybe, but true. :(
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Que on September 24, 2007, 04:16:29 PM
All I know is this: when I bought the DG collector's set of Gidon Kremer's performances in a selection of chamber works, it cost me about £26 (I ordered it from Newbury Comics in the US, if I'm not mistaken). When the item reached me in the UK, I had to hand over another £7+ to get it delivered from the postal service, as I hadn't factored in the import duty. I consider that a bit steep, and think that overseas sellers should advertise their wares inclusive of import taxes to the countries they ship goods. I'm not suggesting they will actually charge these amounts at the point of sale, but making customers aware would help when ordering - I probably would've shopped around in the UK (and got a better deal), had I realised that I'd have more to pay when the item turned up. Naive, maybe, but true. :(

Levels of import tax varies from country to country. And you can buy from any country in the EU without having to pay import tax, not just from the UK. Also note that oversees shipping at Amazon.fr is considerably cheaper than Amazon.de. You could inform at British customs what the threshold value is to import duty free. I always calculate the import tax in with bigger parcels - smaller items go below the threshold (all those single CDs from Amazon.com Market place sellers... ;D) - but many slip through anyway! 8)

A complete set from an enterprising HIP group such as the Schuppanzigh (or the Turner or the Eroica or the Mosaiques) Quartet will be a clear winner for me though.  Gut strings produce a sonority that makes the music speak to me like no other.

The lack of a HIP LvB SQ cycle is frustrating and puzzles me. There are far too litlle HIP SQ's around or they are not recording enough. There is so much available in HIP, but SQ's is still quite of a problem. Haydn is covered, but LvB... :-\

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 24, 2007, 06:04:28 PM
I've had an opportunity since yesterday to sample a little of the stereo Vegh set (the Op. 131, no more), and again, I felt more drawn towards the Medici - for reasons of sonics as much as performance. The Vegh Quartet seem to me to be a little too deliberate, as though they were playing while still 'thinking out' their interpretation.

If "still thinking out their interpretation" is what you're hearing via internet clips I gotta say there must be something wrong with said clips! ;D

Because "still thinking about it" and "deliberate" are the absolute last descriptors I'd apply to the Vegh's Beethoven.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm the last person to jump to the defense of a recording just because I'm fond of it and someone else pans it but nothing could be further from the truth in your description above.

Which only drives home the perils of relying on internet clips. Too short, too crimped, and nothing even approaching an accurate timbral picture.

Unfortunately the Vegh set is no longer available separately so any prospective buyer is left with few options - one of them banking on internet 'clipping'. But IMO it's best to tread those waters lightly and try if possible to withhold critical "thumbing down" only after firsthand auditioning. It's only fair to the musicians.

(Okay, lecture over! ;D)


Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: BorisG on September 24, 2007, 06:05:10 PM

The lack of a HIP LvB SQ cycle is frustrating and puzzles me. There are far too litlle HIP SQ's around or they are not recording enough. There is so much available in HIP, but SQ's is still quite of a problem. Haydn is covered, but LvB... :-\

Q

Miro Quartet, though more hip than HIP, Op. 18 might please. Listen before leaping. I have not heard their Beethoven and do not know if they plan completion.

Information:

http://www.miroquartet.com/recordings.html

http://www.audaud.com/article.php?ArticleID=971
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on September 24, 2007, 06:10:08 PM
They sound extraordinary Boris. :)  Very expressive.  Now Donwyn will be like "what did I just say about internet samples!?!" ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 24, 2007, 06:21:36 PM
Now Donwyn will be like "what did I just say about internet samples!?!" ;D

Perilous to one's health!! Dangerous!! Approach with caution!! ;D

Honestly, I don't mind sampling per se, I sample all the time. I just feel it a disservice to the musicians to come on an internet board and pan a recording based solely on clipping.

Negatively criticizing in public deserves something a little more substantial. That's all!

On the other hand, extol away a recording's virtues!!! ;D


Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: FideLeo on September 24, 2007, 08:43:41 PM
Miro Quartet, though more hip than HIP, Op. 18 might please. Listen before leaping. I have not heard their Beethoven and do not know if they plan completion.

.....

Maybe you'd prefer recommending something you have heard instead?   ???

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 24, 2007, 11:33:01 PM
If "still thinking out their interpretation" is what you're hearing via internet clips I gotta say there must be something wrong with said clips! ;D

Because "still thinking about it" and "deliberate" are the absolute last descriptors I'd apply to the Vegh's Beethoven.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm the last person to jump to the defense of a recording just because I'm fond of it and someone else pans it but nothing could be further from the truth in your description above.

Which only drives home the perils of relying on internet clips. Too short, too crimped, and nothing even approaching an accurate timbral picture.

Unfortunately the Vegh set is no longer available separately so any prospective buyer is left with few options - one of them banking on internet 'clipping'. But IMO it's best to tread those waters lightly and try if possible to withhold critical "thumbing down" only after firsthand auditioning. It's only fair to the musicians.

(Okay, lecture over! ;D)




No need for the lecture - my impression had nothing to do with internet 'clips'. A member sent me the complete Op. 131. ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Novi on September 25, 2007, 12:47:13 AM
All I know is this: when I bought the DG collector's set of Gidon Kremer's performances in a selection of chamber works, it cost me about £26 (I ordered it from Newbury Comics in the US, if I'm not mistaken). When the item reached me in the UK, I had to hand over another £7+ to get it delivered from the postal service, as I hadn't factored in the import duty. I consider that a bit steep, and think that overseas sellers should advertise their wares inclusive of import taxes to the countries they ship goods. I'm not suggesting they will actually charge these amounts at the point of sale, but making customers aware would help when ordering - I probably would've shopped around in the UK (and got a better deal), had I realised that I'd have more to pay when the item turned up. Naive, maybe, but true. :(

The tax free threshold is £18, after which you have to pay taxes plus the £7 admin charge to the post office. (I've been slugged before too >:()

Details here (http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pageVAT_ShowContent&id=HMCE_CL_001454&propertyType=document).

A complete set from an enterprising HIP group such as the Schuppanzigh (or the Turner or the Eroica or the Mosaiques) Quartet will be a clear winner for me though.  Gut strings produce a sonority that makes the music speak to me like no other. 

Even though there are no complete sets, are there any individual HIP selections that are recommendable? I like the Mosaiques's Haydn. Is their Beethoven as good?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: FideLeo on September 25, 2007, 01:33:46 AM
Even though there are no complete sets, are there any individual HIP selections that are recommendable? I like the Mosaiques's Haydn. Is their Beethoven as good?

The Mosaiques have only done all six in the Op. 18 set so far but they are all very good if you prefer your Beethoven articulate but not impetuous (i.e. consistent with their Haydn and Mozart).  The Quatuor Turner (OOP but available used or as overstock) Op. 18 has it more up to speed overall.  I will urge people to hear the Schuppanzigh 18/4 and 59/3 (Ars musici) in the same vein but it appears to be oop as well.  The one disc from the Eroica Quartet (opp. 74, 95, 135) is quite good if one likes the British HIP style - the Mosaiques are Viennese and the Turner Franco-Flemish the Schuppanzigh German respectively in that regard :))
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on September 25, 2007, 01:48:32 AM
I am struggling here, but if only ONE, get the Vegh.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 25, 2007, 02:38:56 AM
The tax free threshold is £18, after which you have to pay taxes plus the £7 admin charge to the post office. (I've been slugged before too >:()

Details here (http://customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/channelsPortalWebApp.portal?_nfpb=true&_pageLabel=pageVAT_ShowContent&id=HMCE_CL_001454&propertyType=document).

Thanks. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: longears on September 25, 2007, 03:50:25 AM
Once again (and as I 'predicted' at the start of this thread), here we have another good example of there being dozens of recommendations without there necessarily being a clear 'winner'. I think that's great, BTW, as it demonstrates that we're all individuals looking for different things in our choices of recordings. :)

And demonstrates a wealth of great musicianship on record from which to choose.  Give a hungry man some fish and chips and it's the greatest meal on earth; give beluga caviar to a sybaritic gourmet and he complains that it's not paté.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: karlhenning on September 25, 2007, 03:54:10 AM
Apples and oranges;  sometimes you're in the mood for caviar . . . other times, for pâté.

(So now, instead of chiding people for trying to compare apples with oranges, we'll say caviar & pâté . . . .)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on September 25, 2007, 05:32:15 AM
No need for the lecture - my impression had nothing to do with internet 'clips'. A member sent me the complete Op. 131. ;)

Ah, serves me right for assuming!

Well, hope the 'Vegh experience' one day clicks for you. :)



Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on September 25, 2007, 05:36:02 AM
Ah, serves me right for assuming!

Well, hope the 'Vegh experience' one day clicks for you. :)

Be nice to think it will, but I'm not gonna sweat it. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Novi on September 25, 2007, 11:54:09 AM
The Mosaiques have only done all six in the Op. 18 set so far but they are all very good if you prefer your Beethoven articulate but not impetuous (i.e. consistent with their Haydn and Mozart).  The Quatuor Turner (OOP but available used or as overstock) Op. 18 has it more up to speed overall.  I will urge people to hear the Schuppanzigh 18/4 and 59/3 (Ars musici) in the same vein but it appears to be oop as well.  The one disc from the Eroica Quartet (opp. 74, 95, 135) is quite good if one likes the British HIP style - the Mosaiques are Viennese and the Turner Franco-Flemish the Schuppanzigh German respectively in that regard :))

Thanks for the reviews :).

Hmm, these are elusive. The only ones I can find are the Mosaiques and Turner. I think the cellist in the Eroica is the lead cellist in my local, the SCO. Maybe I should waylay him at a concert and get him to give me a copy :P.

Masolino, can I ask, what's distinctive about British HIP? Is this in contast to the other ensembles you mention as a kind of 'Continental' mode of HIP?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: ChamberNut on December 17, 2007, 10:22:06 AM
Leaning on much more experienced minds - since I didn't listen to a consistent range of interpretations -, if I had to recommend a recording , I'd go for our great Quartetto Italiano.

(http://www.quartettoitaliano.com/Frames/Capitoli/Perche_01.jpg)

Enjoy.

Ah yes!!  That's what I'm listening to right now.  My favorite CD in my entire collection are the complete Beethoven String Quartets by the Quartetto Italiano.   :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peregrine on December 18, 2007, 05:54:10 AM
Juilliard all the way for me, nothing matches their technical brilliance and musicality, but do replace the Op.131 with the Testament disc - it's stunning. Smetana's are great on Supraphon with the late SQ's. I've always found the Italian Quartet to really shine in the Op.18, but don't find they reach the emotional depths in middle and late SQ's.

Recently started buying the Petersen Quartet's cycle - very impressed thus far...

Got rid of Vegh cycle.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Rod Corkin on December 20, 2007, 01:11:54 PM
The Juilliard's from the 60's. Very intense performance and good sound quality.

It's worth buying a whole set of SQ's, even the first ones have many qualities. Also it comes cheaper than buying various different quartets.

The first ones are full of qualities, it is just that they are, of all Beethoven's quartets, the least studied or understood by musicians. I suggest at the time they were the best quartets to have been composed, until Beethoven composed a few more...
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Ephemerid on March 04, 2008, 06:37:54 AM
It will be some time before I get it, but I eventually want to get a recording of all of Beethoven's string quartets.  I've got a few individual ones, but I'd like one big set. 

Suggestions? Opinions? Ideas?

Thanks!  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on March 04, 2008, 06:42:59 AM
Do the words 'can', 'opened' and 'worms' mean anything to you?

Expect a bewildering number of personal choices. Or links to those choices in the numerous other threads on this topic. ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Josquin des Prez on March 04, 2008, 06:47:08 AM
60s Julliard on sony (Early, Middle)

Talich on Callipe (Middle, Late)

Takacs (Early, Middle)

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Ephemerid on March 04, 2008, 06:48:43 AM
Hmmm...

What if I phrase it this way... what do folks here think about the Emerson Quartet's recording?  I've been eyeing them based on what I've heard of other recordings by them (Ives, Shostakovich, Barber, Carter).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on March 04, 2008, 07:14:28 AM
Emerson? Fantastic, but a bit pricey. As a cheap primary recommendation I say go for the incomparable Alban Berg Quartet on EMI. Draw-dropping intonation and tightness of attack, huge dynamic range, and some of the most powerful bowing you will ever hear, all for about $25.

The Talich is very good in the early quartets, I feel they are missing something in the later quartets. Also I am not a big fan of their light tone.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Josquin des Prez on March 04, 2008, 08:26:34 AM
What if I phrase it this way... what do folks here think about the Emerson Quartet's recording?

Outstanding technique, but musically void.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Josquin des Prez on March 04, 2008, 08:32:35 AM
Emerson? Fantastic, but a bit pricey. As a cheap primary recommendation I say go for the incomparable Alban Berg Quartet on EMI. Draw-dropping intonation and tightness of attack, huge dynamic range, and some of the most powerful bowing you will ever hear, all for about $25.

Sorry to disagree, but by the time the Alban Berg recorded their Beethoven set they were already past their prime. Their best recordings were made on the Teldec Label (both their Mozart and Brahms are jaw dropping). That said, i really like their perfomance of the opus 130.

The Talich is very good in the early quartets, I feel they are missing something in the later quartets.

You can't be serious. They are one the only ensembles that i know of who have been able to capture the textural subtly of those quartets to perfection. Sound quality may not be perfect but who cares, the performance comes first.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Que on March 04, 2008, 10:42:43 AM
It will be some time before I get it, but I eventually want to get a recording of all of Beethoven's string quartets.  I've got a few individual ones, but I'd like one big set. 

Suggestions? Opinions? Ideas?

Thanks!  :)

Please don't tell me that you thought that this hadn't been done before...  8)

Seeking Recommendations for Recordings of Beethoven's String Quartets (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,2166.0.html)

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Ephemerid on March 04, 2008, 10:51:03 AM
Please don't tell me that you thought that this hadn't been done before...  8)

Seeking Recommendations for Recordings of Beethoven's String Quartets (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,2166.0.html)

Q

Ah ha!   :)  Thank you, Q! -- as well as Josquin, PW & Mark  (the posts here are good and interesting too-- sorry I've not been responsive myself-- a very busy day today!!)

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on March 04, 2008, 11:04:57 AM
Please don't tell me that you thought that this hadn't been done before...  8)

Seeking Recommendations for Recordings of Beethoven's String Quartets (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,2166.0.html)

Q

Yes, you can even see something there by Mark about cans and worms.

Judging from their live performances (they are in residence at SUNY Stony Brook, not far from my home in Long Island, NY), I'm not inclined to make the Emerson my first choice. They are certainly very good, but technical wizardry and uniformly fast tempos do not compensate for a lack of the deeply considered phrasing one gets from some of the older groups.

I haven't heard all the available versions by any means, but I don't see a compelling reason to get a single set by one group. But if you must, the incisive Takacs version, the white-hot Juilliard 1960s on Sony (and accept no substitute; the Juilliard group of today is not what is was), or the refined Talichs are all fine and even complementary choices. If you want to buy one set for each period, I'd go with

- the Tokyo RCA for the earlies (a major advantage being that it includes the arrangement of the piano sonata 14/1 as well as the C major quintet, op. 29)
- the Takacs for the middles
- the Yale for the lates, along with the Smetanas that IIRC are on Japanese Denon.

Thumbs down from me on the Italiani. I find them too creamily bland and lacking the incisive edge I want in these quartets.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Michel on March 04, 2008, 11:05:06 AM
Berg is always cheap, and bloody good.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mark on March 04, 2008, 12:01:47 PM
Yes, you can even see something there by Mark about cans and worms.

Yep. I'm nothing if not totally lacking in any originality. ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: val on March 05, 2008, 02:01:34 AM
For the complete Quartets, my choice is the Juilliard.

Regarding the opus 59 the Lindsays and in the opus 59/2 the extraordinary version of the Janacek Quartet.

For the opus 74, 95 and 127 the Italian Quartet, in the opus 130 the Juilliard in a more recent version, in the opus 131 the Vegh and in the opus 132 and 135 the Italiano again.

There are other good versions, but those are my favorites.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: marvinbrown on March 05, 2008, 03:12:07 AM
Please don't tell me that you thought that this hadn't been done before...  8)

Seeking Recommendations for Recordings of Beethoven's String Quartets (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,2166.0.html)

Q

  Ahh and there it is: The old thread I started back to haunt me again!!  Well I did buy the Alban Berg set and what a wonderfull purchase it proved to be.  Beethoven's string quartets are worth knowing- ALL OF THEM  0:).

   My recommendation: Alban Berg Quartet COMPLETE .

   marvin

   
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Florestan on March 08, 2008, 08:42:50 AM
Buy all available sets and keep those you like!  ;D :D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: zamyrabyrd on March 12, 2008, 12:04:20 AM
  Ahh and there it is: The old thread I started back to haunt me again!!  Well I did buy the Alban Berg set and what a wonderfull purchase it proved to be.  Beethoven's string quartets are worth knowing- ALL OF THEM  0:).    My recommendation: Alban Berg Quartet COMPLETE .
   marvin   

Just borrowed this whole set. Did someone say "past their prime"?   ???
Put your seat belt on for the e minor Rasumovsky.
Whatta ride in the scherzo and last movement.
Roller coasters are nothing by comparison.
My own possession so far is the Tokyo RCA in the late quartets, also excellent.

ZB
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on March 12, 2008, 12:08:10 AM
Were the Yale's ever reissued on CD, and in that case; on which label? I have 2 LP albums of their Beethoven (somewhere). Was this RCA?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: marvinbrown on March 12, 2008, 02:25:57 AM
Just borrowed this whole set. Did someone say "past their prime"?   ???
Put your seat belt on for the e minor Rasumovsky.
Whatta ride in the scherzo and last movement.
Roller coasters are nothing by comparison.
My own possession so far is the Tokyo RCA in the late quartets, also excellent.

ZB

  The Rasumovsky quartets are one of the many highlights of the Alban Berg set.  When I first bought that set I started another thread called the listening order for Beethoven's string quartets.  I wanted to start chronologically according to date of composition and listen to the whole Cycle without any repeats.  Well as soon as I got to the Rasumovsky quartets I kept playing them again and again and again- it took me a few more days to actually get the Late Quartets, I just love it when that happens!!

  marvin
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: dirkronk on March 12, 2008, 04:13:42 PM
Were the Yale's ever reissued on CD, and in that case; on which label? I have 2 LP albums of their Beethoven (somewhere). Was this RCA?

Originally, in the US anyway, the LPs were on Vanguard. And yes, the performances are currently on Brilliant CDs, but I think only in their big Beethoven box. I found a set that was broken up and offered individually for sale at Half Price Books here in Texas and grabbed the discs of the Yale.

As for my recommendations, as always...the pre-war Busch, the wartime Budapest, the early 1950s Hollywood String Quartet for the late quartets, and the Bartok for the late quartets in stereo. The Italians are always beautiful and reliable, for the early, mid or late. I love the early quartets by the Juilliard (early '60s) but don't care for their interps of the late ones--YMMV. Keep in mind, for more recent performances, others can speak much more knowledgeably than I.

Enjoy the journey,

Dirk
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: henry on March 12, 2008, 07:51:13 PM
I have these:
Vegh Quartet
Suske Quartet
Guarneri Quartet
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Ephemerid on March 12, 2008, 08:10:30 PM
Right now I'm leaning toward the Alban Berg Quartet's recording.  Been listening to samples & at least for now, I think that's a good place for me to start.  However, I'm bearing in mind the other suggestions here when I might want to broaden my ears a bit (and when I can afford it). 

Must... resist... buying it... now!  
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on March 12, 2008, 09:55:27 PM
Right now I'm leaning toward the Alban Berg Quartet's recording.  Been listening to samples & at least for now, I think that's a good place for me to start.  However, I'm bearing in mind the other suggestions here when I might want to broaden my ears a bit (and when I can afford it). 

Must... resist... buying it... now!  

What I have heard of the Alban Berg set leads me to believe that they would fit your request nicely, as they are a good recording of these works.  ;D

I forget who it was that said, and I paraphrase: "The ______ QT LvB set is the one you want to take out for a night and have a great time with. The Stereo Vegh set is the one you want to take home to meet your momma. The one you want to settle down and have grandchildren with."

Another quote I recall from more than one source "Beethoven's QT music has never been shown this much love."

The Stereo Vegh costs more than the Alban Berg, but it's the one set I would hold onto if forced to choose.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: marvinbrown on March 13, 2008, 01:33:24 AM
Right now I'm leaning toward the Alban Berg Quartet's recording.  Been listening to samples & at least for now, I think that's a good place for me to start.  However, I'm bearing in mind the other suggestions here when I might want to broaden my ears a bit (and when I can afford it). 

Must... resist... buying it... now!  

  Value for money was a very big consideration for me when I was considering buying my first set of Beethoven's string quartets.  There were other CDs at the time that I wanted to purchase so splurging on one set was not really an option for me.  I live in England and the Vegh recording was unfortunately not only very expensive but hard to come by (ie for some reason I had trouble finding it in the shops and from what I recall amazon.co.uk did not have it at the price I was looking for)  I ended up settling for the Alban Berg set and it was the best decision I had ever made!  The sound is excellent, the tone and playing were absolutely beautiful and at a price of £19 for 7 CDs it emerged as the WINNER- No regrets on this side of the "pond". 


  marvin

   
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: ChamberNut on March 13, 2008, 04:21:53 AM
I have the Quartetto Italiano set on Philips.  Completely satisfied.  Still the most listened to CDs in my entire classical collection. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on March 13, 2008, 05:35:12 AM
My own possession so far is the Tokyo RCA in the late quartets, also excellent.

The Tokyo RCA are "all right," and I've indicated above why I would keep (and have kept) their early quartets if one wanted that as a separate set, rather than the 11-CD box. (Even more than the quartet version of 14/1, the set includes the fine and underplayed C major quintet, op. 29.) The Tokyos are very polished and professional, and I certainly find their tempos and overall approach more satisfactory than the Italiani, but I don't hear in Tokyo the kind of incisive, detailed phrasing I get from groups like the Yale and Smetana. Also bothersome to me is their tendency to push forward when confronted with sustained long notes. I'm thinking of the way they accelerate the tempo at the huge climax near the end of the slow movement of 132, and also how the sustained full-measure half notes in the opening Maestoso of 127 are consistently played as dotted quarters rather than halves - thus distorting the rhythm and the sense of syncopation Beethoven builds into the phrase. Not enough to disqualify the set, but a perpetual annoyance the more I hear it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Ephemerid on March 13, 2008, 07:00:24 AM
I have very low resistance... I just bought the ABQ recordings.  Someone should tie me to the mast!   :P

--not that I can't afford it right now, but I still try to allot myself only so much "fun money" per pay period.

Got it with next day shipping (for only 3 bucks) because I'd really like to listen to a chunk on them over the weekend...

Thanks guys for the suggestions, which I've got filed for future use...  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on March 13, 2008, 07:08:36 AM
Let us know what you think of the set, Josh!  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 13, 2008, 10:08:18 AM
I have very low resistance... I just bought the ABQ recordings.  Someone should tie me to the mast!   :P

--not that I can't afford it right now, but I still try to allot myself only so much "fun money" per pay period.

Got it with next day shipping (for only 3 bucks) because I'd really like to listen to a chunk on them over the weekend...

Thanks guys for the suggestions, which I've got filed for future use...  :)


Both the ABQ and Guarneri boxes are in my shopping basket at JPC. They're simply too inexpensive not to buy them.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: FideLeo on March 13, 2008, 12:13:18 PM
Gewandhaus Quartett's integral recording on NCA satisfies me most as sound is important to me. It even includes Beethoven's own arrangement of sonata op. 14-1 (for string quartet of course) and movements from earlier (going back as far as 1910s) recordings of Beethoven by forebears of the group.

(http://img354.imageshack.us/img354/8223/41pdg4vyxhlss500pi9.jpg) (http://imageshack.us)

The ABQ studio recording has been long available in a slim orange box, but the sound quality is simply too harsh to sit through without my attention straying.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on March 13, 2008, 01:32:04 PM
Outstanding technique, but musically void.




He said it. I like their off the wall, goofball wanking on the Grosse Fuge though. Fun for a change.


Borodin Quartet's op. 132 is the best on the market, in my (and apparently someone else's) opinion:

http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-String-Quartets-Op-Rasumovsky/dp/B000006323/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1205443849&sr=8-1 (http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-String-Quartets-Op-Rasumovsky/dp/B000006323/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1205443849&sr=8-1)

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Keemun on March 13, 2008, 07:36:33 PM
Borodin Quartet's op. 132 is the best on the market, in my (and apparently someone else's) opinion:

http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-String-Quartets-Op-Rasumovsky/dp/B000006323/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1205443849&sr=8-1 (http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-String-Quartets-Op-Rasumovsky/dp/B000006323/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1205443849&sr=8-1)


Any idea how it compares to the later recording of Op. 132 on this disc?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51oBaP6teyL._AA280_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on March 13, 2008, 07:42:22 PM
The Stereo Vegh set is the one you want to take home to meet your momma. The one you want to settle down and have grandchildren with."

*LOL....a lot*.  Yup, Vegh all the way. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: zamyrabyrd on March 14, 2008, 06:02:24 AM

Both the ABQ and Guarneri boxes are in my shopping basket at JPC. They're simply too inexpensive not to buy them.
Sarge
How much is "inexpensive"?
Just asking...
ZB
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on March 14, 2008, 06:39:27 AM
How much is "inexpensive"?
Just asking...
ZB


ABQ €26.99,  Guarneri €19.99


Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: zamyrabyrd on March 14, 2008, 09:07:15 AM

ABQ €26.99,  Guarneri €19.99

Sarge

Thanks. For the time being I'm listening to a borrowed ABQ copy from a conservatory library.
A lending library many years ago is where I discovered the F major quartet, op.135 and loved it ever since.
It seems like this was Beethoven's final completed work (1826).

ZB
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Ephemerid on March 14, 2008, 09:10:16 AM
YESSS!!

It just came in-- rushed home to grab it, tossed in op. 127 and its lovely...  I'll take it back with me to work in a few minutes.  I'll be listening to it more in depth over the weekend! 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: ChamberNut on March 14, 2008, 09:18:06 AM
YESSS!!

It just came in-- rushed home to grab it, tossed in op. 127 and its lovely...  I'll take it back with me to work in a few minutes.  I'll be listening to it more in depth over the weekend! 

Josh, this is the meaning of life.  No need to look any further.   ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Ephemerid on March 14, 2008, 09:25:15 AM
Josh, this is the meaning of life.  No need to look any further.   ;D

I'm a believer.  0:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on March 14, 2008, 09:43:22 AM
It seems like this was Beethoven's final completed work (1826).

Almost. He wrote the substitute finale for op. 130 afterwards.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on March 14, 2008, 10:10:31 AM
Any idea how it compares to the later recording of Op. 132 on this disc?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51oBaP6teyL._AA280_.jpg)


Hey, I haven't heard that one yet!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on March 14, 2008, 10:11:17 AM
*LOL....a lot*.  Yup, Vegh all the way. 



If you want just one, complete set, GO VEGH!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on March 14, 2008, 10:13:19 AM
Almost. He wrote the substitute finale for op. 130 afterwards.



Love that one. For me, I prefer the original ending vs. the substitute according to my mood. Sometimes that substitute ending just seems to fit better (though, if ya wanna get technical the Grosse Fuge seems to have more in common motivically with the other late SQs).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on March 14, 2008, 10:41:55 AM


Love that one. For me, I prefer the original ending vs. the substitute according to my mood. Sometimes that substitute ending just seems to fit better (though, if ya wanna get technical the Grosse Fuge seems to have more in common motivically with the other late SQs).

Motivic resemblances only take you so far. Yes, I can easily relate the opening motif of the GF to that of op. 132. But so what? In numerous other ways they inhabit totally separate worlds. What matters at least as much in determining the continuity or coherence of a work is its emotional climate, proportions, tone, texture, etc.

I've taken part in numerous Internet debates over this matter, and I always come down on the side of the substitute finale. It's an exquisite, delightful piece in itself, it is well proportioned to the rest of the quartet, and I doubt Beethoven would have consented to write it had he not felt something was amiss with the overall proportions of the 130 as it originally stood. As it is, the GF is probably the only single movement in any of B's larger absolute works that can be taken from its original surroundings and performed successfully as an isolated piece - this in part because of its great length, as well as the many contrasts in tempo and style that make it really the first self-contained string quartet in a single movement.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on March 14, 2008, 12:12:21 PM
Motivic resemblances only take you so far. Yes, I can easily relate the opening motif of the GF to that of op. 132. But so what? In numerous other ways they inhabit totally separate worlds. What matters at least as much in determining the continuity or coherence of a work is its emotional climate, proportions, tone, texture, etc.

I've taken part in numerous Internet debates over this matter, and I always come down on the side of the substitute finale. It's an exquisite, delightful piece in itself, it is well proportioned to the rest of the quartet, and I doubt Beethoven would have consented to write it had he not felt something was amiss with the overall proportions of the 130 as it originally stood. As it is, the GF is probably the only single movement in any of B's larger absolute works that can be taken from its original surroundings and performed successfully as an isolated piece - this in part because of its great length, as well as the many contrasts in tempo and style that make it really the first self-contained string quartet in a single movement.




I agree with everything here, and I commend you on having written it so well.

Being an obvious Wagnerite, I love motivic studies!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on March 14, 2008, 04:01:35 PM
I have very low resistance... I just bought the ABQ recordings.  Someone should tie me to the mast!   :P

--not that I can't afford it right now, but I still try to allot myself only so much "fun money" per pay period.

Got it with next day shipping (for only 3 bucks) because I'd really like to listen to a chunk on them over the weekend...

Thanks guys for the suggestions, which I've got filed for future use...  :)

The key is that you got a set.  I fiddled around way too long deciding on one.  Enjoy! Enjoy! Enjoy!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on March 14, 2008, 04:10:07 PM
I have the Quartetto Italiano set on Philips.  Completely satisfied.  Still the most listened to CDs in my entire classical collection. 


You know, for the middle quartets especially, I agree. That's just overall an excellent set.

The Berg is a great bargain, but as good as that one is, you'll probably want another.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: ChamberNut on March 18, 2008, 09:15:44 AM
YESSS!!

It just came in-- rushed home to grab it, tossed in op. 127 and its lovely...  I'll take it back with me to work in a few minutes.  I'll be listening to it more in depth over the weekend! 

Josh, how's the set so far?  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Ephemerid on March 18, 2008, 09:34:21 AM
Josh, how's the set so far?  :)

Hey, Chambernut!  First I downloaded them & ordered them up on my computer so I could listen to them in chronological order. 

I've been listening to just the op.18 ones for now-- there's so much!  I don't want to overdose myself so I'm trying to be patient (otherwise I'll stop being attentive)-- though I can easily feel like a kid in a candy store (I did have to take a sneak peek & listen to the Song of Thanksgiving though! I couldn't resist  ;) )

What I love so much about them is the sense of balance & grace (which is what I love about Bach as well).  Of course I know Beethoven worked & worked & re-worked and revised during the whole composition process, but he makes it sound so effortless!

As far as the recording itself goes, I'm very pleased with the sound.  It was money very well-spent-- I wish I had done so years ago...

BTW, I did start keeping a music diary (a great idea you had suggested before) but I have yet to put any new entries yet.  I might post some thoughts from it here at some point...

Thanks Chambernut & everyone else here for your suggestions & encouragement!  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on March 18, 2008, 10:00:23 AM
60s Julliard on sony (Early, Middle)

Talich on Callipe (Middle, Late)

Takacs (Early, Middle)



And Smetana Q on Supraphon for Late and that's pretty much it. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on March 18, 2008, 10:11:42 AM
And Smetana Q on Supraphon for Late and that's pretty much it. :)

Add the Yalies for the lates and I'm with you.

And I cannot express my distaste for the Italiani too strongly. I got rid of my set years ago and so can't go back to cite chapter and verse, but the following comment written on rec.music.classical.recordings in 1998 (not by me) says it all quite well:

Quote
The one time I've heard the Quartetto Italiano, an lp of the op.130, I
wasn't impressed.  Lushness of tone and a certain lyricism, but deadly
slow tempi.  This is not my idea of what Beethoven is about. I know that
one performance is not a good basis on which to form a judgment, but the
terms in which the Italiani are described here lead me to believe that
the performance I heard was representative.

I don't want to step on anyone's toes, but I really don't understand the adulation given this group.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on March 18, 2008, 11:14:15 AM
I've got the Talich, Takacs, one of the Budapest sets, assorted Yales, some Hagen (they should do a complete cycle) and assorted odds and ends; and one question begs asking; why don't anybody mention the Busch (except for the fact that  they didn't record all the quartets)? Still my absolute favorite even though I agree on the strengths of many of the others I mention.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: lukeottevanger on March 18, 2008, 03:31:10 PM
...one question begs asking; why don't anybody mention the Busch (except for the fact that  they didn't record all the quartets)?....

Well, that's exactly why I didn't mention them! Even so, I was about to do so, seeing as people have started recommending particular groups for the 'lates'


Still my absolute favorite even though I agree on the strengths of many of the others I mention.

I completely agree. The Busch in the late quartets are about as sublime as music making gets.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on February 19, 2009, 07:30:41 PM
I am trying to compile a list of every ensemble that recorded a complete cycle of Beethoven's String Quartets.  What I would like is for you to add any complete cycles to the list that you own and possibly a general time frame they were recorded, copy and paste the existing list, then add yours to the list.  Thanks much!  Discussion on the complete cycles, as the list grows, would be most welcome.  Remember, complete cycles only.  I only have one:

1. Végh String Quartet (mid-70's)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dr. Dread on February 19, 2009, 07:34:34 PM
1. Végh String Quartet (mid-70's)
2. Talich String Quartet (late '70s/early '80s)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: nut-job on February 19, 2009, 08:00:45 PM
Vermeer (1980's)
Takacs (2000's)
Quatuor Hongrois (1950's)
Oxford Quartet (1990's)
Endellion Quartet (2000's)
Italiano Quartet (1970's) (don't have it anymore)
Alban Berg Quartet (1990's) (don't have it anymore)


Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on February 19, 2009, 08:03:50 PM

1. Végh String Quartet (mid-70's)
2. Talich String Quartet (late '70s/early '80s)
3. Vermeer (1980's)
4. Takacs (2000's)
5. Quatuor Hongrois (1950's)
6. Oxford Quartet (1990's)
7. Endellion Quartet (2000's)
8. Italiano Quartet (1970's)
9. Alban Berg Quartet (1990's)
10. Julliard QT (1964- 1970)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on February 19, 2009, 08:10:58 PM
Vermeer (1980's)
Takacs (2000's)
Quatuor Hongrois (1950's)
Oxford Quartet (1990's)
Endellion Quartet (2000's)
Italiano Quartet (1970's) (don't have it anymore)
Alban Berg Quartet (1990's) (don't have it anymore)




Comments on the above appreciated.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on February 19, 2009, 08:28:32 PM
What do you really want – a complete list, or a list with comments?  You won’t get both.  Below is a list of recordings (by quartet name) not already mentioned, and some comments on some of them.  The list, when combined with cycles already mentioned, is not complete.

Prazak – 2000s; the best digital cycle on the market
Budapest – 1951/52; possibly the best cycle on record
Emerson – 1990s; precise but colorless and lifeless
Cleveland – 1990s; solid, serious, well-recorded
Budapest – 1958-1961
Alexander  – 1990s
Smetana
Orion
Leipzig
Guarneri – 1960s
Orford
Medici
Vegh - 1950s
Amadeus – 1960s
The Lindsays
Hungarian – 1960s
Kodaly – 2000s
Tanayev
Suske
Gewandhaus
Barylli
Bartok
Tokyo
Beethoven


Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on February 19, 2009, 08:37:38 PM
What do you really want – a complete list, or a list with comments?  You won’t get both.  Below is a list of recordings (by quartet name) not already mentioned, and some comments on some of them.  The list, when combined with cycles already mentioned, is not complete.





Basically what you just gave, Todd.  Quick comments for the ones you have so as to give a snapshot works for me. 


1. Végh String Quartet (mid-70's)
2. Talich String Quartet (late '70s/early '80s)
3. Vermeer (1980's)
4. Takacs (2000's)
5. Quatuor Hongrois (1950's)
6. Oxford Quartet (1990's)
7. Endellion Quartet (2000's)
8. Italiano Quartet (1970's)
9. Alban Berg Quartet (1990's)
10. Julliard QT (1964- 1970)
11. Prazak – 2000s; the best digital cycle on the market
12. Budapest – 1951/52; possibly the best cycle on record
13. Emerson – 1990s; precise but colorless and lifeless
14. Cleveland – 1990s; solid, serious, well-recorded
15. Budapest – 1958-1961
16. Alexander  – 1990s
17. Smetana
18. Orion
19. Leipzig
20. Guarneri – 1960s
21. Orford
22. Medici
23. Vegh - 1950s
24. Amadeus – 1960s
25. The Lindsays
26. Hungarian – 1960s
27. Kodaly – 2000s
28. Tanayev
29. Suske
30. Gewandhaus
31. Barylli
32. Bartok
33. Tokyo
34. Beethoven

Was the Vegh - 1950s complete, or close to complete?  Nice to see Smetana completed the cycle.  I will have to hunt down the cds I need to complete it.  The Tokyo has me curious as well, and your Budapest has been noted and taken seriously at this end.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on February 19, 2009, 08:42:02 PM
Was the Vegh - 1950s complete, or close to complete?  Nice to see Smetana completed the cycle.


The '50s Vegh is complete; I'm pretty sure the Smetana is complete, though I could be wrong.  (Their Beethoven isn't the easiest to find.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on February 19, 2009, 08:59:24 PM

The '50s Vegh is complete; I'm pretty sure the Smetana is complete, though I could be wrong.  (Their Beethoven isn't the easiest to find.)

Tell me about it.  I have 5 of their LvB SQ cds and they were left to me by my father-in-law.  I rarely see one in the bins, and when I do, it has been one I already have.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: imperfection on February 19, 2009, 09:47:16 PM
I have the Amadeus set and like it a lot. The sound is good given its age (1960s).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peregrine on February 19, 2009, 10:33:58 PM
Tell me about it.  I have 5 of their LvB SQ cds and they were left to me by my father-in-law.  I rarely see one in the bins, and when I do, it has been one I already have.

It's all readily available on Denon CD's from Japan. If you want the 'cream' of their Beethoven output though, then purchase the late SQ's set on Supraphon.

http://www.hmv.co.jp/search/index.asp?label=Denon+Crest+1000&genre=700&keyword=beethoven+smetana+string&adv=1&target=CLASSIC

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on February 19, 2009, 10:46:20 PM
What a pity the Busch and Yale never did a complete cycle. I have all (I think) recordings they did, and rate them highly. Sorry for the OT.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: nut-job on February 19, 2009, 10:48:38 PM

Quote
Quatuor Hongrois (1950's)

Comments on the above appreciated.

I regard it highly, expressive without being histrionic and without sacrificing lightness and rhythmic drive.  Unfortunately I can't help but be constantly aware of the 1953 mono sound, which fails to distinguish the instruments as well as a modern recording and which has noticeable distortion at dynamic climaxes.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on February 20, 2009, 04:22:00 AM


Endellion Quartet (2000's)



Has anyone heard this set? I really like their J. Haydn.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on February 20, 2009, 04:38:48 AM
I believe the Alban Berg QT did two. Wasn't there a live cycle later in the nineties?

The first Juilliard cycle was more accurately on CBS -> Sony.

The MElos Quartett of Stuttgart recorded a complete Beethoven cycle for DG in the eighties.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on February 20, 2009, 04:58:53 AM
I believe the Alban Berg QT did two. Wasn't there a live cycle later in the nineties?
Not a complete cycle, I believe, but a few of the quartets for VHS/Laserdisc.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Opus106 on February 20, 2009, 05:45:35 AM
A few comments on the ABQ recording for EMI, since I have that one.

Recorded from 1978 to 1984. Digitally remastered in 1985 and the current set released in 1999.

The early and middle quartets are ADD, while the later ones DDD. And, the violist in the first two "sets" of quartets is Hatto Beyerle, and his place was taken by Thomas Kakuska in the last one.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: nut-job on February 20, 2009, 06:00:39 AM


Has anyone heard this set? I really like their J. Haydn.

I just ordered it ultra-cheap from MDT (20 pounds) but it hasn't come yet.

Also, the notes for the 1953 Quatuor Hongrois set say they recorded another in the 1960's (in stereo).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on February 20, 2009, 06:02:21 AM
I just ordered it ultra-cheap from MDT (20 pounds) but it hasn't come yet.



Am very interested in your views on that when you have time, please.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Lethevich on February 20, 2009, 06:05:10 AM
Jens, thanks for the list, it's a timesaver.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on February 20, 2009, 06:24:04 AM
The Alexander String Quartet's new cycle should be coming out this month or next, IIRC. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on February 20, 2009, 06:30:53 AM
The Alexander String Quartet's new cycle should be coming out this month or next, IIRC. 

Which label?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on February 20, 2009, 06:56:03 AM


Alban Berg Quartet - EMI (70s-80s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000026D4J/goodmusicguide-20)

Amadeus Quartet - DG (59-63) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002DEH2/goodmusicguide-20)

Alexander String Quartet - Arte Nova (1996–97) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000GETWHM/goodmusicguide-20)

Bartók String Quartet - Hungaroton (1969-72) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000060P58/goodmusicguide-20)

Barylli Quartet - Westminster? (??)

Beethoven Quartet - Melodyia (??)

Borodin String Quartet (II?) - Chandos (2000s?)
Vol.1 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000VLSSM/goodmusicguide-20), Vol.2 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001XLW5I/goodmusicguide-20), Vol.3 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0006AZPZO/goodmusicguide-20), Vol.4 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0006SGF1E/goodmusicguide-20), Vol.5 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007ZEBXA/goodmusicguide-20), Vol.6 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000E3LID6/goodmusicguide-20)

Budapest I – CBS Masterworks (1951/52)
Budapest II – [library of Congress??] (1958-1961)

Cleveland I– RCA (1970s) ??
Cleveland II– Telarc (1990s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000003D2W/goodmusicguide-20)

Emerson Quartet– DG (1990s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041KV/goodmusicguide-20)

Endellion String Quartet - Warner (1990s??) [includes fragments] (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001E99GQA/goodmusicguide-20)

Gewandhaus Quartett - NCA (80s??) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00015T1MW/goodmusicguide-20)

Guarneri String Quartet I - RCA (1966-69) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011MK6U/goodmusicguide-20)
Guarneri String Quartet II - ex-Philips, Brilliant (1991) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NJM6KK/goodmusicguide-20)

Hungarian String Quartet I - EMI (1960s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000050470/goodmusicguide-20)

Juilliard String Quartet I -
Juilliard String Quartet II - CBS/Sony (1960s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA6A/goodmusicguide-20)
Juilliard String Quartet III - CBS/Sony (1980s, v.3) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000025QP/goodmusicguide-20), (v.1) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000025QN/goodmusicguide-20)

Kodály String Quartet - Naxos (1990s) (v.1) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000013TY/goodmusicguide-20)

Leipzig Quartet - MDG (1997-2007?) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000021FF/goodmusicguide-20)

Medici String Quartet - Nimbus (1988-90) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000037BC/goodmusicguide-20)

Melos String Quartet - DG (1980s?) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000E314/goodmusicguide-20)

New Budapest Quartet - Helios  (1988-90) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000038I69/nectarandambrUK-21)

Orford String Quartet - Delos (1984-86) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000006VZ/goodmusicguide-20)

Orion String Quartet - Koch (2000s??) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0012OVFRA/goodmusicguide-20)

Prazák String Quartet – Praga Digitals (2000s) [SACD] (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BD1ITI/goodmusicguide-20)

Quartetto Italiano - Philips (1970s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041LL/goodmusicguide-20)

Smetana String Quartet - Nippon? Supraphon? (????)

Suske Quartett - Edel (19??s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002Z851Y/goodmusicguide-20)

Takacs - Decca (2001-04) [my favorite, close tie with the Prazak]  v.1 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SWNHK/goodmusicguide-20), v.2 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000063WRQ/goodmusicguide-20), v.3 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00067R3BG/goodmusicguide-20)

Talich String Quartet - Calliope (1977-81) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004YX0R/goodmusicguide-20)

Taneyev String Quartet - Boheme Music [ex-Melodiya??] (1985-88) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007YLMME/goodmusicguide-20)

The Lindsays I - ex-ASV,  Resonance (early 90s?) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000GG4MP2/nectarandambrUK-21)
The Lindsays II - ASV (2000-01) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000542HN/goodmusicguide-20)

Tokyo I - RCA (1990-92) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000003FGF/goodmusicguide-20)

Végh String Quartet I - Music&Arts (1952) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005NG65/goodmusicguide-20)
Végh String Quartet II - Valois/Naive (1970s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000051ZPV/goodmusicguide-20)

Vermeer String Quartet - Teldec (1990s?) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000SHJ/goodmusicguide-20)

Vlach String Quartet - Praga (1960-65) [complete?] (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000005W1A/goodmusicguide-20)



Thanks for this excellent overview. I see, that I own sixteen of the set´s mentioned above, and six more are on the way.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: nut-job on February 20, 2009, 07:23:05 AM
A few comments on the ABQ recording for EMI, since I have that one.

Recorded from 1978 to 1984. Digitally remastered in 1985 and the current set released in 1999.

The early and middle quartets are ADD, while the later ones DDD. And, the violist in the first two "sets" of quartets is Hatto Beyerle, and his place was taken by Thomas Kakuska in the last one.

A lot of personnel changes.  I was a big fan of the ABQ when they recorded for Telefunken in the 70's.  Then I was disappointed by their subsequent recordings for EMI.  Part of it was that I didn't like EMI's engineering, but checking the personnel I found that it was essentially a different quartet. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on February 20, 2009, 08:06:03 AM
Which label?
Not sure--not Arte Nova--probably the local label they've been recording for lately, Foghorn.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on February 20, 2009, 12:06:25 PM
Not sure--not Arte Nova--probably the local label they've been recording for lately, Foghorn.
If so is the case, the recording may perhaps not become available in Europe? Fuck - horn!!  >:D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on February 20, 2009, 12:43:42 PM
You're an Yurpian fan of the Alexander SQ?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on February 20, 2009, 12:57:52 PM
You're an Yurpian fan of the Alexander SQ?

You are not??
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on February 20, 2009, 01:00:30 PM
Well, I was wondering how do you get to be a ASQ fan in Yurp, since they don't perform here a lot, and there are so many other choices in the record stores.

(I'm mainly aware of them due to a personal connection.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on February 20, 2009, 01:16:26 PM
Well, I was wondering how do you get to be a ASQ fan in Yurp, since they don't perform here a lot, and there are so many other choices in the record stores.

(I'm mainly aware of them due to a personal connection.)

I became aware of them by chance, acquiring the Sony LvB masterworks box last year. They were indeed instrumental (pun intended) in opening my eyes (and ears) for the unique world of LvBs String quartets.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Maciek on February 20, 2009, 02:50:04 PM
Thanks for starting this thread, Bill - I'm in a bit of discography mood lately and this is perfect.

And I must say I'm surprised there aren't at least four to ten times as many. ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on February 20, 2009, 04:36:14 PM
[updated and moved down in the list]

Please add information to this (for example by sending it to me privately... no need to bloat the thread) as you have it.
This has no claims to completeness... (yet)

[P] = I own substantial parts
[O_] = I own

Alphabetically:


Alban Berg Quartet - EMI (70s-80s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000026D4J/goodmusicguide-20) [P]

Amadeus Quartet - DG (59-63) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00002DEH2/goodmusicguide-20)

Alexander String Quartet - Arte Nova (1996–97) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000GETWHM/goodmusicguide-20)

Bartók String Quartet - Hungaroton (1969-72) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000060P58/goodmusicguide-20)

Barylli Quartet - Westminster? (??)

Beethoven Quartet - Melodyia (??)

Borodin String Quartet (II?) - Chandos (2000s?)
Vol.1 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000VLSSM/goodmusicguide-20), Vol.2 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0001XLW5I/goodmusicguide-20), Vol.3 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0006AZPZO/goodmusicguide-20), Vol.4 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0006SGF1E/goodmusicguide-20), Vol.5 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007ZEBXA/goodmusicguide-20), Vol.6 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000E3LID6/goodmusicguide-20)

Budapest I – CBS Masterworks (1951/52)
Budapest II – [library of Congress??] (1958-1961)

Cleveland I– RCA (1970s) ??
Cleveland II– Telarc (1990s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000003D2W/goodmusicguide-20)

Emerson Quartet– DG (1990s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041KV/goodmusicguide-20) [P]

Endellion String Quartet - Warner (1990s??) [includes fragments and op.14] (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B001E99GQA/goodmusicguide-20)

Gewandhaus Quartett - NCA (80s??) [includes op.14] (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00015T1MW/goodmusicguide-20) [P]

Guarneri String Quartet I - RCA (1966-69) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00011MK6U/goodmusicguide-20) [O_]
Guarneri String Quartet II - ex-Philips, Brilliant (1991) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000NJM6KK/goodmusicguide-20) [O_]

Hungarian String Quartet I - EMI (1960s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000050470/goodmusicguide-20)

Juilliard String Quartet I -
Juilliard String Quartet II - CBS/Sony (1960s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00006OA6A/goodmusicguide-20) [O_]
Juilliard String Quartet III - CBS/Sony (1980s, v.3) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000025QP/goodmusicguide-20), (v.1) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000025QN/goodmusicguide-20)

Kodály String Quartet - Naxos (1990s) (v.1) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000013TY/goodmusicguide-20)

Leipzig Quartet - MDG (1997-2007?) [single discs, includes op.14] (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000021FF/goodmusicguide-20)

Medici String Quartet - Nimbus (1988-90) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000037BC/goodmusicguide-20)

Melos String Quartet - DG (1980s?) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00000E314/goodmusicguide-20)

New Budapest Quartet - Helios  (1988-90) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000038I69/nectarandambrUK-21)

Orford String Quartet - Delos (1984-86) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000006VZ/goodmusicguide-20)

Orion String Quartet - Koch (2000s??) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0012OVFRA/goodmusicguide-20)

Prazák String Quartet – Praga Digitals (2000s) [SACD] (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BD1ITI/goodmusicguide-20) [P]

Quartetto Italiano - Philips (1970s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000041LL/goodmusicguide-20) [O_]

Smetana String Quartet - Nippon? Supraphon? (????)

Suske Quartett - Edel (19??s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0002Z851Y/goodmusicguide-20)

Takacs - Decca (2001-04) [my favorite, close tie with the Prazak]  v.1 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SWNHK/goodmusicguide-20), v.2 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000063WRQ/goodmusicguide-20), v.3 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00067R3BG/goodmusicguide-20) [O_]

Talich String Quartet - Calliope (1977-81) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00004YX0R/goodmusicguide-20)

Taneyev String Quartet - Boheme Music [ex-Melodiya??] (1985-88) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0007YLMME/goodmusicguide-20)

The Lindsays I - ex-ASV,  Resonance (early 90s?) (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000GG4MP2/nectarandambrUK-21)
The Lindsays II - ASV (2000-01) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000542HN/goodmusicguide-20) [P]

Tokyo I - RCA (1990-92) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000003FGF/goodmusicguide-20) [O_]

Végh String Quartet I - Music&Arts (1952) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00005NG65/goodmusicguide-20)
Végh String Quartet II - Valois/Naive (1970s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000051ZPV/goodmusicguide-20) [O_]

Vermeer String Quartet - Teldec (1990s?) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000000SHJ/goodmusicguide-20)

Vlach String Quartet - Praga (1960-65) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000005W1A/goodmusicguide-20)



In progress:

Tokyo String Quartet - Harmonia Mundi (2000s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000U7V93K/goodmusicguide-20) [P]

Quatuor Mosaïques - Naive (2000s) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0009275TI/goodmusicguide-20) [P]
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on February 20, 2009, 04:40:49 PM
Well, I'm darn sure looking forward to the Mosaiques' late SQs. The only reason I didn't grab the early by them is because I only need so many copies of the early (I await the hate).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 08, 2009, 10:30:26 AM
Bump.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on June 08, 2009, 10:38:19 AM
Bump.

I keep thinking that our Andy has returned.  :-[
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 08, 2009, 11:49:39 AM
I particularly interested in the Suske and Gewandhaus recordings. What is their place in the pantheon?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: FideLeo on June 08, 2009, 12:10:59 PM

Gewandhaus Quartett - NCA (80s??) [includes op.14] (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00015T1MW/goodmusicguide-20) [P]

This Gewandhaus cycle was recorded between 1998 and 2003. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 08, 2009, 05:21:00 PM
Can we play pick yer fav Op.95?

All I have is Vermeer, so I can tell that there's sooo much more. Is this the first "metal" >:DSQ? Seriously. I would think the Emerson might take the cake here, stereotypically speaking, with all those razor blades. Serioso, indeed.

I would think that five or less SQs have EVER played Op.95 to perfection, maybe even more so than the later SQs? Any thoughts? It has a modern darkness and tautness not present in the later SQs,... LvB at the height of his "Middle" period. I think I may have found my "gothic" SQ! It feels like the "Poe" SQ, no?

What's the "creepiest" recording of this work???haha
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on June 08, 2009, 11:57:28 PM
Can we play pick yer fav Op.95?

What's the "creepiest" recording of this work?? [op.95, "Serioso"]

There is. And it's the Hagen String Quartet

(http://g-ecx.images-amazon.com/images/G/01/ciu/45/de/cfcd024128a09beae7608010.L._AA240_.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000026CCH/goodmusicguide-20).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on June 09, 2009, 04:04:51 AM
There is. And it's the Hagen String Quartet
 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000026CCH/goodmusicguide-20)
At present that's my pick, too (though I wouldn't know where to begin with "creepiest").
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 09, 2009, 07:54:00 AM
As soon as I saw that Hagen Schubert/LvB on the Schubert thread, my eyes popped out! :o

Then I was checking Amazon reviews, and some of their late LvB really got slammed hard (Op. 127). Everyone was like, This is not what we were expecting from the Hagen???

So, I take it, their Op.95 is the Hagen up to their good ole provocative selves? It DOES look like suuuch a great cd!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bunny on June 09, 2009, 07:56:43 AM
Re: Smetana String Quartet -- I've only seen their recordings under the Denon label, though I don't doubt that they have also recorded for Supraphon.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Que on June 09, 2009, 08:03:30 AM
Re: Smetana String Quartet -- I've only seen their recordings under the Denon label, though I don't doubt that they have also recorded for Supraphon.

Those are recordings made for Supraphon, licensed to Denon.

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bunny on June 09, 2009, 08:23:58 AM
Those are recordings made for Supraphon, licensed to Denon.

Q

Interesting!  Usually Denon was most concerned with the engineering and sound quality.  Could Supraphon have used Denon engineers and equipment?  I don't have that set but considered it when I saw it at Tower years and years ago.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peregrine on June 09, 2009, 08:54:06 AM
Smetana SQ discography:

http://bit.ly/eHrtY
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Que on June 09, 2009, 09:08:51 AM
Interesting!  Usually Denon was most concerned with the engineering and sound quality.  Could Supraphon have used Denon engineers and equipment?  I don't have that set but considered it when I saw it at Tower years and years ago.

Ah! The just posted discography by Peregrine says: joint production - so your assumptions probably are correct! :)

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on June 09, 2009, 09:29:39 AM
As soon as I saw that Hagen Schubert/LvB on the Schubert thread, my eyes popped out! :o

Then I was checking Amazon reviews, and some of their late LvB really got slammed hard (Op. 127). Everyone was like, This is not what we were expecting from the Hagen???

So, I take it, their Op.95 is the Hagen up to their good ole provocative selves? It DOES look like suuuch a great cd!
Yes.

Re. Amazon reviews: note that they can be even iffier than opinions here, but just like here there are some reviewers there who can be helpful once you've learned how their tastes and judgment line up with yours.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bunny on June 10, 2009, 12:53:21 PM
Ah! The just posted discography by Peregrine says: joint production - so your assumptions probably are correct! :)

Q

Aha! It was a joint production  Well, Denon may be out of the music business, but it's still in the business of manufacturing high quality audio/visual components.  I believe the company was originally the Japanese arm of Columbia Records. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 10, 2009, 04:41:53 PM
Aha! It was a joint production  Well, Denon may be out of the music business, but it's still in the business of manufacturing high quality audio/visual components.  I believe the company was originally the Japanese arm of Columbia Records. 

Bunny, you might (or might not) be happy to know that Denon is still in the music business. :)

And as far as the "joint venture" thing, over the years I've had a few of those Supraphon/Denon discs and the role Denon plays is difficult to ascertain. I still have one of them and the copyright belongs to Supraphon and it was recorded in Prague. But the disc was "manufactured by Denon/Nippon Columbia, Japan. Printed in Japan". Plus we get some of the text in Japanese. But that's it. No specific credits.

I can't help wondering if the venture wasn't simply a way of distributing Supraphon's product in the far east, much like Melodiya did over the years with various labels in the west, including EMI, Columbia, and even BMG.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bunny on June 10, 2009, 04:49:56 PM
Bunny, you might (or might not) be happy to know that Denon is still in the music business. :)

And as far as the "joint venture" thing, over the years I've had a few of those Supraphon/Denon discs and the role Denon plays is difficult to ascertain. I still have one of them and the copyright belongs to Supraphon and it was recorded in Prague. But the disc was "manufactured by Denon/Nippon Columbia, Japan. Printed in Japan". Plus we get some of the text in Japanese. But that's it. No specific credits.

I can't help wondering if the venture wasn't simply a way of distributing Supraphon's product in the far east, much like Melodiya did over the years with various labels in the west, including EMI, Columbia, and even BMG.

If Denon is in the music business, is it in the classical music business?  I haven't seen any Denon cd releases in years, then again there are hardly any brick stores to see them in anymore.

Or Denon might have loaned some recording equipment, or not.  If the recordings were for distribution in Asia, then I wonder why I saw them in Tower?  
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 10, 2009, 05:17:21 PM
If Denon is in the music business, is it in the classical music business?

They are. They just released a Beethoven/Richter CD just this year. 

Quote
If the recordings were for distribution in Asia, then I wonder why I saw them in Tower? 

Back in the day I could occasionally find Supraphon/Denon discs in the second-hand shops! No longer, though.

This was possible because where I live we had shops that weren't afraid to import CDs. First Sound Warehouse/Blockbuster Music, then Tower.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Coopmv on June 10, 2009, 06:11:42 PM
Yes.

Re. Amazon reviews: note that they can be even iffier than opinions here, but just like here there are some reviewers there who can be helpful once you've learned how their tastes and judgment line up with yours.

But the Sante Fe Listener has to be ignored?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: FideLeo on June 10, 2009, 07:44:42 PM
They are. They just released a Beethoven/Richter CD just this year. 

Also refer to their homepage in Japanese (http://columbia.jp/classics/index.html): they are still recording living artists, even ones from the West: currently the Carmina Quartet (Bartok).

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on June 10, 2009, 07:50:11 PM
Re. Amazon reviews: note that they can be even iffier than opinions here, but just like here there are some reviewers there who can be helpful once you've learned how their tastes and judgment line up with yours.
But the Sante Fe Listener has to be ignored?
Hell no!  He's one of the most reliable guides I've found.  Almost a reverse Scott Morrison.  Just as Scott's taste is so close to mine that he's a trustworthy reviewer in the positive sense, so Sante Fe Dude's taste is so nearly opposite mine that he's nearly a perfect reverse guide: if he likes it, then usually I won't, and if he doesn't much like it, chances are it's great!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 11, 2009, 03:09:59 PM
Suske-Quartett: Beethoven Op.18 (Berlin)

This is a virgin cruise for me, so I am unfamiliar with the music. How I can tell if the group employs suspect practices, or whether LvB's music is just quirky, I don't know. But I got this set based on the raves I was able to unearth on the web. This set was recorded in 1976.

One reviewer said the Suske belonged to the "take a risk" type of Quartet, and I do hear things in this music that I would think are particular to this group of players. As far as I can tell, this set is dynamite!

I hear no slackness, no intonation problems, no overt problems at all. The ensemble has great everything, including personality. The recording has plenty of air, yet also has a very "rustic" quality (apparently the original LPs were terrible sounding, but this remastering is really "there", a really "special" and A- to A recording).

The reviewer compared the Suske to the Talich, saying that the Suske were probably more technically proficient. As such, all I can say is they seem to do everything just so, and then there is personality aplenty on top of that. Even I can tell that these are joyous performances, and I would venture a guess that if more people at GMG knew them, I wouldn't seem like such a loon for picking such an unknown recording.

Apparently, they did record the entire cycle 1968-80.

I think this whole set is quite the experience. I don't even think that all the music's all "that", but this group plays every note as if it were a masterpiece, and I just wish I could get a witness!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on June 11, 2009, 03:20:27 PM
Suske-Quartett: Beethoven Op.18 (Berlin)

This is a virgin cruise for me, so I am unfamiliar with the music. How I can tell if the group employs suspect practices, or whether LvB's music is just quirky, I don't know. But I got this set based on the raves I was able to unearth on the web. This set was recorded in 1976.

One reviewer said the Suske belonged to the "take a risk" type of Quartet, and I do hear things in this music that I would think are particular to this group of players. As far as I can tell, this set is dynamite!

I hear no slackness, no intonation problems, no overt problems at all. The ensemble has great everything, including personality. The recording has plenty of air, yet also has a very "rustic" quality (apparently the original LPs were terrible sounding, but this remastering is really "there", a really "special" and A- to A recording).

The reviewer compared the Suske to the Talich, saying that the Suske were probably more technically proficient. As such, all I can say is they seem to do everything just so, and then there is personality aplenty on top of that. Even I can tell that these are joyous performances, and I would venture a guess that if more people at GMG knew them, I wouldn't seem like such a loon for picking such an unknown recording.

Apparently, they did record the entire cycle 1968-80.

I think this whole set is quite the experience. I don't even think that all the music's all "that", but this group plays every note as if it were a masterpiece, and I just wish I could get a witness!

So I can take it that although you are very impressed with the set, the music is presented in a very appealing manner to your taste, and it is "just so", that you aren't happy with it and will continue buying and listening until you find the "perfect" set?

I see a big future for you as a classical music fan. ;D

8)



----------------
Listening to:
Hugh  Scottish CO / Halstead - Boccherini Concerto #4 in C for Cello G481 1st mvmt
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 11, 2009, 06:28:52 PM
So I can take it that although you are very impressed with the set, the music is presented in a very appealing manner to your taste, and it is "just so", that you aren't happy with it and will continue buying and listening until you find the "perfect" set?

I see a big future for you as a classical music fan. ;D

8)



----------------
Listening to:
Hugh  Scottish CO / Halstead - Boccherini Concerto #4 in C for Cello G481 1st mvmt

Au contraire, it is I who am trying to get others to do the reviews, haha >:D! I'm strictly a "Tell Me What to Buy" guy. No, I'm challenging YOU to buy this set >:D and tell me I'm crazy, or wot! No, I was saying I'd still like to to hear the ABQ "live", but I can dream about the 60s Guarnieri and the Tokyo.

No, absolutely not. I fight against CDCDCD...we need a thread 0:)...

I'm not "snyprrr" for nuthin!

If there was a Beethoven-off, I would confidently offer the Suske to all comers. Seriously, if one of youse guys who lives this stuff wants, I'll loan you this copy. Either it's one of the all-time contendas, or it's not.

I challenge all Op.18s... come on Takacs, what? y'chicken? :'(scared? :'( :'(aww...it's just some old East Germans from the 70s 8). Huh? y'flinchin Mosaiques >:(???

   ...we may get pummelled out dere Barney, but... I think... I can... do it...
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on June 12, 2009, 12:45:10 AM
I challenge all Op.18s... come on Takacs, what? y'chicken? :'(scared? :'( :'(aww...it's just some old East Germans from the 70s 8). Huh? y'flinchin Mosaiques >:(???

   ...we may get pummelled out dere Barney, but... I think... I can... do it...



Bring. Them. On.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 12, 2009, 07:27:00 AM
RUMBLE IN WIG TOWN!!! :o :o :o

SATURDAY!!!SATURDAY!!!

...GIT YER TICKETS RIGHT'CHEER!!!...
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on June 12, 2009, 07:02:11 PM
Also refer to their homepage in Japanese (http://columbia.jp/classics/index.html): they are still recording living artists, even ones from the West: currently the Carmina Quartet (Bartok).

Oops, a belated thanks for that, masolino...
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: FideLeo on June 12, 2009, 07:09:04 PM
Oops, a belated thanks for that, masolino...

Thank you for the thanks  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bunny on June 13, 2009, 08:00:09 AM

 I can dream about the 60s Guarnieri



You can do more than dream, it's been available as a budget priced box set for ages!

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HVAN78AML._SS400_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 16, 2009, 01:41:49 PM
Is Op.59 No.3 in C major the most misunderstood SQ?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: ChamberNut on June 16, 2009, 02:01:23 PM
Is Op.59 No.3 in C major the most misunderstood SQ?

I think it's considered the opposite.  From what I've read.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on June 16, 2009, 02:14:53 PM
Is Op.59 No.3 in C major the most misunderstood SQ?


That's nothing compared to the might and mystery of op. 130. 130 runs the gamut of emotional variations; it's at least as wide ranging and stellar as anything anyone before him wrote. Including his own work.

In my opinion.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 16, 2009, 06:20:52 PM
Is Op.59 No.3 in C major the most misunderstood SQ?

What was I thinking? >:(

Whatever the stunning logic, it escapes me now.

If I wrote that at five in the morning, it might explain... ??? ??? ???
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on June 17, 2009, 05:54:33 AM

That's nothing compared to the might and mystery of op. 130. 130 runs the gamut of emotional variations; it's at least as wide ranging and stellar as anything anyone before him wrote. Including his own work.

In my opinion.
Okay, dude...in your honor I'll start the day's listening with the Vegh's op 130.  ;D  8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on June 17, 2009, 11:01:32 AM
Okay, dude...in your honor I'll start the day's listening with the Vegh's op 130.  ;D  8)



Hey, that's a gooooOOOOOoood one!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 18, 2009, 09:28:04 AM
You know I was kind of raving about that Suske/Berlin set of the Early SQs. I wasn't going to go there, but I just picked up their Middle SQs for $3.97. How can I posssibly go wrong?...I believe I can't! ;D

I reeeally wish I could get a witness on this Suske-Quartett. Look out for more raves next week (hopefully).

$3.97...I love it!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 24, 2009, 02:13:13 PM
Suske-Quartett: Op.59 1-3, Op.74

I was raving about the Suske Op.18. Then I finally saw this Middle SQ box (another case of Amazonian mis-placement) for only $3.99, sooo...

All I have to compare is the Budapest/Sony Op.59 1-2. As such, both groups' approaches appear to be similar. The Suske Op.59 was recorded in 1967-8, and the "Harp" in 1975. Op.59 No.3 "sounds" different than the other two (more up front), whereas 1-2 have a deep reverb indeed (which does not detract from the music, to my ears). The music itself is up front and detailed.

All I can say is that compared to the Budapest (1959), the Suske come up smelling quite sweet. The intros to both 1 and 2 are handled just fine here, whereas I found the Budapest juuust a touch headlong. The only other compare I had was the Vermeer, which I had to return (though I wasn't all that pleased with them).

I know I'm probably not going to find a witness for this set, and I'm just not familiar enough with this music to judge the performance beyond the fact that to my ears this group does nothing untoward or strange. I dooo detect personalities, in the good way.

Anyhow, for $3.99, I don't think one could ever hope to find such good solid performances.

Anyone?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bunny on June 25, 2009, 04:11:35 AM
I don't know what the listing is for the bargain Suske qt. Sets is, I have only seen the sets listed at Amazon in the neighborhood of $15 @. The sets were licensed to Brilliant Classics for a while, but are now under the Berlin label. I'm not motivated to buy the cycle at $45, but if I found it for $12 to $15 for all three sets, I would be very tempted from your write-ups, and I already have 4 complete sets as well as some partial cycles.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on June 25, 2009, 05:36:08 AM
I have just got the Suske set. But I have also got much else to listen to, so I shall not be able to listen to Suske in the nearest future.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 25, 2009, 09:23:02 AM
Aarrgh!!! :-X
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 25, 2009, 09:45:26 AM
I don't know what the listing is for the bargain Suske qt. Sets is, I have only seen the sets listed at Amazon in the neighborhood of $15 @. The sets were licensed to Brilliant Classics for a while, but are now under the Berlin label. I'm not motivated to buy the cycle at $45, but if I found it for $12 to $15 for all three sets, I would be very tempted from your write-ups, and I already have 4 complete sets as well as some partial cycles.

The Amazon listings for Suske are all mixed up. The $15 set is the Late SQs. I think I might have sucked up most of the "used" deals here, but for the middle SQs punch in "beethoven quartet 59 74" and they should come up somewhere in the list (and I believe there was another $3.99 59/74 available).

There are also very expensive japanese versions of the same stuff, I believe...eh, oy ::).

Anyhow, the more I listen to the Suske, the more I think they should be mentioned along with the Guarnieri, Tokyo, Budapest, Italian. They are from the same general generation, though a little later ('65-'80).These guys are definitely a super tight "unit". Though I declare I have not much to compare (Budapest, Vermeer), they appear to do everything right (nailing tempos, intonation, technique), along with oodles of what must be called "personality." I don't think the Kodaly sound like this! There is definitely some "wood" here!!

I may very well have to get that final Late Box ($15 still not bad for 3-4 cds). They were recorded last (very late '70s), so my expectations are pretty high. I might consider them like an alternative Teldec era ABQ but with a more gutsy sound. You can really feel the peasants in Op.18!

The Gewandhaus Quartet is also another extremely dangerous "addictive" group. Look them up!

ok, enough gushing!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bunny on June 26, 2009, 02:50:44 PM
Snyprrr, thanks for the search suggestions!  I still haven't decided whether to order them or not.  From what you have written I suspect that they are probably very close to the Prazak Qt. Cycle, which has the benefit of top digital sound quality as well as wonderful performances. I've been enjoying them even more than my previous favorite Takacs Qt. cycle for their gentler string tone. 

Apparently the Suske quartets were recorded in E. Germany and the original LP releases were most memorable for their horrible sound quality.  Later remastering (probably by or for Brilliant Classics) markedly improved the sound quality.  I wouldn't dismiss the Japanese editions that quickly; they probably have the best sound of all the releases
 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: ChamberNut on June 27, 2009, 06:35:56 AM
Just pulled out the Melvin Berger book Guide to Chamber Music, and reading up on the LVB late quartets. (You have no idea how many times I use this book as a reference guide  :))

Question:  For Beethoven's op.133 Grosse Fuge, has anyone heard and know of recordings of the four-hand piano transcription?  Are there four-hand piano transcriptions of all the quartets?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 27, 2009, 10:16:28 AM
Snyprrr, thanks for the search suggestions!  I still haven't decided whether to order them or not.  From what you have written I suspect that they are probably very close to the Prazak Qt. Cycle, which has the benefit of top digital sound quality as well as wonderful performances. I've been enjoying them even more than my previous favorite Takacs Qt. cycle for their gentler string tone.

I heard they were similar to the Talich but with greater "technical address"!

Apparently the Suske quartets were recorded in E. Germany and the original LP releases were most memorable for their horrible sound quality.  Later remastering (probably by or for Brilliant Classics) markedly improved the sound quality.  I wouldn't dismiss the Japanese editions that quickly; they probably have the best sound of all the releases
 

These recordings have some great "reverb" that doesn't muddy the music, but in those crucial chordal stabs (59/3-1, 74/1) the ambience carries the stab through. I can only imagine what the LPs sounded like!

The Japanese cds do state that they are "remastered", so there is a good possibility that there is an even better remastering for them.

While you're at it, check out the Gewandhaus Quartet. Their cycle has become somewhat of a sleeper recommendation. Apparently they revel in risky behaviour... and it pays off!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 27, 2009, 10:37:57 AM
Do you know that part at the end of the first mvmt. of the "Harp", where all the elements come together for that "epic" like passage right before the end? I imagine this is one of those sections all LvB players are judged on. One of the things I like about this Suske set is the separation/unification of the instruments, and they shine in this supreme moment.

Also, I tried to check for intonation. There was a particularly "exposed" section in one of the Op.59/Harp (don't remember) where the violin floats stratospherically above the accomp., very delicate, and I thought Suske handled this just fine. These players appear to be quite rock solid.

I dread wading into the LvB SQ sweepstakes. Already I want more sets to compare with! Check out the other LvB SQ thread!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bunny on June 27, 2009, 11:42:20 AM
Snyprrr, the one thing I haven't heard criticized is the musicianship of the players.  I believe I read that the first violin was the concert master of the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra, so the LG Qt. would be a natural comparison.  If you can, try and see if they say anything about that in the book notes. Then see what the background of the LG Qt. is. I imagine that there will be some interesting connections. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bunny on June 27, 2009, 11:58:49 AM
Thanks for the reviews :).

Hmm, these are elusive. The only ones I can find are the Mosaiques and Turner. I think the cellist in the Eroica is the lead cellist in my local, the SCO. Maybe I should waylay him at a concert and get him to give me a copy :P.

Masolino, can I ask, what's distinctive about British HIP? Is this in contast to the other ensembles you mention as a kind of 'Continental' mode of HIP?

Try the Beethovenhaus website for Schuppanzigh Qt. recordings. They were recorded using Beethoven's instruments from their collection and there may still be copies available from them. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 27, 2009, 12:41:05 PM
Oh yes.

Suske formed his SQ in 1965 from the first chairs of the Berlin Staatskapelle.

In 1980, I believe, Karl became the concertmaster of the Gewandhaus orchestra. The Suske-Quartett lived on as the Berlin Quartett.

The Gewandhaus Quartett, I believe, was then formed, which, again, I believe, contains Suske's son (or other relative?), Conrad?, I believe.

So yes, that's why I was so interested in these two. I believe there must be some kind of performance tradition going on here. The LGSQ has been garnering some really impressive reviews for their risky interpretations that apparently work very well (playing things reeeally fast).

That's why I was holding off on getting the Suske Late Quartets, because i'd heard the Gewandhaus were so much more exploratory. But, still, price might rear it's ugly head. I certainly do not mind getting late LvB piece meal (I really don't think I'd want only one group here).

Something must have been going on behind that ole Torn Curtain!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bunny on June 27, 2009, 06:59:45 PM
Oh yes.

Suske formed his SQ in 1965 from the first chairs of the Berlin Staatskapelle.

In 1980, I believe, Karl became the concertmaster of the Gewandhaus orchestra. The Suske-Quartett lived on as the Berlin Quartett.

The Gewandhaus Quartett, I believe, was then formed, which, again, I believe, contains Suske's son (or other relative?), Conrad?, I believe.

So yes, that's why I was so interested in these two. I believe there must be some kind of performance tradition going on here. The LGSQ has been garnering some really impressive reviews for their risky interpretations that apparently work very well (playing things reeeally fast).

That's why I was holding off on getting the Suske Late Quartets, because i'd heard the Gewandhaus were so much more exploratory. But, still, price might rear it's ugly head. I certainly do not mind getting late LvB piece meal (I really don't think I'd want only one group here).

Something must have been going on behind that ole Torn Curtain!

Captive artists jamming?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on July 08, 2009, 08:52:56 PM
Is anyone familiar with the Melos Quartett Stuttgart playing the Late Quartets on some cheapie label?

Did they record the Late SQs for DG? or is this some 70s recording that has been repackaged?

It's very cheap!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on July 10, 2009, 06:13:49 PM
Got rid of Vegh cycle.

 :o
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on July 15, 2009, 02:16:38 PM
Got rid of Vegh cycle.

Why?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on July 19, 2009, 05:36:41 AM
:o


 :o :o :o!!!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peregrine on July 19, 2009, 12:19:33 PM
Why?

Just found it second rate in comparison to others. Yes they can sound profound, deep and spiritual in parts, but they also suffer from some technical (intonation) difficulties and (to these ears at least) appear to dither and dally through the music at times. I'ld take the Juilliard set any day of the week...

IMO of course  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on July 19, 2009, 12:28:43 PM
Just found it second rate in comparison to others. Yes they can sound profound, deep and spiritual in parts, but they also suffer from some technical (intonation) difficulties and (to these ears at least) appear to dither and dally through the music at times. I'ld take the Juilliard set any day of the week...

IMO of course  ;)

Thanks for clarifying. I realize that the Julliard is a very different kind of performance and that you love the Julliard set, so what you say makes sense - for you.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peregrine on July 19, 2009, 12:45:28 PM
Thanks for clarifying. I realize that the Julliard is a very different kind of performance and that you love the Julliard set, so what you say makes sense - for you.  :)


Hi George - Yes, quite correct. I do have a strong attachment to that Juilliard set, but can still see the merits of the Vegh's second cycle. It's a good set, just not my cup of tea.

Ask me about the Emerson's though and you make not get such a civil response  >:D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on July 19, 2009, 01:07:05 PM
Hi George - Yes, quite correct. I do have a strong attachment to that Juilliard set, but can still see the merits of the Vegh's second cycle. It's a good set, just not my cup of tea.

I have a similar feeling about the Julliard, though I haven't given up on it yet.

Quote
Ask me about the Emerson's though and you make not get such a civil response  >:D

Nor would you get one from me.  I won't get you started.  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Haffner on July 19, 2009, 02:14:31 PM
The Juillard is really, really good.

The Emersons. No.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on August 22, 2009, 12:03:14 AM
I have been so taken with the Suske-Quartett in both Op.18 and the Op.59/Op.74 set, that I just ordered the Late Quartets (w/Op.95). Though I did most of my LvB SQ comparisons over 10 years ago, I can vouch that from what I've already heard by this group, I believe I am in for quite an experience.

Tempos always appear perfect, intonation is on, and attacks are "fierce" (as they like to say!); and the Suske do appear to be the kind of group that likes to "do" stuff. Little expressive things here and there suggest individuals intent on putting their stamp on this music, and in the good way, too!

As I was contemplating how to acquire the Late Quartets (used to have Melos/DG), I thought to get a different group for each SQ (yea, right...not right now...$$$), but eventually I just knew I had to complete the Suske set because I just haaad to know how they take the Cavatina and the HeligerDankesang. So far, no other GMGer has come forward as a witness here, but I have been banging this drum pretty loudly (I know Bunny has heard my raves!) and I do hope to be shortly raving about the late SQs also (and with said raves convince ye fellows to follow me into beulah land).

In the mean time, I would highly recommend anyone to try the Suske Op.18 or MiddleSQs. The intensity and control of the MiddleSQS still has me quite impressed. Oh, I wish i had a witness!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 22, 2009, 04:27:29 AM
Oh, I wish i had a witness!

I can't witness yet but your extreme advocacy has made me a believer. Just ordered the Gewandhaus complete set and the late quartets from the Suske. Should be in my hands by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on August 22, 2009, 09:26:32 AM
In the mean time, I would highly recommend anyone to try the Suske Op.18 or MiddleSQs. The intensity and control of the MiddleSQS still has me quite impressed. Oh, I wish i had a witness!

I can not stand to see a cry for help like this, and as I seem to be the only one here (other than you) who owns the LvB / Suske set, which I actually acquired because of your recommendation, but had not heard yet, I decided to listen to some of it to day. I chose op.18 no. 1,2 & 3, op.59 no. 1 & 2, op. 127 and op 132. And they are indeed outstanding. Some of the best I ever have heard. These four gentlemen certainly master their instruments and play in perfect ensemble. And the interpretation is celestial serene and at the same time intense expressive without a hint of sentimentality. Imagine an interpretation with the lucidness and control af the Alban Berg Quartet combined with the expresivity of the Vegh quartet. And even still better than that.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on August 22, 2009, 09:44:51 AM
I can't witness yet but your extreme advocacy has made me a believer. Just ordered the Gewandhaus complete set and the late quartets from the Suske. Should be in my hands by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Sarge

 :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:)

THE GEWANDHAUS??????!!!!!!!  AWESOMEAWESOME!!!!!! I will so be looking forward to your assessment!!! Yay, someone finally got the Gewandhaus...yay!!!!

I can not stand to see a cry for help like this, and as I seem to be the only one here (other than you) who owns the LvB / Suske set, which I actually acquired because of your recommendation, but had not heard yet, I decided to listen to some of it to day. I chose op.18 no. 1,2 & 3, op.59 no. 1 & 2, op. 127 and op 132. And they are indeed outstanding. Some of the best I ever have heard. These four gentlemen certainly master their instruments and play in perfect ensemble. And the interpretation is celestial serene and at the same time intense expressive without a hint of sentimentality. Imagine an interpretation with the lucidness and control af the Alban Berg Quartet combined with the expresivity of the Vegh quartet. And even still better than that.

 :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:)

THANKTHANKYOU!!!!!! VINDICATION, HAHAHAHAHAHA (mad laughter)....wow, so I'm NOT crazy (don't even think it! >:D)... thank you so much, I have been waiting for someone to be able to put the Suske in context. Wow ABQ+Vegh...that is such an awesome recommend!!!

"And even still better than that." WOW, let's hope we start a trend here!!!

Wow, I can't tell you two guys how happy I am right now! I'm going to frame these posts, haha. Ohhhh, boy...wow...I'm speechless...BUNNY, are you listening??!!!!!!....ahhh....

(five minutes later)... wow, I am so looking forward to that LateSQ set. And I'm so stoked that Sarge got the Gewandhaus (yer my new pen pal, haha). "premont"'s review is like such music to my ears!...tears, tears I tell you :'( (of joy)...THAT'S IT, I'M RETIRED!!! 8)

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on August 22, 2009, 10:01:40 AM
so I'm NOT crazy..

Of course you are not.

..wow, I am so looking forward to that LateSQ set. And I'm so stoked that Sarge got the Gewandhaus

Actually I also own the Gewandhaus Qt. set and intend to listen to it to morrow to make comparisons with the Suske set.

But I can not imagine that it surpasses the Suske set.


Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on August 22, 2009, 11:20:33 AM
I have the Suske Qt's Mozart box. These were recommended by a couple RCMR stalwarts as beyond superior. I like their playing but I would not rate their Mozart among the very best. It's a little pedestrian. Very good workmanship, but no sublime vision. Maybe they do have this in Beethoven. At some point I might by a single LvB cd at HMV Japan  -  no way I'm going to get yet another complete set.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on August 22, 2009, 12:58:22 PM
I have the Suske Qt's Mozart box.... I would not rate their Mozart among the very best. It's a little pedestrian. Very good workmanship, but no sublime vision. Maybe they do have this in Beethoven.

I can well imagine, that Mozart is a tad too "light" for these musicians, which grew up in the Leipzig tradition. This is not to detract from Mozart, just to state that the styles of Mozart and Beethoven are different.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Rod Corkin on August 22, 2009, 12:59:35 PM
I can't witness yet but your extreme advocacy has made me a believer. Just ordered the Gewandhaus complete set and the late quartets from the Suske. Should be in my hands by Tuesday or Wednesday.

Sarge

If I exhibited a display of 'extreme advocacy' would you believe me?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on August 22, 2009, 01:44:10 PM
If I exhibited a display of 'extreme advocacy' would you believe me?

Well, you have, and I have. I believe the Castle Trio's Beethoven disks and the Badura-Skoda sonatas were the result. I was and am delighted. :)

8)

----------------
Listening to:
Maria Rose, fortepiano - Hummel Op 013 Sonata #2 in Eb for Fortepiano 3rd mvmt - Finale: Allegro con spirito
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Antoine Marchand on August 22, 2009, 02:38:28 PM
:o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:)

THANKTHANKYOU!!!!!! VINDICATION, HAHAHAHAHAHA (mad laughter)....wow, so I'm NOT crazy (don't even think it! >:D)... thank you so much, I have been waiting for someone to be able to put the Suske in context. Wow ABQ+Vegh...that is such an awesome recommend!!!

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

I'm delighted to read about your success, snyprrr!  ;D ;D ;D I like your crazy   funny and usually hesitant style. I have noticed, for example, you almost never (or never) write “money” in your posts, but $$$$$$$. Great!

 :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on August 23, 2009, 07:55:48 AM
Actually I also own the Gewandhaus Qt. set and intend to listen to it to morrow to make comparisons with the Suske set. But I can not imagine that it surpasses the Suske set.

Well, listened to day to the Gewandhaus Qt. The same pieces as yesterday´s Suske Qt. listening. I do not think the Gewandhaus Qt.´s version is up this very tough competition. It is somewhat woollen (as to sound as well as to interpretation) and the primarius is not at all in the Suske class. It is rather inexpensive but the performance is all in all not much above average IMO, and this is not a set to live with, considering the quantity of existing outstanding recordings.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 24, 2009, 03:58:17 AM
If I exhibited a display of 'extreme advocacy' would you believe me?

Of course, enough to give anything you might suggest a try. In music I take passionate advocacy seriously. And I certainly do agree with you that Handel and Beethoven were supreme composers....along with Bach, Mozart and Haydn  ;)

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 24, 2009, 04:05:46 AM
:o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o :o ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:) 0:)

THE GEWANDHAUS??????!!!!!!!  AWESOMEAWESOME!!!!!! I will so be looking forward to your assessment!!! Yay, someone finally got the Gewandhaus...yay!!!!

Wow, I can't tell you two guys how happy I am right now! I'm going to frame these posts, haha. Ohhhh, boy...wow...I'm speechless...BUNNY, are you listening??!!!!!!....ahhh....

(five minutes later)... wow, I am so looking forward to that LateSQ set. And I'm so stoked that Sarge got the Gewandhaus (yer my new pen pal, haha). "premont"'s review is like such music to my ears!...tears, tears I tell you :'( (of joy)...THAT'S IT, I'M RETIRED!!! 8)

 ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

I see you are in the manic phase of your bipolar syndrome  :D   Seriously, I am looking forward to hearing these performances.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on August 24, 2009, 11:20:34 AM
I see you are in the manic phase of your bipolar syndrome  :D   Seriously, I am looking forward to hearing these performances.

Sarge

*spits all over computer screen at work and tries to compose himself*
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on August 25, 2009, 07:45:05 AM
Snyprr, the Gewandhaus and Suske boxes came today (Gewandhaus complete, Suske just the late quartets). I'll start listening to them soon, right after the 122 other discs that are waiting in a pile on the floor for their virgin spins  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 27, 2009, 04:57:40 AM
Anyone heard the recently released on budget price the Endellion cycle? They were the artist in residence when I was in college so that sort of pique my interest.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on August 28, 2009, 10:40:59 AM
I got MY Suske LateSQs the other day...but it turned out to be a PaulColemanTrio cd...arrrrgh...no I didn't order Coleman....

haha, must just be God's way of keeping me in suspense!

errrgh...and GohASTINGS HASN'T REPLIED for two days...where's my stuff.....ahhhhhhhhh...... ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: PerfectWagnerite on August 28, 2009, 10:43:18 AM
You ordered from GOHASTINGS ??? I ordered from them before and I'd say your chance of getting a response via email is zero. But do call them, they do respond to phone calls.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on August 28, 2009, 10:45:54 AM
I got MY Suske LateSQs the other day...but it turned out to be a PaulColemanTrio cd...arrrrgh...no I didn't order Coleman....

haha, must just be God's way of keeping me in suspense!

errrgh...and GohASTINGS HASN'T REPLIED for two days...where's my stuff.....ahhhhhhhhh...... ;D

Snips,
If I had known I would have told you about GoHastings. I have ordered from them twice and both times they sent the wrong disk. They also gave the same excuse "well, we didn't have it so we sent you something similar. Please keep it with our compliments and we will refund your $$$, just don't give us bad feedback". The first time I didn't. The second time I gave it to them right between the eyes... >:(

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on August 28, 2009, 10:50:38 AM
Well that's better than getting a complete edition box set of the wrong composer.  Stupid b&n. ::)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on August 28, 2009, 01:42:00 PM
I got MY Suske LateSQs the other day...but it turned out to be a PaulColemanTrio cd...arrrrgh...no I didn't order Coleman....

Try JPC. This is where I got the late quartets.

Link: http://www.jpc.de/jpcng/classic/search?interpret=beethoven&rubric=classic&tracks=suske&pd_orderby=score&advancedsearch=1
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on August 28, 2009, 02:16:02 PM
Snips,
If I had known I would have told you about GoHastings. I have ordered from them twice and both times they sent the wrong disk. They also gave the same excuse "well, we didn't have it so we sent you something similar. Please keep it with our compliments and we will refund your $$$, just don't give us bad feedback". The first time I didn't. The second time I gave it to them right between the eyes... >:(

8)

I've gotten a lot of stuff from GoHastings recently, and have not had a problem (fingers crossed, knocking on wood).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sorin Eushayson on August 28, 2009, 06:10:42 PM
I've gotten a lot of stuff from GoHastings recently, and have not had a problem (fingers crossed, knocking on wood).

Just wanna say I haven't had a problem with them either.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on August 29, 2009, 05:26:05 AM
I've gotten a lot of stuff from GoHastings recently, and have not had a problem (fingers crossed, knocking on wood).

Just wanna say I haven't had a problem with them either.

May your good fortune continue. I don't know if they exist in your parts of the country, but Hastings is a large chain of book and recording retailers in the South, particularly Texas. We even have one in my little hick town. I have bought a lot of new and used disks from them in their stores, gotten great prices on some actual rarities. But I think they list all their used items at their Marketplace store too, and if they happen to sell it to a live person in a retail store, they aren't too quick to get it off their Marketplace listing. I would think that a good business move would be to put listed disks in escrow, as it were, so there is no conflict. :-\

8)

----------------
Listening to:
Berlin PO/Karajan Augér / Crass / Ganz - Bia 539 Op 113 Incidental music to "The Ruins of Athens" pt 06 - Schmuckt die Altare!: Assai moderato
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SonicMan46 on August 29, 2009, 07:54:45 AM
Well, surprised that I've not already 'joined' this thread!  :-\

Current holdings include:  Takacs Quartet (all) & Quatuor Mosaiques (Op. 18 - 3 discs) - that's all, although over many years I've 'culled out' other recordings - but, would like to obtain another 'complete' set, so lookin' forward to the discussion!  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on August 29, 2009, 01:35:12 PM
Well, surprised that I've not already 'joined' this thread!  :-\

Current holdings include:  Takacs Quartet (all) & Quatuor Mosaiques (Op. 18 - 3 discs) - that's all, although over many years I've 'culled out' other recordings - but, would like to obtain another 'complete' set, so lookin' forward to the discussion!  :)

If those were all the Beethoven SQ4t CDs you ever owned, you'd not be any of the poorer for it. Beautiful recordings, indeed.

If anything, I'd add the Vegh Quartet, which owns a big soft spot in my heart.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on August 29, 2009, 03:39:46 PM
If anything, I'd add the Vegh Quartet, which owns a big soft spot in my heart.

*nods approvingly*
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on September 21, 2009, 04:41:09 PM
THREE TIMES!!!

Three times I have ordered the Suske Late Beethoven box, and three times, from three different vendors, the last one from Germany, haha... oy...three times have I been sent the wrong stuff. This last time was the cake, though. What I got was a "slimline", so I thought... with the "Late Quartet" booklet, and the back cover from the actual box, showing information for 3 cds... when all I got was a regular cd jewel case with one cd (with Op.95, Op.130, Grosse Fuge).

WOW!!! :o

I also got the hiccups FOUR times today (before all this happened!), and I now believe it is God's way of telling me that there are more important things than indulging in...

wait...no, it's going to take FOUR orders before I get the Beethoven, haha!!! ;D



Anyhow, I'm listening to Op.95, and yesss... it is BRUTAL! Wow, such vehemence in the opening bars! I don't have any compares handy, and all I remember is the Vermeer, but, actual ok sonics aside, this performance appears to be Bible, in that Suske way. I detect a touch of thinness in the sound, but I'll have to check this later

EDIT

No, I don't find the thinness in the sound...it's the same deep ambience as the Op.18/Op.59.



I have to say that the middle part of the "Cavatina" is really speal here.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Franco on September 21, 2009, 04:48:17 PM
I just discovered that I have a few quartets by the Budapest Quartet.  It's vinyl, and not perfect, but worth having; wish I had all, but what I've got are 3, 4, 14 & 15.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on September 26, 2009, 12:14:10 AM
Have anybody any experience withe the Endellions? It's now available on 10 discs, including the quintet and various smaller works, at around £ 20 on europadiscs Warner sale.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 26, 2009, 06:51:32 PM
Have anybody any experience withe the Endellions? It's now available on 10 discs, including the quintet and various smaller works, at around £ 20 on europadiscs Warner sale.

I believe Andy D has spoken highly of their Beethoven. You may wish to PM him.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on September 26, 2009, 08:33:26 PM
Well, they finally arrived,... on the fourth try!!!

I've listened to most of it once now, and other than the Vegh-meets-ABQ comparison, all I can say is that the Suske are inside of every single note of this set: their playing exudes authority.

The Grosse Fuge has a Ride of the Valkyres meets mad laboratory sound to it I think you will find thrilling. The Suske's unisons have a gleefully menacing charm throughout the set. Op.95 is included, and it is REDHOT!!!ssssssssss.........ouch! >:D

ALL mvmts. of ALL SQs have something unique to say. Sometimes they simply affirm the good sense made by others also (the allegro molto vivace of Op.131 is taken as fast as I can imagine anyone taking it: nothing new, just reassuring confirmation). Again, the Cavatina's middle section is very special. I'm listening to the Heliger Dankesang right now, and, it's perfect of course, in its own way (one certainly can't take away from other favorites: everyone can have their say in great stuff such as this).

Sometimes, other great recordings of this calibre can have some fierceness in tuttis, but that is not an issue here. The Suskes maintain a very crisply woodsy and earthy tone throughout, their attack a delight of virtuosity.

I notice right now how they sound more blended in the central  tutti of the finale of Op.132. I find myself thinking, Ah, they do this like this instead of like that... there are a lot of moments like that here.

Oh please, more people should try these Suskes. Ulitmately, I paid 7.85 + 4.95 + 7.65 (plus shipping) making this the best deal everrrr on this stuff! Not saying you'll get it for that cheap, but hey, you can check out my raves on the Op.18 Thread!

One of the things about a set like this is that I can finally become friends with Op.135. This performance has a slightly darker hue, though still as crisp and perky as in everything else. I am starting to relate Op.135 to Haydn's Op.77 in relation to the valedectory, noble tone of tradition in both.

The Eb Op.127 is an instant winner, also, as are the Bb and c# SQs. Again, the growling opening of the c# minor's finale is typical. It's hard to point out details when everything is on a par such as this. Plus I like the ambient sound: the instruments are up front and delicious in every way, but behind them is an ample church ambience that seals the deal for my gothic tastes.

And when I think about how different the playing sounds here as opposed to the Op.18 (which was the first I heard), I tip my hat once again: this group knows how to play each style to a tee.
Well, I'm sure I could go on and on, and I probably will, until you're all converted! Cheers!



Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on October 01, 2009, 09:58:26 AM
yes, once again I'm going to praise this entire Suske cycle which I've been absorbing

The instruments appear to be played as characters in a drama, the cello particularly getting a few moments of grit and twang. The intonation and attack are knife-edged, razor sharp. There is absolutely no posing as I hear it (and, actually, I wouldn't have minded some!). The ensemble's four... oh, nevermind, you get it! ::)

I was listening to the Bb with the Grosse Fuge as an ending, and I must say I think the GF shifts the weight of the entire work just a teensy teensy, which then causes the entire work to be elevated right at the very close. I'm having trouble listening to Op.130 with the revised finale. Does anyone else have this problem? I just don't think this piece was meant to have a respectable finale! The 15mins the GF provides is just long enough to turn the whole thing back on its heard, like a super giant symphony for four strings (which is, of course, what it is). Could it be argued that this 45min mammoth is the greatest symphony ever??? :o!!! :P

Anyhow, you want the Suske, you need the Suske, you get the Suske!

SUSKE
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DarkAngel on October 01, 2009, 06:03:12 PM
I placed on order for the Suske late Beethoven SQ couple days ago.........waiting

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51PVPPF1PRL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on December 04, 2009, 10:38:01 PM
As I mentioned In the ABQ Thread, I heard an example (Late Qrts.) of their "bad" Beethoven cycle, the one whose recording seems to effect the areas of the brain relating to balance (meaning,... it's wobbleville,... or,... something funny strange). Oh,... and the harshness. Ick! Like an echo chamber.



I was also surprised to see the Borodan Quartet on Chandos playing Op.18 (the original lineup). I listened to a few favorite bits, but,...mmm,...eh,...what am I going to say? I'll be polite and just say the recording alone wouldn't make me a fan. I mean, the field is engorged, bloated, pulsating, if you will, throbbing with Op.18s!!! I'll listen to No.4 again, just in case of prejudice, which I have, because I just can't imagine them,...uh,.. stop....

Truly, with the Suske as my guides, I am afraid to listen to other versions. I want to hear the "good" ABQ cycle, but I imagine they still won't be as supremely anointed as the Suske. As one of you said, ABQ + Vegh = Suske.

Beethoven was so easy for me, not like that other guy... ::)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on December 05, 2009, 07:16:11 AM
I believe Andy D has spoken highly of their Beethoven. You may wish to PM him.

As far as I know, Valentino knows the Endellion set rather well. I own it, but I have not listened to much of it so far, as I within a few months acquired about twenty complete LvB string quartet sets to listen to. At the moment my favorite is the Suske quartet, and I can confirm Snyprrr´s statement, that this is exceptional.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on December 05, 2009, 10:40:43 AM
Where to find the Suske currently?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on December 05, 2009, 11:09:58 AM
Where to find the Suske currently?

Difficult task, since it at the moment is OOP.

I acquired my item from Amazon.fr. marketplace a few months ago.

But Amazon.de marketplace has got some offers.

http://www.amazon.de/gp/offer-listing/B0002Z851Y/ref=dp_olp_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1260039984&sr=1-13&condition=all
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Antoine Marchand on December 05, 2009, 11:36:55 AM
... as I within a few months acquired about twenty complete LvB string quartet sets to listen to.

Any particular reason to purchase that enormous number of complete sets in a brief period of time?  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on December 05, 2009, 12:01:37 PM
Yes, [;ease. Full disclosure, with reviews pending! :D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on December 05, 2009, 12:03:40 PM
Any particular reason to purchase that enormous number of complete sets in a brief period of time?  :)

A completist does not need particular reasons. 8)

BTW some of them were OOP and difficult to get hold of f.i. (Budapest Qt., Suske Qt.,  Talich Qt.), and I wanted to get them in time, others I got on sales (Amadeus Qt., Lindsay Qt. I and II) , and for a little less then half of them I payed the full price.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Antoine Marchand on December 05, 2009, 12:24:42 PM
A completist does not need particular reasons. 8)

BTW some of them were OOP and difficult to get hold of f.i. (Budapest Qt., Suske Qt.,  Talich Qt.), and I wanted to get them in time...

We -the completists- are fearful people; expressions like OOP are true nightmares.  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Air on December 05, 2009, 01:25:51 PM
As I mentioned In the ABQ Thread, I heard an example (Late Qrts.) of their "bad" Beethoven cycle, the one whose recording seems to effect the areas of the brain relating to balance (meaning,... it's wobbleville,... or,... something funny strange). Oh,... and the harshness. Ick! Like an echo chamber.

Which one is this?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on December 05, 2009, 02:29:02 PM
Perhaps there's something wrong with Snips' audio kit.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: ccar on December 05, 2009, 06:14:55 PM
The musical richness of these works is certainly much greater than any interpretation values.  And with so many wonderful readings we can keep enjoying them in almost as many different and interesting ways.
         
Like many I have been trying to explore various ensembles over the years. For a while I always tend to prefer one or two over the others. Some give me more the sense of roughness and contrasts, some the plastic beauty of the musical colors and textures and others the beauty of the singing and phrasing.   And as my mood changes I will go on listening to different groups.  Sometimes the Hungarians for their directness or the Veghs for the rusticity of the contrasts and colors. But I also like to flirt with the Italian, the Julliards, the Smetanas, the Hollywood, the  Vlach, the Yale or the opulent russian sound of the Beethoven.

But I must confess. Because (fortunately !)  I'm not at all dependent on the modern “sonics” of the recordings, most of the time I indulge myself and continue to “discover” the Beethoven Quartets by the hand of the Busch and the Budapest Quartets.

For comparative listening the Budapest Quartet is particularly interesting because they “evolved” with different members over almost 50 years and we can listen how their  Beethoven SQ interpretation also changed (there are at least 6 different recorded periods/versions of the Budapest/ Beethoven SQ  –  1927 (HMV), 1930’s(HMV), 1940-45 (Columbia), 1951-52 (Columbia-complete), 1958-61 (Columbia-complete) and  1940-60 (Library of Congress). 


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/413DQF4H6EL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)   (http://content.answers.com/main/content/img/amg/classical_albums/cov200/cm200/m200/m20017mm2az.jpg)  (http://www.bridgerecords.com/pages/catalog/covers/9099.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 06, 2009, 12:43:21 AM
These are the ones which have given me the most fun recently:

Op 14a -- New Music ( :) )
Op 18s --  Leipzig. And  a live one by the Smetanas. I also like the Budapest in these.
Op 59/1-- Schneiderhan
Op 59/2 – Janacek
Op 59/3 – New Music
Op 129 –  Tatrai (it's an amaeur transfer from LP which someone mailed me.) ; Also the Itallians. This is my favourite Beethoven quartet.
Op 130 –  Smetana
Op 131 – Juillliard (Testament), Schneiderhan.
Op 132 – Lindsays. Also  Hollywood -- Hollywood do a great job in the second movement I think.
Op 133 -- Smetana

Overall I have listened to the Lindsays set a lot over the past couple of years -- I love it for its energy and drama. I don't mind that the ensemble is a bit ragged at all.

The list above is apart from the Lindsays. Except for Op 132 because the Lindsay's  Heiliger Dankgesang puts it in the superleague.

I don't much like the Razumowskies at all, so maybe my judgement is not to be trusted for them.


Can someone recommend a good Harp Quartet?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on December 06, 2009, 04:00:16 AM
Interesting. In my view the Smetana's 130 is not so great, while their 127 is simply stunning.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 06, 2009, 04:23:15 AM
Interesting. In my view the Smetana's 130 is not so great, while their 127 is simply stunning.

Same old story with me and you. Still -- it's nice to know someone who is exploring the same stuff.

I can see why you like their 127 though -- I just said that I have been enjoying the Italians and the bootleg Tatrai.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on December 06, 2009, 02:01:21 PM
Which one is this?

Early '80s. Not "live". Pic of group on cover.  I'm still confused concerning the multiplicity of re-issues of both versions (studio & live). Take a look a Herman's post on the last page.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on December 06, 2009, 07:33:36 PM
I am expecting my box set of the Endellions to arrive within the next few days (it shipped from England on Nov 25...). It will be my very first exposure to all but one of the Beethoven string quartets! (But one: Op 59 No 1; heard this live with the Tokyo SQ.) It was originally going to be my second set, but MDT couldn't find a copy of the ABQ. I sampled the Endellions and liked their "sound," but, since I know nothing of all but one of the quartets and have only heard the other once, live, there will be (a) lots of exploring to do, and (b) lots of time in the years to come to understand what makes each group of interpreters different from the others and what insight each of them brings.

 :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Coopmv on December 06, 2009, 07:40:56 PM
I am expecting my box set of the Endellions to arrive within the next few days (it shipped from England on Nov 25...). It will be my very first exposure to all but one of the Beethoven string quartets! (But one: Op 59 No 1; heard this live with the Tokyo SQ.) It was originally going to be my second set, but MDT couldn't find a copy of the ABQ. I sampled the Endellions and liked their "sound," but, since I know nothing of all but one of the quartets and have only heard the other once, live, there will be (a) lots of exploring to do, and (b) lots of time in the years to come to understand what makes each group of interpreters different from the others and what insight each of them brings.

 :)

Brian,  So you are moving into LvB SQ big-time?  I only have the set by alban berg quartet.  The sound and performance are both decent IMO ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WH14XPQTL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on December 07, 2009, 01:05:00 AM
just to avoid further confusion: the box pictured above is the cheapo collection of the early eighties recordings.

very good VFM, though one could say that techincally things come so easy for the ABQ one misses some form of hardship in the performance.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on December 07, 2009, 05:54:25 AM
It doesn't seem to be a popular opinion, but I think the set by the Vermeer Quartet on Teldec is tops.

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/2564613992.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on December 07, 2009, 07:11:43 AM
Brian,  So you are moving into LvB SQ big-time?  I only have the set by alban berg quartet.  The sound and performance are both decent IMO ...

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51WH14XPQTL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)

That's the one that I ordered from MDT but they couldn't locate a copy. :( Sound samples indicated to me that I'd like the sound of the Endellions better anyway (not acoustics but players), though again with the caveat that I have no clue about interpretive merits having not heard the music.

The relative (near-total) absence of reviews of the Endellions is a little odd...
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Opus106 on December 07, 2009, 07:19:25 AM
Isn't Andy a fan of the Endellion? Or am I just imagining things again?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on December 07, 2009, 07:23:24 AM
Isn't Andy a fan of the Endellion? Or am I just imagining things again?

I believe Andy D has spoken highly of their Beethoven. You may wish to PM him.

 0:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Opus106 on December 07, 2009, 07:26:36 AM
0:)

Now, I seriously hope that you aren't imagining the exact thing, too. :-\

;D ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on December 07, 2009, 07:34:34 AM
Now, I seriously hope that you aren't imagining the exact thing, too. :-\

;D ;)

 ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on December 07, 2009, 08:26:25 AM
0:)

Andy's rumored admiration of the set, the sound samples of Quartet No 1 (my internet connection was being a jerk and loaded really slowly), and an Amazon rave were what impelled me to get the box. The Endellion cycle is, after all, just $30 at Presto Classical right now. Not bad for 10 CDs!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on December 07, 2009, 10:16:30 AM
Andy's rumored admiration of the set, the sound samples of Quartet No 1 (my internet connection was being a jerk and loaded really slowly), and an Amazon rave were what impelled me to get the box.

Somewhere out there, our beloved and bespectacled rocker is rockin' a little bit harder. (http://www.kltforums.com/html/emoticons/headbanger.gif)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on December 07, 2009, 11:52:12 AM
Here's a very enthusiastic piece about the new (and 2nd) recording of the complete LvB SQ cycle by the Alexander String Quartet.

http://www.fanfaremag.com/content/view/35460/10237/
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: sTisTi on December 09, 2009, 07:50:33 AM
It doesn't seem to be a popular opinion, but I think the set by the Vermeer Quartet on Teldec is tops.

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/2564613992.jpg)
I have that as well. Especially the late quartets are very well done IMO. Also the sound quality is very good. IIRC I paid a ridiculously cheap price for it about 3 years ago (~25 Euros for 9 CDs), but it seems to have become a lot more expensive recently...
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on December 12, 2009, 02:00:29 PM
I have the Suske Qt's Mozart box. These were recommended by a couple RCMR stalwarts as beyond superior. I like their playing but I would not rate their Mozart among the very best. It's a little pedestrian. Very good workmanship, but no sublime vision. Maybe they do have this in Beethoven. At some point I might by a single LvB cd at HMV Japan  -  no way I'm going to get yet another complete set.

I can well imagine, that Mozart is a tad too "light" for these musicians, which grew up in the Leipzig tradition. This is not to detract from Mozart, just to state that the styles of Mozart and Beethoven are different.

In the meantime I got a copy of the Suske's LvB late quartets and I have to confess it didn't make me change my mind about the Suske Quartett. It's a very good band, but they just don't seem to have that little extra required for sublime music making. They don't have it in Mozart, and they don't have it in these late Beethoven quartets either, as far as I'm concerned.

There are little ensemble slips (which other quartets make too, but perhaps they get the extra studio time to make a new take, who knows?), but what I miss most is some form of musical drama, really getting into the music and make the fiddle an instrument of the soul. They are performing the music, on a very high level, but in my mind they never cross the line into a transcendent realm where you forget it's four guys with bows and strings.

I'm also a little puzzled by some balance decisions. For instance, in the 131 I think the first violin is sometimes a little too much the lead voice, whereas this is a piece where there's very much four equal voices. And in the 135 slow mvt the 1st violin almost disappears in the group, whereas I feel this is as close to Stehgeiger style (one prominent soulful voice, followed by the rest) as it gets in late Beethoven.

I'm really puzzled why some of you have been so excited about this Beethoven. It's good, earnest quartet playing, certainly. But just not the very best, most imaginative playing. I would call this the best entry level Beethoven, after which you can get acquainted with more ideosyncratic interpretations  -  the Juilliard, ABQ, Italiano, Budapest, Busch, Vegh.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on December 12, 2009, 11:00:11 PM
In the meantime I got a copy of the Suske's LvB late quartets and I have to confess it didn't make me change my mind about the Suske Quartett. It's a very good band, but they just don't seem to have that little extra required for sublime music making. They don't have it in Mozart, and they don't have it in these late Beethoven quartets either, as far as I'm concerned.

There are little ensemble slips (which other quartets make too, but perhaps they get the extra studio time to make a new take, who knows?), but what I miss most is some form of musical drama, really getting into the music and make the fiddle an instrument of the soul. They are performing the music, on a very high level, but in my mind they never cross the line into a transcendent realm where you forget it's four guys with bows and strings.

I'm also a little puzzled by some balance decisions. For instance, in the 131 I think the first violin is sometimes a little too much the lead voice, whereas this is a piece where there's very much four equal voices. And in the 135 slow mvt the 1st violin almost disappears in the group, whereas I feel this is as close to Stehgeiger style (one prominent soulful voice, followed by the rest) as it gets in late Beethoven.

I'm really puzzled why some of you have been so excited about this Beethoven. It's good, earnest quartet playing, certainly. But just not the very best, most imaginative playing. I would call this the best entry level Beethoven, after which you can get acquainted with more ideosyncratic interpretations  -  the Juilliard, ABQ, Italiano, Budapest, Busch, Vegh.

You always make me smile!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on December 13, 2009, 08:48:01 AM
I'm really puzzled why some of you have been so excited about this Beethoven. It's good, earnest quartet playing, certainly. But just not the very best, most imaginative playing. I would call this the best entry level Beethoven, after which you can get acquainted with more ideosyncratic interpretations  -  the Juilliard, ABQ, Italiano, Budapest, Busch, Vegh.

After reading your post and agreeing on how I like my Quartets played I was pleased to see that the groups you list are all in my collection, with the exception of the ABQ.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on December 17, 2009, 09:23:51 AM
I just heard the last two mvmts. of the Guarnieri's Op.135 on the radio. At first I couldn't believe this beautiful slow mvmt. I was hearing (I just couldn't place it, I thought it was the a minor, or c# minor. The Guarnieri were definitely getting some spooky tones in the slow mvmt., very awesome. Their finale, too, had all the prerequisites.

Can I get a witness?

I seem to recall the Guarnieri as the first set I heard waaaaaay way back. I remember liking the Melos (DG) better, but I don't remember anything particularly wrong with the Guarnieri. Sounded great yesterday, though!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SonicMan46 on December 17, 2009, 09:38:21 AM
Here's a very enthusiastic piece about the new (and 2nd) recording of the complete LvB SQ cycle by the Alexander String Quartet.

http://www.fanfaremag.com/content/view/35460/10237/

Yes - I read that review by Jerry Dubins - he seemed quite impressed w/ this new recording by the Alexander SQ - now selling for just $65 on Amazon (for 9 discs); don't own a lot of 'duplication' myself in this music, so will be quite interested in more comments on this recent recorded performance!  :D

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TW5OcbqPL._SL500_AA240_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: cosmicj on June 16, 2010, 08:26:53 AM
Let me revive this very interesting thread.  I have been going through the Op 18 quartets recently in a more comprehensive way than in the past.  Marvelous music.  When I was younger, I approached them as a predecessor of the romantic composers and of Beethoven's later work.  Though I found them attractive, the set was a precursor to the "real achievement."  This time around, I am approaching them from the direction of the 1780s and early 1790s, which casts a different light on the music.  They are the next step after the Haydn Op. 76/77 set (I see Beethoven as evolving smoothly but in an idiosyncratic way from his teacher), with more technical demands from the performers, a willingness to depart from older structures and more emphasis on keys outside of the I-IV-V.  (I know - not original - but true.)  It's amazing music.  Original, expressive, accomplished. 

So, based on my previous experience, I got the Quartetto Italiano and ABQ sets.  I also slipped in a Gewandhaus Qt recording of Op. 18 1 & 2 for the hell of it.  All three are absolutely excellent.  What has surprised me is that the Gewandhaus is just as technically accomplished as the rest (maybe a bit better than the Italiano),  they are the best sonically and they just move me more than the others.  I'm going to be getting many more of their Beethoven discs in the future and am truly looking forward to it. 

Capsule remarks:

Italiano - Still the best dynamic range of the qt ensembles I know of.  Expressive.  Very good at bringing out the overall structure of the work, often just exciting musicmaking.  Negatives are: Occasional intonation issues, sonics.  (I have selections from the old re-mastering so sonics are clearly inferior to the two other recordings.  Has anyone heard the new remasterings of these recordings, for any of the QI Beethoven cycle?)

Alban Berg (the live recording of Op. 18) - Slim lead over the Gewandhaus in technique.  While they are often considered a "cold" ensemble, I find selected movements to be very impassioned (two examples: superb, expressive renditions of Op. 18 #1: ii, Op. 18 #6: iv).  Sonics are very good but a little thin.  (live recording but no crowd sounds, fortunately). 

Gewandhaus: just Op. 18 1 & 2 right now.  Very expressive.  Others on this thread have described them as "risky."  I wouldn't put it that way - I'd say they aren't as tightly controlled as ABQ or QI.  Technically near perfect.  The sonics are the best of the three - very detailled, full, on the reverb side of neutral.  But these recordings just affect me more than the others.

Boy, there are a lot of excellent performances of Op. 18.  All three of these discs I have commented on are terrific. 

Interested in hearing more commentary. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 16, 2010, 08:29:57 AM
I just heard the last two mvmts. of the Guarnieri's Op.135 on the radio. At first I couldn't believe this beautiful slow mvmt. I was hearing (I just couldn't place it, I thought it was the a minor, or c# minor. The Guarnieri were definitely getting some spooky tones in the slow mvmt., very awesome. Their finale, too, had all the prerequisites.

Can I get a witness?

I seem to recall the Guarnieri as the first set I heard waaaaaay way back. I remember liking the Melos (DG) better, but I don't remember anything particularly wrong with the Guarnieri. Sounded great yesterday, though!

Which Guarneri recording?  They recorded them twice, for RCA and for Philips.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: cosmicj on June 16, 2010, 08:43:12 AM
Just to shift over to the late quartets for one second, I'd like to single out for praise the ABQ version of the C#min Op. 131 quartet.  Passionate, at times improvisatorial, just a great recording.  The reissue on EMI budget is paired with a less outstanding but still good a minor qt Op. 132.  You can have this disc for $5 or $6 delivered to your door at many places.  At that price, order it now.  You have to hear the Op. 131 version.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 16, 2010, 11:04:32 AM
Just to shift over to the late quartets for one second, I'd like to single out for praise the ABQ version of the C#min Op. 131 quartet.  Passionate, at times improvisatorial, just a great recording.  The reissue on EMI budget is paired with a less outstanding but still good a minor qt Op. 132.  You can have this disc for $5 or $6 delivered to your door at many places.  At that price, order it now.  You have to hear the Op. 131 version.

That is a matter of taste.  I think I currently own at least 10 recordings of the that quartet, and the ABQ is number 11 (I sold it).  I can't think of a version I like less, except perhaps the Amadeus (also had at one time and sold) which would make it number 12 of 10, I guess.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: cosmicj on June 16, 2010, 11:39:07 AM
That is a matter of taste.  I think I currently own at least 10 recordings of the that quartet, and the ABQ is number 11 (I sold it).  I can't think of a version I like less, except perhaps the Amadeus (also had at one time and sold) which would make it number 12 of 10, I guess.

If you had to name one as your favorite, what would it be?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 16, 2010, 11:48:51 AM
If you had to name one as your favorite, what would it be?

My overall favorite for Beethoven Quartets is the Vermeer Quartet on Teldec (now Warner).   I also like the Italiano and the Guarneri (Philips).  The piece also works well for string orchestra and Bernstein's recording with the VPO is very interesting.   I've recently amassed a bunch of Beethoven SQ cycles that I haven't had a chance to listen to yet, so the Borodin, Endelian and Cleveland quartet versions are on my "to listen to" stack.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on June 16, 2010, 11:50:50 AM
I happen to think very highly of the ABQ's LvB 130 and 131 too, compared to much of the competition.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 16, 2010, 11:54:40 AM
I happen to think very highly of the ABQ's LvB 130 and 131 too, compared to much of the competition.

Certainly they play to a high technical standard, but their approach to the music leaves me cold and unengaged, I'm not sure I can define why.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: cosmicj on June 16, 2010, 11:54:52 AM
My overall favorite for Beethoven Quartets is the Vermeer Quartet on Teldec (now Warner).   I also like the Italiano and the Guarneri (Philips).  The piece also works well for string orchestra and Bernstein's recording with the VPO is very interesting.   I've recently amassed a bunch of Beethoven SQ cycles that I haven't had a chance to listen to yet, so the Borodin, Endelian and Cleveland quartet versions are on my "to listen to" stack.

Scarpia - Sorry, I wasn't clear but i was asking specifically about your favorite Op. 131.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: cosmicj on June 16, 2010, 11:59:18 AM
Certainly they play to a high technical standard, but their approach to the music leaves me cold and unengaged, I'm not sure I can define why.

I'm obviously a big fan of ABQ but I do understand what you're talking about.  Even when they are very expressive, it doesn't provoke emotions in me the way other quartets do. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 16, 2010, 12:06:22 PM
Scarpia - Sorry, I wasn't clear but i was asking specifically about your favorite Op. 131.

My preferences for Op 131 specifically follow the same lines as my overall preference for Beethoven SQ, Vemeer, Italiano, Guarneri.  I like the Vermeer because they have a taut, brisk sound but manage to infuse it with a certain interpretive warmth.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on June 16, 2010, 12:22:54 PM
Certainly they play to a high technical standard, but their approach to the music leaves me cold and unengaged, I'm not sure I can define why.

That's indeed what people usually say about the ABQ, and I used to say that too  -  including that they were more spontaneous etc in their Teldec days.

And then, after ten or fifteen years, I listened again and found there was no foundation for this as far as the pieces I mentioned are concerned, and also some of their Mozart quartets (the Prussian Quartets are superb).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 16, 2010, 12:28:03 PM
That's indeed what people usually say about the ABQ, and I used to say that too  -  including that they were more spontaneous etc in their Teldec days.

And then, after ten or fifteen years, I listened again and found there was no foundation for this as far as the pieces I mentioned are concerned, and also some of their Mozart quartets (the Prussian Quartets are superb).

I have all of their Teldec recordings, but I have never enjoyed any recording they have made with EMI.  I find EMI's engineering inferior and there were multiple personnel changes in the quartet between the Teldec and EMI days.   In the Teldec recordings I hear finesse, but in the EMI recordings I hear cold-blooded precision.  My most recent attempt to listen to them (I think it was the Brahms Clarinet Quintet) was just a year ago, so I estimate I have at least a decade to go before I have any chance of liking them.   ;D

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 20, 2010, 06:06:42 AM
I have all of their Teldec recordings, but I have never enjoyed any recording they have made with EMI.  I find EMI's engineering inferior and there were multiple personnel changes in the quartet between the Teldec and EMI days.   In the Teldec recordings I hear finesse, but in the EMI recordings I hear cold-blooded precision.  My most recent attempt to listen to them (I think it was the Brahms Clarinet Quintet) was just a year ago, so I estimate I have at least a decade to go before I have any chance of liking them.   ;D

Didn't they do 2 cycles for EMI? I heard one was great, and the other sucked (those engineers), but I can never figure which is which when I check on Amazon. I have heard the Late SQs with them sitting on the cover (on the old fashioned big box), which I believe is the sucky one (the sound did leave desire). The good one is supposed to be 'live'? ???

I certainly love that Teldec Box! :-*
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on June 20, 2010, 10:45:25 AM
perhaps someone can explain to me what engineers can do to a simple string quartet recording that makes the quality of the music making irrelevant?

Admittedly some SQ recordings are more beautifully engineered than others, but I cannot remember ever thinking I could not enjoy the music making because of the engineering.

It's just four fiddles!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 20, 2010, 11:27:34 AM
perhaps someone can explain to me what engineers can do to a simple string quartet recording that makes the quality of the music making irrelevant?

Admittedly some SQ recordings are more beautifully engineered than others, but I cannot remember ever thinking I could not enjoy the music making because of the engineering.

It's just four fiddles!

For those ABQ/EMI recordings, too close, too much bow/rosin scratching on the string sound, not enough resonance of the instrument, presence of the room.  Sound-stage imaging poor, not allowing the individual instruments to be differentiated.  But I suspect my main objection is with the performances themselves.  Personnel changed between the Telefunken and EMI recordings.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: cosmicj on June 21, 2010, 06:20:28 AM
Didn't they do 2 cycles for EMI? I heard one was great, and the other sucked (those engineers), but I can never figure which is which when I check on Amazon. I have heard the Late SQs with them sitting on the cover (on the old fashioned big box), which I believe is the sucky one (the sound did leave desire). The good one is supposed to be 'live'? ???

I have portions of both the ABQ Beethoven EMI sets and the live one is better than the studio version.  A back-to-back listen of a Beethoven qt and then one of the ABQ Haydn op. 76 recordings showed how remarkably better the Haydn was - in another league.  The Mozart ABQ is also better than the Beethoven, too.  That said, the Beethoven live by ABQ is the in the middle of the pack in terms of digital classical music recordings.  I listened to 5 different CD packs this weekend and I'd rate the ABQ Beethoven as 3rd out of 5 in sonic quality, unfortunately.  So it isn't a disaster, just a little thin sounding. 

BTW, the Q Italiano CD remasters (first version only - haven't heard the more recent remasters) are clearly inferior to the ABQ recordings just in terms of sonics.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 21, 2010, 07:24:15 AM
BTW, the Q Italiano CD remasters (first version only - haven't heard the more recent remasters) are clearly inferior to the ABQ recordings just in terms of sonics.

I would strongly disagree with that.  The Italiano Quartet recordings may be subject to the limitations of equipment at the time, some tape his, some distortion at extremes of dynamics, etc, but I don't find the music suffers.  The ABQ recordings were unmusical to my ears (and I'm note sure which set I had, I sold it off a while ago).  It's a matter of microphone placement and mixdown.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: cosmicj on June 21, 2010, 07:51:29 AM
I would strongly disagree with that.  The Italiano Quartet recordings may be subject to the limitations of equipment at the time, some tape his, some distortion at extremes of dynamics, etc, but I don't find the music suffers.  The ABQ recordings were unmusical to my ears (and I'm note sure which set I had, I sold it off a while ago).  It's a matter of microphone placement and mixdown.

I used to have some of the Q Italiano's recordings on LP and they sounded good, so I blame the pretty mediocre remasterings (their Debussy/Ravel CD - the famous later one - also has this issue).  This is obviously just a guess but I think you may be reacting to the digital harshness and haze that I also hear in the ABQ Beethoven.  Since I think both CD sets have sonic problems, it's a question of picking your poison.   
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on June 21, 2010, 08:54:46 AM
I would strongly disagree with that.  The Italiano Quartet recordings may be subject to the limitations of equipment at the time, some tape his, some distortion at extremes of dynamics, etc, but I don't find the music suffers.  The ABQ recordings were unmusical to my ears (and I'm note sure which set I had, I sold it off a while ago).  It's a matter of microphone placement and mixdown.

Look, this is exactly what I don't get.

First, the Italinao recordings were from the early seventies. There's really nothing a recording team didn't know what they know now. The early seventies were arguably the glory days of analogue recording.

But what really baffles me is your remark about the ABQ EMI recording. It's unmusical. It's a matter of mike placement. I cannot square this. Some of the most musically succesful recordings of an earlier era had shit mike placement and tons of hiss, and yet we define them as musical  -  Cortot, the Budapest Quartet. So what's your story?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 21, 2010, 09:03:04 AM
Look, this is exactly what I don't get.

First, the Italinao recordings were from the early seventies. There's really nothing a recording team didn't know what they know now. The early seventies were arguably the glory days of analogue recording.

But what really baffles me is your remark about the ABQ EMI recording. It's unmusical. It's a matter of mike placement. I cannot square this. Some of the most musically succesful recordings of an earlier era had shit mike placement and tons of hiss, and yet we define them as musical  -  Cortot, the Budapest Quartet. So what's your story?

My characterization of the EMI ABQ recordings as "unmusical" just reflects my personal reaction to them.  What bothers me about them is what I perceive as inappropriate tonal balance (excessive high frequency response) and lack of ambience, or imaging of the sound stage.  That latter problem comes from (I believe) using microphones too close to the instruments, recording each instrument essentially separately and mixing them together. 

I have never listened to any Cordot or Budapest quartet recordings, so I can't comment on them.  However, in those days they recorded with fewer microphones (by necessity) and I suspect that the microphone placement would have been more to my liking.  The old Mercury Living Presence recordings are my ideal, with regard to recording technique, despite the technical limitations of the equipment they were using.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Franco on June 21, 2010, 09:05:56 AM
Recording engineering is not important to my enjoyment of a CD or LP.  I focus almost exclusively on the music itself and ignore what people complain about having to do with audio quality. 

I like Beethoven quartets performed by all the groups I've heard (which include complete sets from Takacs, ABQ, Vegh, Italiano, and many others on individual works) - there's hardly anything a quartet can do to these works to ruin them, IMO.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 21, 2010, 09:10:24 AM
Recording engineering is not important to my enjoyment of a CD or LP.  I focus almost exclusively on the music itself and ignore what people complain about having to do with audio quality.

If a conductor demanded the woodwinds play loudly and due the audio engineer's mix the woodwinds were inaudible during that passage, that wouldn't bother you?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Franco on June 21, 2010, 09:18:34 AM
If a conductor demanded the woodwinds play loudly and due the audio engineer's mix the woodwinds were inaudible during that passage, that wouldn't bother you?

I don't think I've ever experienced what you are describing. 

Of all the recordings I have listened to I can't think of one in which the audio quality made a significant difference in my enjoyment of it (of course very old historical recordings made from transfers of 78 records are not my cup of tea). 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: cosmicj on June 21, 2010, 09:22:08 AM
What bothers me about them is what I perceive as inappropriate tonal balance (excessive high frequency response) and lack of ambience, or imaging of the sound stage. 

I agree with this criticism but I don't think it makes the ABQ recordings awful -- just run of the mill.

Herman's point about 1970s analog recordings is valid but not quite onpoint.  The problem is the QI re-mastering.  I think it took classical recording engineers about 15 years after the advent of digital recording to learn how to do it reasonably well (exceptions exist, of course).  When I see that a recording has been made in the 1980s, I have the same reaction as I do to a 1950 recording - I take a deep breath before buying it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 21, 2010, 09:28:25 AM
Herman's point about 1970s analog recordings is valid but not quite onpoint.  The problem is the QI re-mastering.  I think it took classical recording engineers about 15 years after the advent of digital recording to learn how to do it reasonably well (exceptions exist, of course).  When I see that a recording has been made in the 1980s, I have the same reaction as I do to a 1950 recording - I take a deep breath before buying it.

I certainly agree that the art of digital mastering has improved a lot, but I think Philips was one of the few companies that did a reasonably good job even at the beginning.   In fact, I'm more inclined to trust what Philips did than what DG would do if the remastered it again, given that Philips doesn't really exist anymore and all remastering is being done at Emil Berliner studios by DG.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on June 21, 2010, 09:43:23 AM
If a conductor demanded the woodwinds play loudly and due the audio engineer's mix the woodwinds were inaudible during that passage, that wouldn't bother you?

It is a well-established fact there are no woodwinds or conductors in a string quartet. That's why I explicitly asked what could be possibly wrong with a string quartet recording that could give you the feeling it was "unmusical".
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 21, 2010, 09:47:57 AM
It is a well-established fact there are no woodwinds or conductors in a string quartet. That's why I explicitly asked what could be possibly wrong with a string quartet recording that could give you the feeling it was "unmusical".

The passage you quoted was not meant to address your question.   By "unmusical," I simply mean that I find that engineering sufficiently annoying that it prevents me from appreciating the music.  My answer to your question appears above, I quote it here:

My characterization of the EMI ABQ recordings as "unmusical" just reflects my personal reaction to them.  What bothers me about them is what I perceive as inappropriate tonal balance (excessive high frequency response) and lack of ambience, or imaging of the sound stage.  That latter problem comes from (I believe) using microphones too close to the instruments, recording each instrument essentially separately and mixing them together. 

I have never listened to any Cordot or Budapest quartet recordings, so I can't comment on them.  However, in those days they recorded with fewer microphones (by necessity) and I suspect that the microphone placement would have been more to my liking.  The old Mercury Living Presence recordings are my ideal, with regard to recording technique, despite the technical limitations of the equipment they were using.

I certainly have heard string quartet recordings in which the balance of the four instruments was not to my liking.  My most common complaint is that the first violin is given undue emphasis.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on June 21, 2010, 10:05:17 AM
Over the years I have found that the ABQ was either the victim of excessive praise and adulation, or the reverse. Frankly I think you have no idea how EMI recorded the ABQ, and you're just presupposing things. As I am writing this I am listening to the ABQ's Mozarts 589 and it has space (which you said it didn't) and it is pleasing enough.

It is true that the first violin is somewhat prominent. However, this has nothing to do with the engineering. The ABQ used to have exactly the same balance live, and I'm guessing you wouldn't know, because you sound like the armchair kind of general. Also, the ABQ in its different composition used to sound equally primarius-driven in their Teldec days.

I find it rather sad when this kind of rock & roll debunking is carried over to classical music. The ABQ used to be perceived as relatively succesful  -  so it went without saying they had sold out; they had to record soulless studio settings (just like the Beatles) and they had to sound plastic. Even if none of this was true.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 21, 2010, 10:17:40 AM
Over the years I have found that the ABQ was either the victim of excessive praise and adulation, or the reverse. Frankly I think you have no idea how EMI recorded the ABQ, and you're just presupposing things. As I am writing this I am listening to the ABQ's Mozarts 589 and it has space (which you said it didn't) and it is pleasing enough.

It is true that the first violin is somewhat prominent. However, this has nothing to do with the engineering. The ABQ used to have exactly the same balance live, and I'm guessing you wouldn't know, because you sound like the armchair kind of general. Also, the ABQ in its different composition used to sound equally primarius-driven in their Teldec days.

I find it rather sad when this kind of rock & roll debunking is carried over to classical music. The ABQ used to be perceived as relatively succesful  -  so it went without saying they had sold out; they had to record soulless studio settings (just like the Beatles) and they had to sound plastic. Even if none of this was true.

You can insinuate that I am an ignoramus and that I am responsible for the breakdown of civilization if you'd like.  It doesn't bother me.  The perceived quality of an audio recording is subjective, and no amount of ridicule will change the fact that I didn't enjoy listening to those recordings.  Fortunately there are many choices in this repertoire.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 21, 2010, 10:42:03 AM
This is the edition I had.  Does anyone know if this is the studio set or the later live set?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AQARK6NRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

This one, I take it, is the studio set.

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/34/340746.JPG)

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on June 21, 2010, 06:14:33 PM
This is the edition I had.  Does anyone know if this is the studio set or the later live set?

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41AQARK6NRL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

This one, I take it, is the studio set.

(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/full/34/340746.JPG)

The second one is the studio set.  (I have it.)  Unless ABQ did a series of concerts in a relatively obscure Swiss church...

I have one segment of the live set--the Opus 18 quartets, which were recorded in 1989.
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41DGGS4DXZL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Do you remember the recording dates for your set?

Or we can go the Sherlock Holmes route: the picture of the ABQ members on the studio set booklet seems to be more like the picture on the cover of your set than the picture which is shown on the live recording--there is perceptibly more gray hair (top and beards) in the latter than the in the former, and more gray hair than shown on the cover of your set.

Which, I note, is being offered by one Amazon seller for $125.00

ETA: it's been a while since I've played either of the two sets, but I don't recall anything I disliked in terms of the sonics.  The live recording is, however, apparently a remastering.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 21, 2010, 06:37:08 PM
For those ABQ/EMI recordings, too close, too much bow/rosin scratching on the string sound, not enough resonance of the instrument, presence of the room.  Sound-stage imaging poor, not allowing the individual instruments to be differentiated.  But I suspect my main objection is with the performances themselves.  Personnel changed between the Telefunken and EMI recordings.

After a page of commentary, I have to come down here. Someone else mentioned cds made in the 1980s. Wasn't the word "aggressive" used when describing these kinds of badly mastered digital recordings? I totally hear that in the ABQ/EMI. Someone else mentioned that their Op.76 was very much better, but, please, don't you hear an aggressiveness,... a wearying, jabbing "brightness",... that can be a bit distracting? I wouldn't call Op.76 "unmusical", but I really wonder if the hardness is really coming from the players.

The one EMI/ABQ Late LvB definitely had the yuckies, everything you said above. Perhaps the word "unmusical" is a lightning rod, but certainly, aren't bad recordings of SQs, where, let's say, inner detail is lost, can't they be considered unmusical? I mean, a  muddy texture certainly takes away pleasure no matter what, right?



I do want to say that the ABQ/EMI recordings of avant-garde SQs 'live' (Lutoslawski, Haubenstock-Ramati, Rihm, Schnittke, etc...) all seem to be uniformly excellent. Beautiful recordings, no mastering problems. I only started to encounter the ABQ/EMI "problem" with the Op.76, and then, to a much greater degree in the LvB (and I think it was the studio) set.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 21, 2010, 07:25:08 PM
I do want to say that the ABQ/EMI recordings of avant-garde SQs 'live' (Lutoslawski, Haubenstock-Ramati, Rihm, Schnittke, etc...) all seem to be uniformly excellent. Beautiful recordings, no mastering problems. I only started to encounter the ABQ/EMI "problem" with the Op.76, and then, to a much greater degree in the LvB (and I think it was the studio) set.

I have those avant-guard SQs and recall them as being more satisfactory, although to be honest I think EMI engineering is never truly excellent in chamber music recordings.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on June 21, 2010, 07:35:58 PM
Or we can go the Sherlock Holmes route: the picture of the ABQ members on the studio set booklet seems to be more like the picture on the cover of your set than the picture which is shown on the live recording--there is perceptibly more gray hair (top and beards) in the latter than the in the former, and more gray hair than shown on the cover of your set.

Which, I note, is being offered by one Amazon seller for $125.00

Offered is one thing, sold is another.

I don't recall any applause on the set I sold off, I guess it is the studio set (someone on this thread mentioned there was applause in the live set).  The orange box is presumably a repackaging of the box I had, which would make it fairly irrational to pay $125 for a set that can be had for about $40.  I looked it up, I got $35 when I sold my set (packaged as three jewel boxes in a slipcase) on amazon marketplace about 3 years ago.

I'd be curious to hear the live set.  At one time I ordered the DVD version.  But even though the set I bought was labeled NTSC it contained PAL discs, which I could not play.  That's EMI for you (Every Mistake Imaginable).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: mjwal on June 22, 2010, 03:01:58 AM
I too rather dislike the sound of the ABQ Beethoven recordings - though I quite like the Telefunken Mozart quartets. But they sounded more or less the same live doing the whole series in Frankfurt in the 80s,so it's not (merely) the recording or digital mastering but the sonic aesthetic. Not very keen on the Qt Italiano either. I must say that when I did a little survey of more recent Op.131 recordings a few years ago, my partner preferred the ABQ and me the Vegh Mk 2.  I love the (much older - 1953) Hungarian Qt in the late works on an Andromeda transfer, a great discovery for me - I then picked up that wonderful conspectus of their work on M&A. I'm not really one for complete sets, preferring to pick 'n choose, but I have a lot by the Vegh and Talich Qts. Obviously the Busch are the great exemplars, though the Capet weren't bad either - I dare say somebody else even more antiquated than me will recommend the Flonzaley e tutti quanti. A couple of single quartet recordings in my collection I enjoy: Alexander String Qt - Op.59/1, Op.74 (Arte Nova 1997) ; Vlach Qt - Op.95, Op.131 (Praga 1966/67) ; Hagen Qt - Op.127, 132 (DG 2005).
Should I add any other (preferably single) recordings to my hoard - the Takacs, perhaps? I rather dislike what I've heard of the Emerson (it's totally subjective, isn't it, these people are all so brilliant and insightful in their way).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: cosmicj on June 22, 2010, 03:48:51 AM
Wasn't the word "aggressive" used when describing these kinds of badly mastered digital recordings? I totally hear that in the ABQ/EMI. Someone else mentioned that their Op.76 was very much better, but, please, don't you hear an aggressiveness,... a wearying, jabbing "brightness",... that can be a bit distracting? I wouldn't call Op.76 "unmusical", but I really wonder if the hardness is really coming from the players.

That was me, snyprr.  I think the ABQ Haydn Op. 76/77 discs are very well-recorded and have less of the brightness than the Beethoven live set.  But what you're describing is a common complaint among the "vinylist" audiophiles.  I think you're taking a step in the direction of plugging in a turntable into your system.

Some really valuable performance suggestions on this thread. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: cosmicj on June 22, 2010, 03:50:36 AM
Should I add any other (preferably single) recordings to my hoard - the Takacs, perhaps? I rather dislike what I've heard of the Emerson (it's totally subjective, isn't it, these people are all so brilliant and insightful in their way).

mjwal - Check out the Gewandhaus CDs, which are available in single discs on the Berkshire rec outlet. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on June 22, 2010, 06:04:15 AM
mjwal - Check out the Gewandhaus CDs, which are available in single discs on the Berkshire rec outlet.

This would take me back to the Suske/Gewandhaus discussion last year (was that THIS thread, or "Beethoven Complete SQs"??). I had been raving about the Suske set, and noticed that the Gewandhaus group was an outgrowth of the earlier group.

Someone (was it Sarge?) got one or two of the Gewandhaus, and I seem to remember him saying there was a wooliness to the proceedings. Still, I'm pretty interested in picking up, say, Op.130, just to hear.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: cosmicj on June 22, 2010, 07:28:06 AM
Someone (was it Sarge?) got one or two of the Gewandhaus, and I seem to remember him saying there was a wooliness to the proceedings. Still, I'm pretty interested in picking up, say, Op.130, just to hear.

I'd call the recording very good but on the reverbrant side.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on September 27, 2010, 05:33:09 AM
Convenience BUMP.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 27, 2010, 05:45:25 AM
This would take me back to the Suske/Gewandhaus discussion last year (was that THIS thread, or "Beethoven Complete SQs"??). I had been raving about the Suske set, and noticed that the Gewandhaus group was an outgrowth of the earlier group.

Someone (was it Sarge?) got one or two of the Gewandhaus, and I seem to remember him saying there was a wooliness to the proceedings. Still, I'm pretty interested in picking up, say, Op.130, just to hear.

That wasn't me, Snyprrr. I think the entire set sounds great (bought the big box)....listening to Op.130 right now.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on September 27, 2010, 05:49:44 AM
(bought the big box)
You can get it for $29 on Amazon marketplace right now.  I did.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 27, 2010, 05:51:46 AM
You can get it for $29 on Amazon marketplace right now.  I did.

I hate you.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on September 27, 2010, 05:54:40 AM
I hate you.
:'(
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 27, 2010, 05:58:09 AM
:'(

Okay...I don't really hate you...but I am jealous. Mine was considerably more expensive.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on September 27, 2010, 05:58:52 AM
Okay...I don't really hate you...but I am jealous. Mine was considerably more expensive.

Sarge

Well, look on the bright side.  At least you seem to have time to listen to yours. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: bwv 1080 on September 27, 2010, 06:00:00 AM
I hate you.

Sarge

Got that beat, downloading it at no charge right now under my all-you-can-eat Zune pass

timely discussion, had been looking for a new recording (have cleveland, guaneri & julliard)

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on September 27, 2010, 06:07:38 AM
Yea, I just saw it for cheap too.

Sarge, tell me about their 130. Anything special to report?



I've been listening to some of the Suske Late, and,...oh, this should warm Herman's cockles!,... there does appear to be sooomething to be desired! See, my impressions can grow! Look at me pa!!

Anyhow, the main thing about the Suske set is that I feel like I need a little more DDD,... and perhaps the occasional wild hair. As Herman said, this Suske set is a great "101", though, I might be inclined to give it the highest reccomend available. Solid, four square, perfect. I do admit that the Op.18 is definitely thee one to get by the Suske.

I just wish you could get any group piecemeal. I've been thinking Hagen, but I'd also like something old and comfy, like the QI. But, honestly, I'm not willing to work up an obsessional lather this autumn, so, maybe I'll just browse through the Thread (yea, good luck with that "staying level", haha).



So, any bizarre choices for 130 with GF? I don't know if that's the SQ I want to experiment with. Any existential Late LvB epiphanies?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on September 27, 2010, 06:18:54 AM
This one just popped up on the MDT radar:

(http://www.mdt.co.uk/public/pictures/products/standard/HMU807481-83.jpg)

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product/HMU807481-83.htm

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on September 27, 2010, 06:49:33 AM
Yea, I just saw it for cheap too.

Sarge, tell me about their 130. Anything special to report?

Not really. It's a perfectly fine performance but nothing jumps out as unique...nothing like the Fitzwilliam's slow, otherwordly Cavatina....nothing like the Hagen's blistering Große Fuge. FYI, the Gewandhaus omits the first movement repeat.


Quote
So, any bizarre choices for 130 with GF? I don't know if that's the SQ I want to experiment with. Any existential Late LvB epiphanies?

Check out the two I mentioned. Hopefully you can find the Fitzwilliam (long OOP). Wish they'd done a complete cycle.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on September 27, 2010, 10:21:21 AM



So, any bizarre choices for 130 with GF? I don't know if that's the SQ I want to experiment with. Any existential Late LvB epiphanies?

snyprrr  I'm midway through comparing 16 different sets of the late string quartets, in search of just that- epiphanies.

I'm comparing the following:

QI ,Lindsay (1980's),Talich,Vegh mono, Vegh Stereo, Takacs, Amadeus, Juilliard 1960's, Busch, Hollywood, Budapest Library of Congress, Alban Berg live, Vermeer, Emerson, Yale, Medici.

Its a bit of a mad project (80 seperate quartets to go through for each complete listen) but after the first pass I delve deeper into each of the newer (to me) sets except any that I really dont get on with (Takacs for example).

You mention the QI?

imho / ymmv etc of course, but the quartetto italiano are holding up pretty well. I am biased admittedly because they were the version I imprinted with 25 years ago and have lived with. They are right up there in 127,132 and 130/GF, but dont really do it for me in 131 and 135. (I also have enjoyed the Busch and Lindsay for many years but wanted to extend my appreciation of these works by listening to more interpretations).

Some peeps find QI too polished, but to my ear there is real passion and intensity in their playing and their slow movements are sublime.

My surprises so far have been the Hollywood Quartet, who are just fabulous and have real depth to the interpretations, combined with the most amazing tone and ensemble- they truly play as one. Its bewitching to listen to. There is a real contained, interior quality to their recordings- very special.

I've also been surprised by the Vegh Stereo. I havent got to their 135 yet,  their 131  is indeed magnificent, but I have been underwhelmed by their 127/132/130/GF.

I expected more, but will go back to them and relisten a number of times due to their reputation which is no doubt well earned.

So far I still favour the EMI Busch quartet recordings overall. For epiphanies I would say that in my experience todate no one gets consistently deeper in terms of one recorded set. If they had recorded the GF the set would be perfect (although the included version by the busch string ensemble fills the gap). And its super cheap too, have you considered this?



Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on September 27, 2010, 10:49:42 AM
Any existential Late LvB epiphanies?

This may be the best single Beethoven Quartet recording I have heard.  The Griller play Op 132 (originally a mono Decca LP, which I have on vinyl).
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/418HCVbHF3L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 27, 2010, 10:52:58 AM
You mention the QI?

imho / ymmv etc of course, but the quartetto italiano are holding up pretty well. I am biased admittedly because they were the version I imprinted with 25 years ago and have lived with.

Yes, I love the QI too and they were my first as well.

Quote
I've also been surprised by the Vegh Stereo. I havent got to their 135 yet,  their 131  is indeed magnificent...


This much I fully agree with, Their Op. 131 is stunning, right from the start.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on September 27, 2010, 11:37:07 AM
Yes, I love the QI too and they were my first as well.


This much I fully agree with, Their Op. 131 is stunning, right from the start.

Hello George,

Yep- as soon as I started listening to the Vegh stereo 131 I was rooted to the spot and it was as if I was hearing the 131 for the first time. Every small choice they make seems just right in this performance, and it was a revelation.

I think this may be why their performances of the other late quartets in this stereo set have not seated with me yet- the 131 was the first I listened to and perhaps raised my expectations so high that I expected to be utterly bowled over.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brahmsian on September 27, 2010, 12:32:15 PM
Quartetto Italiano were my introduction also to Beethoven's quartets.  I have always been greatly ecstatic about that set.

I must say though, I wasn't the greatest fan of Op.135, that is, until I heard the Takacs recording of it, which just blew me away!  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: bwv 1080 on September 28, 2010, 03:09:27 AM
really liking the Gendwandhaus recording, it may supplant cleveland as my favorite

my 3 tests of a LvB SQ recording - the 1st mvt of op 130, the grosse fugue & the heiliger dankgesang are all superlative.  The mix, reverb & vibrato are right & you don't get the self-conscious "this is the deepest & most profound music ever" vibe, which I get sometimes from late SQ recordings
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: dirkronk on September 28, 2010, 04:11:16 AM

My surprises so far have been the Hollywood Quartet, who are just fabulous ... they truly play as one.

<SNIP>

So far I still favour the EMI Busch quartet recordings overall.

Agreed...enthusiastically. The only thing I think wrong about the Hollywood Quartet is that they didn't record one hell of a lot more of the chamber repertoire.

As for the Busch...yes, they get the ultimate nod from me for depth. Old style playing, to be sure, but what artistry. There's just the one proviso that, if you're buying the EMI recordings on that label, you need to supplement with a purchase of op.59/1 and op.130 on whatever Columbia/Sony release you can find...and you absolutely DO want them. Well, IMO anyway. I can never put on the 130 without listening all the way through...and frequently wanting an immediate replay. Some reissue labels have offered these two quartets as integral with the EMIs, but I don't recall an actual EMI-branded set that included them, due to copyright issues I assume.

I'm enjoying your comments, perhaps in part because your reactions reflect my own pretty much across the board, but also because it's been quite a while since I did my own marathon listening session on the late quartets (and never using so many groups!). Your ears have amazing stamina!

Cheers,

Dirk
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on September 28, 2010, 05:07:27 AM
Yes, that you all.

I was looking up 130 on amazon, and I was really drawn to these "lost" $2 cds, like the Cleveland and Fitzwilliam and Medici and Lindsay and the like.

I will follow david-jw's survey with interest.

Juices are flowing!! :-*
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on September 28, 2010, 08:17:47 AM
Agreed...enthusiastically. The only thing I think wrong about the Hollywood Quartet is that they didn't record one hell of a lot more of the chamber repertoire.

As for the Busch...yes, they get the ultimate nod from me for depth. Old style playing, to be sure, but what artistry. There's just the one proviso that, if you're buying the EMI recordings on that label, you need to supplement with a purchase of op.59/1 and op.130 on whatever Columbia/Sony release you can find...and you absolutely DO want them. Well, IMO anyway. I can never put on the 130 without listening all the way through...and frequently wanting an immediate replay. Some reissue labels have offered these two quartets as integral with the EMIs, but I don't recall an actual EMI-branded set that included them, due to copyright issues I assume.

I'm enjoying your comments, perhaps in part because your reactions reflect my own pretty much across the board, but also because it's been quite a while since I did my own marathon listening session on the late quartets (and never using so many groups!). Your ears have amazing stamina!

Cheers,

Dirk

Hi Dirk,

its a very intense experience, but fascinating, I'm just keen to make sure I dont burn out on these works- which are probably my favorite, period, and spoil them for good and keeps.

So far its been fascinating, full of surprises, such as the glorious Hollywood Q. I agree absolutley- wish they had not packed it in when they did.

The good news on the EMI Busch set is that they have re-issued it and have done a licensing deal with Sony to include the 130. Its been remastered using the ART, and to my ears its an improvement without sacrificing the top end a la Schnabel.

Over here in the UK its on £13 online.


cheers David
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on September 28, 2010, 08:28:31 AM
Yes, that you all.

I was looking up 130 on amazon, and I was really drawn to these "lost" $2 cds, like the Cleveland and Fitzwilliam and Medici and Lindsay and the like.

I will follow david-jw's survey with interest.

Juices are flowing!! :-*

Hiya Snyprrr,


The medici were in fact last nights great surprise. I picked them up for a song second hand, and almost didnt include them in the survey, as they have a bit of a mixed rep and I had started listening to the 130 in the car and not liked what I heard.
 
But I listened to their 127 last night and gasped out loud at what I was hearing.  1st movt very energised, slow movementt exhalted, 3rd movt passionate, final movement very intense and exhalted- wonderful, wonderful! I liked it so much I put their 131 on and it too was very strong indeed.

Their tone is alittle unconventional and there are lapses in intonation and the recording is a little too reverby for todays fashions BUT the whole performance completly overcomes these setbacks to my ears and is vibrant, energetic and heartfelt.

"a welcome addition to the catalogue" as they used to say lol!

I'd love to hear the Fitzwilliam Quartet- I admire  their Shostakovich recordings greatly.

cheers

David
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on September 28, 2010, 08:38:29 AM


Over here in the UK its on £13 online.


cheers David
Where?

25£ on mdt.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 28, 2010, 09:24:11 AM
Hi Dirk,

its a very intense experience, but fascinating, I'm just keen to make sure I dont burn out on these works- which are probably my favorite, period, and spoil them for good and keeps.

Smart move, I almost burned out on the sonatas myself.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on September 28, 2010, 11:26:07 AM
Hi Erato

£12.41 amazon market place
£13.93 Amazon

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beethoven-String-Quartets-Busch-Quartet/dp/B0011X9S3K/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1285705360&sr=1-1

this is the newer, remastered set with the 130 and GF included (GF is the Busch string ensemble playing it)

@ George

How long did it take to saturate on the PS?

cheers

David
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 28, 2010, 11:56:46 AM
@ George

How long did it take to saturate on the PS?

cheers

David

I forget. But I know that it began comparing three full sets (Gulda, Annie Fischer and Barenboim, DG) with my single CDs, going through each work chronologically. A month or so later, I did the same with Kempffs mono, Backhaus's stereo, Schnabel Naxos and Bernard Roberts sets. Then came Gilels, Hungerford, Kovacevich, etc. All told, maybe a year and a half? Two years?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on September 28, 2010, 12:02:59 PM
I forget. But I know that it began comparing three full sets (Gulda, Annie Fischer and Barenboim, DG) with my single CDs, going through each work chronologically. A month or so later, I did the same with Kempffs mono, Backhaus's stereo, Schnabel Naxos and Bernard Roberts sets. Then came Gilels, Hungerford, Kovacevich, etc. All told, maybe a year and a half? Two years?

I have no idea what would possess people to systematically "compare" different performances of a work.  Normally I scatter listening over different composers and performers but if I get at all systematic it is to listen to a single performer doing different works by the same composer.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on September 28, 2010, 12:33:07 PM
I have no idea what would possess people to systematically "compare" different performances of a work.  Normally I scatter listening over different composers and performers but if I get at all systematic it is to listen to a single performer doing different works by the same composer.

I find that comparison illuminates- particularly with the late quartets, which are so enigmatic, ambiguous and emotionally complex.

Different performances challenge my perceptions and act as foils to each other helping me to hear the work in new ways.

I've basically listened to three core sets for many many years, wanted to challenge my imprinted views, started buying alternative sets and once I started became enthralled by the journey of having the experiencing of these works rejuvinated, hence the size of the task at hand  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: AndyD. on September 28, 2010, 12:51:35 PM
Smart move, I almost burned out on the sonatas myself.


You know, this will sound very strange, but I haven't listened to my favorite quartet in a year come November. I reserve opus 132 for a certain time when I am experiencing, or have recently experienced, something bad in my life. Not that I will be following this practice always, but that's just how I feel about that quartet. It really has a mystical power, at least for me (of course, it could be argued that "mysticism" is purely subjective, but I'm sure most of you know what I mean).

The last time I listened, I had almost lost my girl, and the piece completely overwhelmed me with gratitude that I still had someone that really loved and cared about me in this world. It affirmed everything, in one fell swoop. And I don't care who thinks that's schmaltzy (most people who would are miserable anyway). 

People say that Beethoven's 9th has the power to change the world. Well, in my little world, it's the Heiliger Dankesang.

Of course, I listen to to all the other middle and late string quartets on a regular basis  ;).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on October 31, 2010, 01:13:55 PM
Thoughts?:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41OkhUVq5%2BL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

At 18 euros (Amazon France) fairly attractive.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: mc ukrneal on October 31, 2010, 01:54:49 PM
Thoughts?:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41OkhUVq5%2BL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

At 18 euros (Amazon France) fairly attractive.
The set has a great reputatiton. For the price, seems like a good deal. Keep in mind the recording is from the 50's, so you may want to sample first.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (poco) Sforzando on October 31, 2010, 02:33:21 PM
Thoughts?:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41OkhUVq5%2BL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

At 18 euros (Amazon France) fairly attractive.

I grew up on the Budapest's 1958 set, which was on Columbia LPs and had a great reputation even though the first violinist's intonation had begun to suffer somewhat as the group got older. And at times their ensemble could get ragged, as in the rapid-fire exchanges during the Presto of 131. Since I foolishly parted with many of my LPs years ago, I don't have the set any longer, but flaws aside, I considered it to be great music-making. However, they recorded the series several times, and if this is the earlier 1950 set with Gorodetsky, I'd say it's a gamble worth taking.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on December 09, 2010, 01:06:04 PM
The Hungarian String Quartet.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on December 09, 2010, 01:09:55 PM
The Hungarian String Quartet.

I had that, good performances, absolutely execrable sound quality.  I could not justify tryinig to listen to it when there are lots of modern ensembles that play just as convincingly with infinitely superior audio engineering.
 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 20, 2010, 12:40:25 PM
Anyone know this one from Quatuor Turner?

I've got an agenda -- I'm looking for a set of Op 18s which plays down the relation with later Beethoven -- in the slow movement of Op 18/1 for example. And which plays up the classical, playful, relatively youthful spirit of the music.

Sugestions appreciated.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on December 20, 2010, 12:46:00 PM
Anyone know this one from Quatuor Turner?

I've got an agenda -- I'm looking for a set of Op 18s which plays down the relation with later Beethoven -- in the slow movement of Op 18/1 for example. And which plays up the classical, playful, relatively youthful spirit of the music.

Sugestions appreciated.

Well, I've got the complete cycle by the Endellion Quartet (can be had cheaply in places - mine was $30) and they play with enough concessions to period practice and enough of a "rough and ready" attitude that I thought Op 18 sounded really Haydn-y. If you're a fan of Amazon MP3 (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beethoven-Complete-Quartets-Quintets-Fragments/dp/B001GH5DS0/ref=dm_cd_album_lnk?ie=UTF8&qid=1292877915&sr=8-1) then not only can you sample each track free, you can download the whole cycle for 13 pounds  :o
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 20, 2010, 01:21:29 PM
Gosh, I'm not up for going through 39 pages of comments to find this, so I'll just be like a newbie and ask. :)

I just got the Borodin set on Chandos, haven't listened to it yet. Any comments or observations on this set? I've been quite looking forward to it (which I rarely do with non-PI, but such is their rep), but want to block out some quality time for listening to it. :)

8)

(http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa159/Gurn_Blanston/0018c40f_medium.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peregrine on December 20, 2010, 01:40:46 PM
I've got an agenda -- I'm looking for a set of Op 18s which plays down the relation with later Beethoven -- in the slow movement of Op 18/1 for example. And which plays up the classical, playful, relatively youthful spirit of the music.

Sugestions appreciated.

I always thought the Italian Quartet did this well, but it's a while since I listened and can't obtain the discs at present. Whilst not really enjoying their set as a whole, their Op.18 always struck me as just about perfect. Very well recorded and played.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on December 20, 2010, 02:02:45 PM
Gosh, I'm not up for going through 39 pages of comments to find this, so I'll just be like a newbie and ask. :)

I just got the Borodin set on Chandos, haven't listened to it yet. Any comments or observations on this set? I've been quite looking forward to it (which I rarely do with non-PI, but such is their rep), but want to block out some quality time for listening to it. :)

8)

(http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa159/Gurn_Blanston/0018c40f_medium.jpg)

I have also acquired that set recently (for a very attractive price) but have not had time to listen.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SonicMan46 on December 20, 2010, 03:23:12 PM
Gosh, I'm not up for going through 39 pages of comments to find this, so I'll just be like a newbie and ask. :)

I just got the Borodin set on Chandos, haven't listened to it yet. Any comments or observations on this set? I've been quite looking forward to it (which I rarely do with non-PI, but such is their rep), but want to block out some quality time for listening to it. :)

(http://i202.photobucket.com/albums/aa159/Gurn_Blanston/0018c40f_medium.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51TW5OcbqPL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Gurn - cannot comment on the Borodin SQ in these works - I've had the Takacs SQ as a complete set for years (old BMG Club bargain buy), and most recently acquired the 'new' Alexander SQ set (pic added above) - I've commented on this set before - am I the only one who owns this excellent offering?  Have not done any price comparisons lately but should be 'thrown' into the mix for consideration.  Dave  :D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on December 20, 2010, 04:45:37 PM
Thoughts?:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41OkhUVq5%2BL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

At 18 euros (Amazon France) fairly attractive.


I'll have some soon.  Santa just delivered my set today, but I cannot begin listening until the 25th. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on December 20, 2010, 04:52:21 PM
Gurn - cannot comment on the Borodin SQ in these works - I've had the Takacs SQ as a complete set for years (old BMG Club bargain buy), and most recently acquired the 'new' Alexander SQ set (pic added above) - I've commented on this set before - am I the only one who owns this excellent offering?  Have not done any price comparisons lately but should be 'thrown' into the mix for consideration.  Dave  :D

No, you are not... I find the early quartets (op.18) of the Alexander excellent; good enough to stand up to any of the competition... but from thereon matters pedestrian an neither the middle nor late quartets can compete with a hole host of sets... certainly not the magnificent Takacs. Not a fan of the late Borodin recordings, either; the playing wasn't as good anymore as it should have been...
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 20, 2010, 06:11:22 PM
Gurn - cannot comment on the Borodin SQ in these works - I've had the Takacs SQ as a complete set for years (old BMG Club bargain buy), and most recently acquired the 'new' Alexander SQ set (pic added above) - I've commented on this set before - am I the only one who owns this excellent offering?  Have not done any price comparisons lately but should be 'thrown' into the mix for consideration.  Dave  :D

Dave,

I have the Alexander cycle too, it was an impressive throw-in in that Sony 60 disk Beethoven box a couple years ago. I agree with Jens on this, their Op 18 is as good as anyone, the later ones are certainly not bad, nor are they memorable. I have the Italians in the Late ones, and even though the knowledgeable collector I bought them from didn't care much for them, I like them a lot. :)

8)

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on December 20, 2010, 06:27:43 PM

I have the Alexander cycle too, it was an impressive throw-in in that Sony 60 disk Beethoven box a couple years ago. I agree with Jens on this, their Op 18 is as good as anyone, the later ones are certainly not bad, nor are they memorable.

You are talking about the Alexander's First cycle; Sonicman and I about their Second... but good to hear (or not) that little has changed, since... except the instruments...
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 20, 2010, 06:53:32 PM
You are talking about the Alexander's First cycle; Sonicman and I about their Second... but good to hear (or not) that little has changed, since... except the instruments...

Aha, didn't know there were 2! The picture on the cover wasn't a telltale in this case. :)  What did you mean about the Borodin's cycle? That the late ones weren't as good, or that the cycle is late in their career so not at their peak? :)

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on December 21, 2010, 03:58:25 AM
What did you mean about the Borodin's cycle? That the late ones weren't as good, or that the cycle is late in their career so not at their peak? :)

...the latter.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Antoine Marchand on December 21, 2010, 04:26:25 AM
You are talking about the Alexander's First cycle; Sonicman and I about their Second... but good to hear (or not) that little has changed, since... except the instruments...

... yes, but the choice of the instruments is not a minor part of the new recording. The Ellen M. Egger quartet of instruments is just gorgeous and the sound quality of the new cycle is unbeatable.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on December 21, 2010, 05:24:54 AM
... yes, but the choice of the instruments is not a minor part of the new recording. The Ellen M. Egger quartet of instruments is just gorgeous and the sound quality of the new cycle is unbeatable.  :)

There you have it: Mediocre OK performances in superb sound. You can hear every last detail of their lack of inspiration.  ;D

Seriously, the whole thing is part of the marketing strategy for a very, very capable instrument builder... and op.18 do him and the quartet very proud, but to suggest that most other quartets don't have instruments every bit the equal of the Alexander's (Tokio using the "Paganini" Stradivarius set; Emerson having a choice between Zygmuntowicz' instruments and old Italians...) is misleading. And to suggest the sound of an instrument makes a Beethoven String Quartet cycle worth being considered above others, possibly better played ones, is also questionable for all but the most obsessed (14-cycles-is-not-enough) collectors. For those interested, they should just get the first volume and invest the rest in something else, methinks.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SonicMan46 on December 21, 2010, 07:07:57 AM
... yes, but the choice of the instruments is not a minor part of the new recording. The Ellen M. Egger quartet of instruments is just gorgeous and the sound quality of the new cycle is unbeatable.  :)

Well Jens, appears that Antoine and I like this 'new' performance by the Alexander SQ; and of course there are other critics on the block - for the one quoted HERE (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=309917), this recording is thought of as a 2009 'Record of the Year' w/ the opinion for the Takacs to take a second seat - now I'm not dumping my long time favs, but others certainly feel that these new offerings are special; even 6/6 5* on Amazon (not the best judges but consistency is rare at that site) - I'll not be replacing the Alexanders any time soon - Dave  :D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on December 21, 2010, 07:16:18 AM
Well Jens, appears that Antoine and I like this 'new' performance by the Alexander SQ; and of course there are other critics on the block - for the one quoted HERE (http://www.arkivmusic.com/classical/album.jsp?album_id=309917)...

To put it very kindly and gingerly: Not all reviews are equal. But if you love the cycle, I'm not in any way bent on lessening your enjoyment of it.

Quote
When ‘jumping for joy’ in honour of a known work, or holding it up to execration, you may be writing in accordance with the prevailing view or against it. Now suppose that you are urging your readers to amend the unfavourable opinion they entertain of works which you think highly of: you are promising them something positive, an addition to the range of their enjoyment. They may wonder at finding works which leave them cold described as thrilling and lovable, yet eventually be swayed by the inducement held out.

On the contrary, if you are trying to make people see that their taste and faith is at fault, the position is that you are holding out no direct, positive inducement: ostensibly, you are proposing, not to add to their stock of artistic pleasure, but to detract from it. The task is as graceless as that of taking a bone from a dog. […] Wordsworth is reported to have alleged that ‘a stupid invention, in prose or verse, is quite harmless’. Knowing how much smaller the average man’s capacity for and chances of assimilating music are than with literature and the other arts, how very much less varied his musical experiences are than any others, one could hardly say the same with reference to the stupid inventions in music with which the world is overrun. Judicious criticism, therefore, has a great and much needed part to play with regard to the extirpation of bad music.
(M.D.Calvocoressi, "Musical Criticism," 1931)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on December 21, 2010, 07:18:26 AM
I had the Alexander in my shopping cart when I found out that the set is essentially an extended advertisement for a violin manufacturer.   I also saw those Amazon reviews (openly exhorting us to BUY the set RIGHT NOW)  which really put me off.  Either they were written by the first violinist's mommy, were planted my the record company, or this quartet particularly appeals to simpletons.    ;D

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on December 21, 2010, 08:13:50 AM
You are talking about the Alexander's First cycle; Sonicman and I about their Second... but good to hear (or not) that little has changed, since... except the instruments...
And the first violinist.  Ge-Fang Yang left several years ago and Zack Grafilo took his place.  Also they have matured a bit, like a fine wine.  Their playing is warm, affectionate, graceful, unpretentious.  They're as comfortable with the music as if they were old friends conversing after dinner.  There's no sense of shouting," Hey, listen up...this is important music, goddammit!" or "Hey, listen up...we're virtuosi and special, bet you never heard it like this before!"

I had the Alexander in my shopping cart when I found out that the set is essentially an extended advertisement for a violin manufacturer.   I also saw those Amazon reviews (openly exhorting us to BUY the set RIGHT NOW)  which really put me off.  Either they were written by the first violinist's mommy, were planted my the record company, or this quartet particularly appeals to simpletons.    ;D
Well, I'm happy to be a simpleton.  It was a long, tough battle to escape the clutches of intellectualism which shackles us with sweet deceits, whispering, "You're smarter, therefore you see more and you're better than most!"

I'm terribly prejudiced in favor of the Alexander Qt.  They're the home team and over the years I've heard them play the entire LvB cycle plus plenty of Shosty and Wolfie and some new music as well.  They're one of the Bay Area's many musical treasures--and if you ever get a chance to hear them, I hope your prejudices against quartets that aren't household names with Universal or Sony recording contracts doesn't prevent you from enjoying the opportunity.  Lengthy excerpts from several of their recordings are available on their site, here: http://www.asq4.com/audio.htm

And the cycle on Foghorn is one of the best purchases I made in 2010, vying with Jacobs's Zauberflöte and the Quatuor Mosaïques' Haydn Qts for my favorite acquisitions of the year.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on December 21, 2010, 08:23:26 AM
Well, I'm happy to be a simpleton.  It was a long, tough battle to escape the clutches of intellectualism which shackles us with sweet deceits, whispering, "You're smarter, therefore you see more and you're better than most!"

I didn't mean to imply that one must be a simpleton to like the recordings.  Only that the reviews I saw on amazon had a certain "foaming at the mouth" quality that turned me off.   I'm still tempted to get the set, but at this point I find myself with so many recordings of this music that getting another would truly be an act of insanity.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on December 21, 2010, 08:34:08 AM
I've only got one, the Endellions. Going to at least try to listen to every quartet once before buying a second set - I'm going through them in order and am currently on Op 74.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 21, 2010, 09:13:24 AM
I've only got one, the Endellions. Going to at least try to listen to every quartet once before buying a second set - I'm going through them in order and am currently on Op 74.

Damn, I can't remember how I reacted to my first listening to the Op 59's. But I'm curious what you thought, Brian. Unlike most people here, apparently, I don't give a shit about whose playing, only the music itself. What did it say to you? BTW, I am very partial to Op 59, which is why I ask.  0:)

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brahmsian on December 21, 2010, 09:15:04 AM
I've only got one, the Endellions. Going to at least try to listen to every quartet once before buying a second set - I'm going through them in order and am currently on Op 74.

Opus 74 is my favorite quartet of 1 through 11, Brian! 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on December 21, 2010, 09:19:54 AM
Damn, I can't remember how I reacted to my first listening to the Op 59's. But I'm curious what you thought, Brian. Unlike most people here, apparently, I don't give a shit about whose playing, only the music itself. What did it say to you? BTW, I am very partial to Op 59, which is why I ask.  0:)

8)

Op 59 No 1 I first heard live, actually, and it was love at first listen! I just finished playing it again actually.  ;D I have spent more than half of this year "stuck" on Op 59 No 1 because it holds such beauty, such joy. Plus, here in London I've had the good fortune to see both the Endellions and the stupendous Pavel Haas Quartet play it live. Nos 2 and 3 I've gotten to more recently and they are definitely going to be favorites too... together the three quartets really have everything one needs, don't they? :)

As a side note, I recently heard Dvorak's Quartet No 1 for the first time (Stamitz Qt) and it sounds EXACTLY like a hypothetical Op 59 No 4. The finale meanders a little, but the first three movements make it absolutely clear what the young Antonin's favorite music was  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brahmsian on December 21, 2010, 09:20:37 AM
BTW, I am very partial to Op 59, which is why I ask.  0:)



Well Gurn, I'm not Brian, but I want to chime in on your question!   ;D

When I first started listening to Beethoven's quartets (actually, my first listen to string quartet music), the Opus 59 quartets had a definite immediate appeal to me.  Actually, it was the somewhat 'problematic' or 'quirky' Op.59/2 that first appealed to me, and along with Op.18/1, the first two quartets that I listened to the most when acclimatizing to Beethoven and the string quartet world. 

Since then, all three have had a rotation in my favorites of the '59's'.  Op.59/3 is currently my favorite and has probably been my favorite the longest.   
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: karlhenning on December 21, 2010, 09:21:15 AM
Aye, the Opus 59 quartets fixed me but good with their glittering eye the first ever I heard them! Rock on, lads!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on December 21, 2010, 09:22:29 AM
Damn, I can't remember how I reacted to my first listening to the Op 59's. But I'm curious what you thought, Brian. Unlike most people here, apparently, I don't give a shit about whose playing, only the music itself. What did it say to you? BTW, I am very partial to Op 59, which is why I ask.  0:)

For the longest time my only Beethoven quartet recordings were the Italiano Late Quartets so I was only exposed to Op 59 rather late.  I must say I enjoy them more than I expected to.  They lack that "damn it, I'm writing what I want whether you like it or not" quality of the late quartets, but there is a direct expressiveness that has something in common with the middle symphonies (5-7).  The Philips (now on Brilliant) Guarneri recordings are superb.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on December 21, 2010, 09:49:33 AM
For the longest time my only Beethoven quartet recordings were the Italiano Late Quartets so I was only exposed to Op 59 rather late.  I must say I enjoy them more than I expected to.  They lack that "damn it, I'm writing what I want whether you like it or not" quality of the late quartets, but there is a direct expressiveness that has something in common with the middle symphonies (5-7).  The Philips (now on Brilliant) Guarneri recordings are superb.
Yes, love the Guarneri.  My first exposure was the late qts recorded by the Juilliard SQ.  Soon after I heard opus 59, played live by the Guarneri almost 40 years ago, so I'm a bit partial to them as well.  The Italians don't cut it for me with the late qts.  To me they sound sentimental--or did, though come to think of it I've not played their recordings in years.  Maybe it's time for another spin...?

I love this music from op 59 on.  If I had to pick one fave, op 95 might be it.  If I had to pick one favorite cycle, I don't think I could do it.  This is one of those bodies of work that is so great that I want and enjoy a variety of approaches.  Faves include Takacs, Vegh, Emersons, Hagen, and Alexander.  Must give the Berg a listen--that's been years, too!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on December 21, 2010, 09:58:18 AM
I've had a weird ride through the quartets. It was the late quartets that grabbed me immediately, then a few years later Op.18 (Tokyo rules) and then...well, I still haven't fallen in love with the Razumovskys. Like I said, weird.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brahmsian on December 21, 2010, 10:01:25 AM
I've had a weird ride through the quartets. It was the late quartets that grabbed me immediately, then a few years later Op.18 (Tokyo rule) and then...well, I still haven't fallen in love with the Ravumovskys. Like I said, weird.

Sarge

That is a little weird, Sarge.  Most people love/hate the early or late quartets, or love or hate altogether all of LVB's quartets.  However, most people who like some of the quartets (more often than not), seem to enjoy the Op.59.  They are probably the most universally enjoyed of LVB's quartets.  There are always exceptions!  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on December 21, 2010, 10:02:13 AM
I love this music from op 59 on.  If I had to pick one fave, op 95 might be it.  If I had to pick one favorite cycle, I don't think I could do it.  This is one of those bodies of work that is so great that I want and enjoy a variety of approaches.  Faves include Takacs, Vegh, Emersons, Hagen, and Alexander.  Must give the Berg a listen--that's been years, too!

Heard my favorite set, the Vermeer Quartet?

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//2564613992.htm

They've reached super-bargain status.  I hate to think what I paid for them back in the day.  Probably paid more for a single disc than I would have to pay for the cycle. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on December 21, 2010, 10:20:12 AM
Heard my favorite set, the Vermeer Quartet?

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//2564613992.htm

They've reached super-bargain status.  I hate to think what I paid for them back in the day.  Probably paid more for a single disc than I would have to pay for the cycle.

1. That's so absurdly cheap I'd be a fool not to get it.
2. The samples do sound REALLY good. They sound like really polished, intelligent, sensitive performers.
3. Hey Sarge, their slow movement of Op 59 No 1 is 14:54 - three minutes slower than my Endellion or mono Budapest SQ ;)
4. Oh gosh, is it true they come in three fatboy plastic cases? Maybe I'll pay the four quid extra use my Amazon gift card to download instead.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on December 21, 2010, 10:25:07 AM
1. That's so absurdly cheap I'd be a fool not to get it.
2. The samples do sound REALLY good. They sound like really polished, intelligent, sensitive performers.
3. Hey Sarge, their slow movement of Op 59 No 1 is 14:54 - three minutes slower than my Endellion or mono Budapest SQ ;)
4. Oh gosh, is it true they come in three fatboy plastic cases? Maybe I'll pay the four quid extra to download instead.

I have the full price version from years ago, which is three wide jewel cases in a slipcase.  I'm sure the new superbargain version is in compact packaging.

I'd describe them just as you do.  They have a warm, burnished sound, without laying it on too thick, expressive while maintaining a certain classical purity.  Audio is superb, in my  opinion (honest, Teldec engineering). 

I also have the Endellion, based on the same "I'd be crazy not to" reasoning you have mentioned.  Have not listened to them  Am currently making my way through the Guarneri (Philips).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on December 21, 2010, 10:29:38 AM
Heard my favorite set, the Vermeer Quartet?

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//2564613992.htm

They've reached super-bargain status.  I hate to think what I paid for them back in the day.  Probably paid more for a single disc than I would have to pay for the cycle.
I've never heard them but recall them being highly regarded by some and having bid on their cycle in the past back when Ebay was a good source for CDs.

Just placed my order with MDT ~$25 with shipping to the States.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 21, 2010, 10:52:42 AM
Wow, lots of replies, and all very interesting.

I started my quartet listening with Haydn Op 76, then moved to the Mozart 'Haydn' Quartets. When I got into Beethoven, it was with the Toyko's, and as Sarge hinted, their Op 18 is very good indeed. But musically, I didn't find Beethoven as far advanced as I had expected. Then I got Op 59, and I found just what I was looking for; this was the heroic Beethoven, the complex Beethoven, the Beethoven I wanted to hear. Still do. I prefer the Op 59's above all others. Which makes me especially sad, being unable to find but one of them (#3, by the Turners, on period instruments with period players. Ah well.... :)

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 21, 2010, 10:58:31 AM
Wow, lots of replies, and all very interesting.

I started my quartet listening with Haydn Op 76, then moved to the Mozart 'Haydn' Quartets. When I got into Beethoven, it was with the Toyko's, and as Sarge hinted, their Op 18 is very good indeed. But musically, I didn't find Beethoven as far advanced as I had expected. Then I got Op 59, and I found just what I was looking for; this was the heroic Beethoven, the complex Beethoven, the Beethoven I wanted to hear. Still do. I prefer the Op 59's above all others. Which makes me especially sad, being unable to find but one of them (#3, by the Turners, on period instruments with period players. Ah well.... :)

8)

So have you heard their Op 18? -- The CD I was asking about last night.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on December 21, 2010, 11:06:55 AM
3. Hey Sarge, their slow movement of Op 59 No 1 is 14:54 - three minutes slower than my Endellion or mono Budapest SQ ;)

Yeah, way slower than any of my CD Op.59 number ones: Smetana, Gewandhaus, Lindsays, Berg (can't find the Guarneri box but it's probably faster too).

But you know, in classial-era musc I often prefer my slow movements on the quick side...just to be contrary ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on December 21, 2010, 11:14:15 AM
Yeah, way slower than any of my CD Op.59 number ones: Smetana, Gewandhaus, Lindsays, Berg (can't find the Guarneri box but it's probably faster too).

But you know, in classial-era musc I often prefer my slow movements on the quick side...just to be contrary ;D

Sarge

Oh gosh! Well, here's a 30 second clip (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/dmusic/media/sample.m3u/ref=dm_dp_trk27?ie=UTF8&catalogItemType=track&ASIN=B001LMH16C&CustomerID=A2J5Y1PZR3Y6G9&qid=1292958729&sr=8-3) (at least I hope that works...)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on December 21, 2010, 11:18:42 AM
Oh gosh! Well, here's a 30 second clip (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/dmusic/media/sample.m3u/ref=dm_dp_trk27?ie=UTF8&catalogItemType=track&ASIN=B001LMH16C&CustomerID=A2J5Y1PZR3Y6G9&qid=1292958729&sr=8-3) (at least I hope that works...)
works--60 seconds  doesn't turn me off
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on December 21, 2010, 11:42:18 AM
Heard my favorite set, the Vermeer Quartet?

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//2564613992.htm

They've reached super-bargain status.  I hate to think what I paid for them back in the day.  Probably paid more for a single disc than I would have to pay for the cycle.

I came accross the Vermeer as part of a review of 16 different late LVB quartet cycles I'm doing, and I agree that these are very fine performances indeed.

In fact they stopped me in my tracks.

Very revelatory performances, slightly slower tempi than most.

They made me listen to this music with new ears- every line and phrase appears carefully thought and felt out. It felt like a living thing. I felt the music breathing.

Also very grave and serious.

Good stuff!


Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: karlhenning on December 21, 2010, 11:45:45 AM
Heard my favorite set, the Vermeer Quartet?

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//2564613992.htm (http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//2564613992.htm)

They've reached super-bargain status.  I hate to think what I paid for them back in the day.  Probably paid more for a single disc than I would have to pay for the cycle.

I've never heard them but recall them being highly regarded by some and having bid on their cycle in the past back when Ebay was a good source for CDs.

Just placed my order with MDT ~$25 with shipping to the States.

Thank you both (and you, too, Brian!) . . . that really was too good to pass up.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 21, 2010, 11:59:27 AM
So have you heard their Op 18? -- The CD I was asking about last night.

No. I saw your post and would have replied, but my experience with the 59 #3 / 74 disk may be entirely irrelevant to their Op 18... FWIW, I have been told by a person who has heard every PI recording ever made that the Turners are the best for Beethoven SQ's... :)

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Leon on December 21, 2010, 12:26:41 PM
No. I saw your post and would have replied, but my experience with the 59 #3 / 74 disk may be entirely irrelevant to their Op 18... FWIW, I have been told by a person who has heard every PI recording ever made that the Turners are the best for Beethoven SQ's... :)

8)

It is strange that these recordings are not easier to find (esp. Op. 18).  In looking around on the web for copies, I came across some comments that the playing on Op. 18 is very different from Op. 59/74 - advantage to Op. 18.  I have not heard either so I can't say one way or the other. 

Would be nice to have a PI set, though.  Maybe someone will get around to it along with the Piano Trios.  One can only hope.

I have several complete, or near complete, sets (Berg, Vegh [Naive & Haydn Society], Takacs, Italiano, Budapest, Borodin, and maybe one more I'm forgetting) of Beethoven SQ and like them all.

 8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on December 21, 2010, 12:31:45 PM
I always thought the Italian Quartet did this well, but it's a while since I listened and can't obtain the discs at present. Whilst not really enjoying their set as a whole, their Op.18 always struck me as just about perfect. Very well recorded and played.

Yo dude! Wzup!!

I am a big fan of the Italiano QT set of LvB QTs.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on December 21, 2010, 12:37:33 PM
And to suggest the sound of an instrument makes a Beethoven String Quartet cycle worth being considered above others, possibly better played ones, is also questionable for all but the most obsessed (14-cycles-is-not-enough) collectors. For those interested, they should just get the first volume and invest the rest in something else, methinks.

You can call me obsessed (I own 26 cycles - the Alexander Qt.´s first take among them), but judged from your words I think I can stay away form their second take, which also is very difficult to get hold of in Europe - or what?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peregrine on December 21, 2010, 12:39:00 PM
Yo dude! Wzup!!

I am a big fan of the Italiano QT set of LvB QTs.

How's it hanging, my man?! *said in a rather stoical, not quite right, middleish class accent*

If we're moving on to complete sets, then the Juilliard SQ rule my world by a long shot. I live on planet Juilliard etc, etc....

 :P
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 21, 2010, 12:52:17 PM
It is strange that these recordings are not easier to find (esp. Op. 18).  In looking around on the web for copies, I came across some comments that the playing on Op. 18 is very different from Op. 59/74 - advantage to Op. 18.  I have not heard either so I can't say one way or the other. 

Would be nice to have a PI set, though.  Maybe someone will get around to it along with the Piano Trios.  One can only hope.

I have several complete, or near complete, sets (Berg, Vegh [Naive & Haydn Society], Takacs, Italiano, Budapest, Borodin, and maybe one more I'm forgetting) of Beethoven SQ and like them all.

 8)

Yes, PI Beethoven is all over the map. Nearly half of the Pianoforte trios and maybe half of the string quartets have never even been done! Unbelievable!

So my full cycles are all MI; the Tokyo, Alexander I, Medici & Borodin. I have some nice chunks of others, like the Amadeus (early) and Italiano (late). And whatever PI is available (Smithson, Turner, Eroica, Mosaiques). Really, I have highly listenable versions of every quartet, so beyond getting some PI filled out, I'm not really shopping these works. :)

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on December 21, 2010, 12:55:24 PM
How's it hanging, my man?! *said in a rather stoical, not quite right, middleish class accent*

If we're moving on to complete sets, then the Juilliard SQ rule my world by a long shot. I live on planet Juilliard etc, etc....

 :P

I know, it's on my shelf due to your recommendation. 8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: karlhenning on December 21, 2010, 12:58:06 PM
Yes, PI Beethoven is all over the map. Nearly half of the Pianoforte trios and maybe half of the string quartets have never even been done! Unbelievable!

So my full cycles are all MI; the Tokyo, Alexander I, Medici & Borodin. I have some nice chunks of others, like the Amadeus (early) and Italiano (late). And whatever PI is available (Smithson, Turner, Eroica, Mosaiques). Really, I have highly listenable versions of every quartet, so beyond getting some PI filled out, I'm not really shopping these works. :)

8)

While I cannot judge what I have not heard, of course . . . the Beethoven quartets seem to me to do quite wonderfully with modern technique.  I expect the Vermeer Quartet to affirm this ; )
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 21, 2010, 01:00:30 PM
While I cannot judge what I have not heard, of course . . . the Beethoven quartets seem to me to do quite wonderfully with modern technique.  I expect the Vermeer Quartet to affirm this ; )

Tone color, repeats... of course, I greatly enjoy my moderns, Karl, you are quite right. I would like to hear them done as I like though. :)

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: karlhenning on December 21, 2010, 01:04:32 PM
Tone color, repeats... of course, I greatly enjoy my moderns, Karl, you are quite right. I would like to hear them done as I like though. :)

8)

Nothing wrong with enjoying a little variety, Gurn. Country and Western . . . .
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 21, 2010, 01:11:01 PM
Nothing wrong with enjoying a little variety, Gurn. Country and Western . . . .

Well, let's just head on down to Gurn's Beethoven Bunker then... ;D

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on December 21, 2010, 02:25:01 PM
I've had a weird ride through the quartets. It was the late quartets that grabbed me immediately, then a few years later Op.18 (Tokyo rules) and then...well, I still haven't fallen in love with the Razumovskys. Like I said, weird.

Sarge

For me, op.18 with the Takacs SQ4t (live and on record) had been a revelation...

Purely on record, at about the same time, the Vegh Quartet Razumovsky Quartets proved themselves some of the finest SQ4t experience ever.
Also the 2nd Juilliard SQ4t "Harp" Quartet did much for my appreciation of op.59.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 21, 2010, 02:39:00 PM
For me, op.18 with the Takacs SQ4t (live and on record) had been a revelation...

Purely on record, at about the same time, the Vegh Quartet Razumovsky Quartets proved themselves some of the finest SQ4t experience ever.
Also the 2nd Juilliard SQ4t "Harp" Quartet did much for my appreciation of op.59.

Yes but -- is it what I'm looking for?

Where I'm coming from is this: Gulda and Gould are really interesting  in the early piano sonatas just because they emphasise the wit, the humour, and underplay the wisdom, the ineffable, the spiritual, the angst.

What I'm wondering is -- does anyone do likewise in the early string quartets?

BTW I've ordered the Turners' Op 18s -- I thought their Op 59/3 is a real revelation -- I love the texture they give the music, the detail that they bring out.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on December 22, 2010, 01:26:17 AM
Anyone know this one from Quatuor Turner?

I've got an agenda -- I'm looking for a set of Op 18s which plays down the relation with later Beethoven -- in the slow movement of Op 18/1 for example. And which plays up the classical, playful, relatively youthful spirit of the music.

Sugestions appreciated.

I think most quartets approach the op. 18 from up front, rather than from beyond. Maybe the Italians and the Smetana are a little more ponderous than some others, but in general you will find a lighter touch in op. 18.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on December 22, 2010, 01:34:27 AM
And the first violinist.  Ge-Fang Yang left several years ago and Zack Grafilo took his place.  Also they have matured a bit, like a fine wine.  Their playing is warm, affectionate, graceful, unpretentious.  They're as comfortable with the music as if they were old friends conversing after dinner.  There's no sense of shouting," Hey, listen up...this is important music, goddammit!" or "Hey, listen up...we're virtuosi and special, bet you never heard it like this before!"
Well, I'm happy to be a simpleton.  It was a long, tough battle to escape the clutches of intellectualism which shackles us with sweet deceits, whispering, "You're smarter, therefore you see more and you're better than most!"

I'm terribly prejudiced in favor of the Alexander Qt.  They're the home team and over the years I've heard them play the entire LvB cycle plus plenty of Shosty and Wolfie and some new music as well.  They're one of the Bay Area's many musical treasures--and if you ever get a chance to hear them, I hope your prejudices against quartets that aren't household names with Universal or Sony recording contracts doesn't prevent you from enjoying the opportunity.  Lengthy excerpts from several of their recordings are available on their site, here: http://www.asq4.com/audio.htm


It's great you support the home team this way, BUT, if you talk about unpretentious and anti-intellectual, I believe the ASQ routinely have a special learned pre-recital talk to prep the audience, which is not my idea of unpretentious (though I have no doubt this Beethoven SQ lecture will feature some timely prairie home companion quips, this being America).

There's just no getting around it: the LvB string quartets (and 95% of all other string quartets) are part of an intense musical-intellectual tradition, but that doesn't mean the ASQ can't be "comfortable with the music, just like any other mature string quartet.

For a new recording, next to all the old reliables, I would recommend a younger, fiercer band, like the Petersen or the Prazak.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peregrine on December 22, 2010, 05:54:19 AM

For a new recording, next to all the old reliables, I would recommend a younger, fiercer band, like the Petersen or the Prazak.

I thoroughly endorse the Petersen set. I say set, it's not quite finished. Will it ever be? Their Op.130 is particularly good I think.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 22, 2010, 07:00:19 AM
I think most quartets approach the op. 18 from up front, rather than from beyond. Maybe the Italians and the Smetana are a little more ponderous than some others, but in general you will find a lighter touch in op. 18.

Yes maybe -- but there's that  slow movement in Op 18/1 which has sort of pre echoes of the late quartets -- at least as my one version (The Budapest) play it. I have two of the Leipzigs Op 18 CDs -- but not the one with 18/1. I only have the Itallians, Smetanas and Juilliards in the later quartets.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on December 22, 2010, 07:32:02 AM
Purely on record, at about the same time, the Vegh Quartet Razumovsky Quartets proved themselves some of the finest SQ4t experience ever.

I have the Vegh op.59/2 and 3. I'll give the CD another listen (it's been many years since the last spin). Since last night I've had the Smetana's op.59/1 on repeat. I'm either going to end up loving the quartet or I'll never want to hear it again  :D

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on December 22, 2010, 07:36:49 AM
Oh gosh! Well, here's a 30 second clip (http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/dmusic/media/sample.m3u/ref=dm_dp_trk27?ie=UTF8&catalogItemType=track&ASIN=B001LMH16C&CustomerID=A2J5Y1PZR3Y6G9&qid=1292958729&sr=8-3) (at least I hope that works...)

Thanks for the clip Brian. It sounds great and quite different than my other versions. But geez...do I really need another set? It's not the expense (it costs next to nothing)...it's the time and space requirements. At some point, at my age, you just have to say enough is enough. Still, very tempting. Damn Scarpia to hell  ;D

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on December 26, 2010, 09:51:29 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5184UnDSmzL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


I've worked my way through the Op 18, and as expected, I enjoy this set.  I did take the time to compare Op 18/4 with the 1941 and 1951 recordings, and the differences are not especially large.  Generally, with each earlier recording the tightness of ensemble and rhythmic precision improve, and the speed increases slightly, but overall the recordings are similar.  Pronouncements of great differences that I've read elsewhere seem a bit overdone.  Sonically, though, this is the best set, much better than the 1951 cycle and better, though not by as much as might be expected, than the 1941 set.  This is “old fashioned” LvB playing, but that’s quite alright with me.  I’ll take this or the Vegh’s second cycle over pretty much any other ensemble any day, with only the Prazak Quartet amongst new fangled groups being in the same class for me.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on December 26, 2010, 09:28:41 PM
I thoroughly endorse the Petersen set. I say set, it's not quite finished. Will it ever be? Their Op.130 is particularly good I think.

I've been looking at that Peterson.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on December 26, 2010, 09:30:51 PM
Yes but -- is it what I'm looking for?

Where I'm coming from is this: Gulda and Gould are really interesting  in the early piano sonatas just because they emphasise the wit, the humour, and underplay the wisdom, the ineffable, the spiritual, the angst.

What I'm wondering is -- does anyone do likewise in the early string quartets?

BTW I've ordered the Turners' Op 18s -- I thought their Op 59/3 is a real revelation -- I love the texture they give the music, the detail that they bring out.

Suske in Op.18 for playing it straight. I know I raved over their whole survey, but Op.18 is the IS.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on December 26, 2010, 09:30:58 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5184UnDSmzL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

  I’ll take this or the Vegh’s second cycle over pretty much any other ensemble any day, with only the Prazak Quartet amongst new fangled groups being in the same class for me.

This is why I have stopped buying LvB SQ's unless they are in the used bin and priced low.  Now you have me wondering about this Budapest.  Can you give a comparison of timings between this set and the second Vegh effort Todd?  Op. 18 No1 would do nicely, if possible.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on December 27, 2010, 08:36:51 AM
Can you give a comparison of timings between this set and the second Vegh effort Todd?  Op. 18 No1 would do nicely, if possible.


Sure.

Budapest '58:
7:16
10:34
3:11
6:24


Vegh '74
9:27
9:32
3:30
5:54
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: karlhenning on December 27, 2010, 08:39:46 AM
This is why I have stopped buying LvB SQ's unless they are in the used bin and priced low.

I'm in much the same space, though for slightly different reasons : )
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on December 27, 2010, 08:49:10 AM

Sure.

Budapest '58:
7:16
10:34
3:11
6:24


Vegh '74
9:27
9:32
3:30
5:54

Darn.  I was hoping the Vegh to be slower throughout.  Now I need to hear the Budapest effort, as the slower the SQ's get, the happier I seem to become. ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on December 27, 2010, 09:15:06 AM
This is why I have stopped buying LvB SQ's unless they are in the used bin and priced low.
I stopped because I pretty well had it covered with the Emersons, Vegh, Takacs, and Alexander, but Scarpia's notice of the complete Vermeer set for ~$20 forced me to open my wallet!  (Now if only Arrau's sonata cycle would be reissued at bargain price....)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on December 27, 2010, 09:18:28 AM
Darn.  I was hoping the Vegh to be slower throughout.  Now I need to hear the Budapest effort, as the slower the SQ's get, the happier I seem to become. ;D

Your comment called to mind something I read in a book about chamber music some time ago. I just pulled it out, so as to quote it correctly. It is about the lovely slow movement from Op. 132:

"Someone has irreverently described the piece as like a man seeing how slowly he can ride a bicycle without falling off."

 ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: karlhenning on December 27, 2010, 09:21:41 AM
That's great, George!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on December 27, 2010, 09:22:40 AM
That is the best, George.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on December 27, 2010, 09:30:22 AM

Sure.

Budapest '58: Budapest '40    Budapest '52
7:16                6:48                7:11
10:34              9:43                9:58
3:11                2:58                3:13
6:24                6:02                6:17


Vegh '74
9:27
9:32
3:30
5:54

For comparison, above I have posted in red the 1940 and 1951 timings of the same work by the Budapest QT.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on December 27, 2010, 09:40:04 AM
with only the Prazak Quartet amongst new fangled groups being in the same class for me.

Care to elaborate?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on December 27, 2010, 10:33:52 AM
Care to elaborate?



Sure.  My preference in Beethoven's quartets has long been for ensembles of earlier generations.  As technically polished as most current ensembles are, they lack a certain something that the Budapest (quite polished, especially earlier) and the Vegh, and even the Hungarian Quartet bring.  Call it musical bonhomie, if you will (or whatever else may work), earlier ensembles just have something I prefer.  The Prazak manages better than most to offer what ensembles of yore offered.  They are technically impeccable, and certainly more assertive, possibly even aggressive at times, than the older ensembles, but they blend together quite nicely.  They are just superb in every way.  (Their Dvorak, Janacek, and Smetana all display the same thing.)  I dare say that if the Panocha end their career with an LvB cycle, it, too, would offer something similar.  Maybe it's something in the water in Central Europe?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on December 27, 2010, 11:28:39 AM
Interesting, I don't hear a lot of similarity between Prazak and Panocha.

Prazak sounds like a younger group to me; they rock harder, so to speak.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on December 27, 2010, 11:57:00 AM


Sure.  My preference in Beethoven's quartets has long been for ensembles of earlier generations.  As technically polished as most current ensembles are, they lack a certain something that the Budapest (quite polished, especially earlier) and the Vegh, and even the Hungarian Quartet bring.  Call it musical bonhomie, if you will (or whatever else may work), earlier ensembles just have something I prefer.  The Prazak manages better than most to offer what ensembles of yore offered.  They are technically impeccable, and certainly more assertive, possibly even aggressive at times, than the older ensembles, but they blend together quite nicely.  They are just superb in every way.  (Their Dvorak, Janacek, and Smetana all display the same thing.)  I dare say that if the Panocha end their career with an LvB cycle, it, too, would offer something similar.  Maybe it's something in the water in Central Europe?

Very interesting.  I'd have said the same thing (and in fact I have said the same thing many times) about the Vermeer quartet.

I have the Prazak recordings of the Brahms quartets, which I found quite good, although I have not found the time to listen to them more than once.  SACD audio is also an advantage.

On an unrelated note, I'm tempted to get the videos of the Alban Berg Quartet.  They are not my favorite ensemble, but seeing the performance makes the counterpoint easier to follow (as long as the camera work is not to intrusive).

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on December 27, 2010, 12:18:19 PM
Interesting, I don't hear a lot of similarity between Prazak and Panocha.


Stylistically, they are quite different, and the Panocha are less assertive.  What I am referring to is how they blend together.  It's hard to describe exactly, but some ensembles sometime sound like four individuals whereas others sound like a well oiled machine working perfectly in unison. 

Incidentally, the ensembles are both around forty years old and thus, one must assume, near the end of their careers.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on December 28, 2010, 02:18:02 PM

Incidentally, the ensembles are both around forty years old and thus, one must assume, near the end of their careers.

gosh, I wasn't aware the Prazak Qt was from the early seventies.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 28, 2010, 10:40:30 PM
I listened to Hagen's Op 18/4 the other day. I liked it very much . For one thing, their's brio -- especially in the final movement. For another, the balances are revealing -- at least there were bits of music which I felt I was hearing fr the first time.

And the style -- nothing comfortable or pastoral or complacent about the Hagens -- is very much to my taste. Timbres are lean, hard, clear, clean.

Has anyone heard their other Op 18s?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on December 29, 2010, 12:26:18 AM

Incidentally, the ensembles are both around forty years old and thus, one must assume, near the end of their careers.

This would be news to the Prazak Quartet members, I assure you. They might not feel like one positively needed to assume that. They got together as wee lads and still have a bit of life in them, yet. On average, I think they're younger than the Takacs Quartet (in its current line-up).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on December 29, 2010, 05:00:37 AM
I listened to Hagen's Op 18/4 the other day. I liked it very much . For one thing, their's brio -- especially in the final movement. For another, the balances are revealing -- at least there were bits of music which I felt I was hearing fr the first time.

And the style -- nothing comfortable or pastoral or complacent about the Hagens -- is very much to my taste. Timbres are lean, hard, clear, clean.

Has anyone heard their other Op 18s?
Only 18/1.  They also recorded 59/1, 95, and several of the late quartets.  "Brio" is right.  Also "chutpah"--but they carry it off with a radical reimagining that works.  I wish they would record them all for that would probably make an alternate cycle to treasure.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Drasko on December 29, 2010, 05:45:51 AM
Only 18/1.  They also recorded 59/1, 95, and several of the late quartets.

They did record all of the late quartets for DG, but most of it is out of print, don't know even if all their CDs were released outside German market. Their last release for DG was 5-6 years ago (Shostakovich), so it seems they moved labels. New small German label Myrios Music (http://www.myriosmusic.com/de/news.html) is advertising new Mozart/Beethoven/Webern disc for next year, so there might be chance for finishing the Beethoven cycle in some future.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on December 29, 2010, 06:08:28 AM
They did record all of the late quartets for DG, but most of it is out of print, don't know even if all their CDs were released outside German market. Their last release for DG was 5-6 years ago (Shostakovich), so it seems they moved labels. New small German label Myrios Music (http://www.myriosmusic.com/de/news.html) is advertising new Mozart/Beethoven/Webern disc for next year, so there might be chance for finishing the Beethoven cycle in some future.
So they have, thanks for the correction.  Would be nice if they at least recorded 59/2&3 and 74 -- or did I miss those, too?  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 29, 2010, 06:45:06 AM
You can download a lot of recordings from the Hagens -- including their Mozart -- from the DG website.

For Beethoven there's all the late ones , 18/1, 59/1 and Op 18/4.

I'll download that Op 18/1 and Op 59/1 soon unless someone posts to say it's not interesting.

I'm also curious about the Op 127 -- I like this quartet.

The Hagen's Op 18/4 is exactly the style  I was looking for!

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on December 29, 2010, 07:37:59 AM
On average, I think they're younger than the Takacs Quartet (in its current line-up).


Really, they're younger on average than the current Takacs line-up?  I'm not so sure.  In any event, both ensembles (and the Panocha, and even the Emerson while I'm at it) are getting a bit long in the tooth, and the only way they will survive for a long time at the highest level, say more than another decade or so, would be to replace the members, making them a new fangled Juilliard.  That is, they wouldn't be the same ensembles at all. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on January 01, 2011, 05:28:37 PM
Only 18/1.  They also recorded 59/1, 95, and several of the late quartets.  "Brio" is right.  Also "chutpah"--but they carry it off with a radical reimagining that works.  I wish they would record them all for that would probably make an alternate cycle to treasure.

I do like the Hagen Quartet's Mozart cycle and have a few installments of their Beethoven.  It would be a shame if they were not able to continue recording in the future.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: karlhenning on January 05, 2011, 06:21:25 AM
Heard my favorite set, the Vermeer Quartet?

http://www.mdt.co.uk/MDTSite/product//2564613992.htm

They've reached super-bargain status.  I hate to think what I paid for them back in the day.  Probably paid more for a single disc than I would have to pay for the cycle.

I've never heard them but recall them being highly regarded by some and having bid on their cycle in the past back when Ebay was a good source for CDs.

Just placed my order with MDT ~$25 with shipping to the States.
Thank you both (and you, too, Brian!) . . . that really was too good to pass up.

It's been holiday season, so the delay was to be anticipated . . . I am pleased that confirmation has come in at last that the set is now shipping.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on January 09, 2011, 07:04:52 PM
The Hungarian String Quartet. Three volumes. Best of luck finding them on cds. I have them on nasty ol' LPs.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on January 09, 2011, 07:13:41 PM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5184UnDSmzL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


I've worked my way through the Op 18, and as expected, I enjoy this set.  I did take the time to compare Op 18/4 with the 1941 and 1951 recordings, and the differences are not especially large.  Generally, with each earlier recording the tightness of ensemble and rhythmic precision improve, and the speed increases slightly, but overall the recordings are similar.  Pronouncements of great differences that I've read elsewhere seem a bit overdone.  Sonically, though, this is the best set, much better than the 1951 cycle and better, though not by as much as might be expected, than the 1941 set.  This is “old fashioned” LvB playing, but that’s quite alright with me.  I’ll take this or the Vegh’s second cycle over pretty much any other ensemble any day, with only the Prazak Quartet amongst new fangled groups being in the same class for me.
Funny, they were all Russians from 1940 on.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Holden on January 18, 2011, 12:25:27 PM
I only own one set of these plus a small number of recordings of the early and middle SQs from the likes of Tokyo, etc and the Hollywood SQ performing the late ones. The box set I have is by the Hungarian SQ and the reason I have it is because it was going very cheaply in a record store and I knew the name. However, I rarely listen to it as it just doesn't grab me.

What inspired me was a comment on this forum regarding QI and their performances yet when I checked listener reviews they ranged from 'oustanding' to 'boring'. A quick listen to a few youtubes didn't really help that much either though I know that I do like the sound they make.

So, what is your ideal integral set of the LvB SQs and most importantly - why? Is it the old Busch, the Lindsays, Berg, Cleveland, Julliard or what?

For my listening tastes I like chamber music with a bit of bite, yet lyricism without being too syrupy. I want to hear each instrument clearly delineated but don't want it overly analytical. To give you an idea, my favourite all time chamber recording is the BAT Hummel piano trios. In second place is the Hollywood SQ's rendering of the Schubert Piano Quintet.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on January 18, 2011, 01:12:39 PM
So, what is your ideal integral set of the LvB SQs and most importantly - why? Is it the old Busch, the Lindsays, Berg, Cleveland, Julliard or what?

For my listening tastes I like chamber music with a bit of bite, yet lyricism without being too syrupy. I want to hear each instrument clearly delineated but don't want it overly analytical.

Based on what you say, I would think the QI set would be a good match for you. Or maybe the Alban Berg on EMI?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brahmsian on January 18, 2011, 01:39:38 PM
I second George's recommendation for Quartetto Italiano.  I also really like the Takacs for the late quartets, and particularly Op.135
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on January 18, 2011, 03:17:09 PM
Well for me I want readings which don't sound comfortable and smug. Above all I want to avoid slow movements which  suggest an Edwardian gentleman wiping away a tear with his handkerchief. And I want some freshness and edginess. For me this is supremely non quaint, non pastoral, non Viennese cafe, non Palm Court,  highly knowing music. Street wise urban music.

In terms of texture I like things lean sounding And I want to hear the polyphony -- there needs to be some transparency.

This may not be your thing -- you may want something a bit richer and a bit more slick.

But if you can I don't think you'll be sorry to at least try to hear the  Hagen Quartet in the Op 18s and Op 133 and Op 136 and Serioso; Juiliard on Testment for Op 131; Smetana on Supraphon for Op 127 -136; the Lindsays in  Op 132, the Tatrai in Op 127; the Vlach in Op 131; the New Music Quartet and The Janacek Quartet in the Rasumowskies; Itallians in Op 127, Leipzig in Op 18s, Turner Quartet in the Rasumowskies.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Octo_Russ on January 18, 2011, 04:53:27 PM
I would say the Lindsay Quartet [especially No7, i feel they get the first movement just right, nice forward momentum], the Tokyo Quartet [who can be a bit sweet at times, but it suits the early Quartets], and certainly the Quartetto Italiano [who are very authoritive], these are my favourites.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: ajlee on January 18, 2011, 05:52:39 PM
I have the Alban Berg Quartet set, but sorry...haven't really listened to it yet =P  I bought it b/c it got good reviews on CT.com and it was quite a bargain at the time.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Holden on January 18, 2011, 09:19:27 PM
I have the Alban Berg Quartet set, but sorry...haven't really listened to it yet =P  I bought it b/c it got good reviews on CT.com and it was quite a bargain at the time.


There are 2 Alban Berg sets appparently - the EMI studio version from about 1985 and a live set recorded 4 years later. Some think the 'live' is an improvement but I can't seem to find it. Any one else have an opinion?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: dirkronk on January 18, 2011, 09:22:20 PM
I really don't know what to suggest regarding an integral set. I like the 1960s Juilliard in portions of their early and middle quartets, but not so much their late ones...IMO they simply don't come through on the Dankgesang movement of the op.132 and that's a deal killer for me. I have a real affection for the Bartok Quartet in the late quartets, which I've had on vinyl for ages, but only recently got them on CD doing most (not all) of the earlier ones and haven't evaluated those yet. Same goes for a cycle by the Talich, which is lying in a box waiting for me to listen to even the first CD (hey, got it used for a song a couple of months back). I know the Italians in the middle and some of the late ones (my copies on vinyl, natch) and they're really an incredible ensemble, beautiful to listen to; I'm just a bit concerned that as an entire cycle, especially if you listen a lot, the QI may start to come across as a bit sweet/bland/"the same" from one piece to the next. Not quite to the Tokyo SQ level of sweetness, but perhaps not quite as edgy as you'd like. Still, their level of finesse is impressive. Hmmm.

In any event, it's my opinion that anyone seriously listening to LvB quartets MUST get all the Busch Quartet performances (various labels, incomplete, alas, and all pre-WWII) they can find AND the wartime incomplete set by the Budapest (Sony, two 2-CD sets...note, NOT their later complete set), along with the late quartets of the Hollywood (which you have already). Nobody gets deeper into the music than the first two groups, and few get as pretty as the third. And these would give you pretty much the gamut of performing styles. But remember...just my opinion.
 ;D

Good luck finding your favorite baseline set, Holden!

Dirk
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on January 19, 2011, 01:52:55 AM
For me this is supremely non quaint, non pastoral, non Viennese cafe, non Palm Court,  highly knowing music. Street wise urban music.


streetwise urban music? what a strange thing to say.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: dirkronk on January 19, 2011, 11:01:51 AM
Same goes for a cycle by the Talich, which is lying in a box waiting for me to listen to even the first CD (hey, got it used for a song a couple of months back).

Oh, my. Time for me to up the dosage of my ginkgo biloba. My memory is beginning to slip. It's NOT the Talich...it's the Vegh on Valois who are waiting for me to listen.

Now...what was I doing?
 :-[

Dirk

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on January 19, 2011, 01:54:43 PM
Oh, my. Time for me to up the dosage of my ginkgo biloba. My memory is beginning to slip. It's NOT the Talich...it's the Vegh on Valois who are waiting for me to listen.

Now...what was I doing?
 :-[

Dirk

Dang! If you got the Vegh in waiting, I wonder what you've got in the tray.  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Verena on January 19, 2011, 02:27:03 PM

There are 2 Alban Berg sets appparently - the EMI studio version from about 1985 and a live set recorded 4 years later. Some think the 'live' is an improvement but I can't seem to find it. Any one else have an opinion?

I have listened to the studio version and don't like it at all. I find their interpretation somehow superficial in comparison with my favorites; I miss the "profundity" in the music. I'd be curious to hear their live versions, though. Perhaps I'll buy it one day.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Antoine Marchand on January 19, 2011, 03:22:11 PM

There are 2 Alban Berg sets appparently - the EMI studio version from about 1985 and a live set recorded 4 years later. Some think the 'live' is an improvement but I can't seem to find it. Any one else have an opinion?

I have the live recording with these covers:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51S-u1E8KBL._SS200_.jpg)(http://img.maniadb.com/images/album_t/231/231051_1_f.jpg)

Two 4-CD sets recorded "live" at the Mozart-Saal Konzerthaus, Vienna, VI.1989.

IMO these renditions are quite more impassioned than the studio recordings, a sort of short comeback to the glorious Teldec years. But I am not too much Beethovenian, so -if I were you- I would only consider the objective information.  :D

Here a review (http://www.gramophone.net/Issue/Page/October%201993/64/782076/O+Beethoven+String+Quartets.+Alban+Berg+Quartet+%28Giinter+Pichler,+Gerhard+Schulz,+vns+Thomas+Kakuskat+va+Valentin+Erben,+vc%29.) at Gramophone.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on January 19, 2011, 03:45:40 PM
I have the Alban Berg's live set of the late quartets -both on CD (ie the GROC EMI discs) and the DVD's.

Apart from their Grosse Fuge- which is amazing! - I also find these performances lacking in weight.

They are thrilling performances- very aggressive, sometimes to the degree of over-pointing, and as such it is very refreshing to listen to these recordings, because they really shake it up. Its like listening to the late quartets for the first time again. Cobwebs blown away.

Remarkable ensemble playing too.

However for me they dont make the final cut of first rank sets, because the intellectual and emotional depth just isnt there, particularly in the slow movements. Let me be clear- I'm not one for dripping sentimentalism.

But these works need to transcend. They are rich and strange.

The ABQ dont get beneath the surface, brilliant though their surface is.

here's where I am at the moment on other recordings.

For a complete set the Quartetto Italiano are hard to beat imo. Consistently playing of an exemplary standard, nicely balanced classical restraint but infused with intense feeling (anything but sentimental). Deeply serious in their approach. Never a lapse in taste. Never mawkish. Strong, vibrant performances of exceptional intensity.

Their middle period quartets are still field leaders, the early are very highly regarded and all their late quartets are first rank with the exception of Op 131, which they just dont find a way into imo (Vegh stereo the way to go here).

I'm biased though because I imprinted on QI  ;)

Anyone who loves the late quartets has to experience the Busch, now complete with Op 132 liscenced from Sony and very cheap on EMI GROC (although the 133 is the Busch string ensemble not the quartet). Sublime in a word :)

I find the Juilliard 1960's cerebal, stylish, dark and very interesting. Every phrase has been considered and this set always challenges my view of this music.

Amadeus- sound is dry and a bit thin. They are hit and miss. Havent aged as well as the QI who were perhaps their main rivals for supremacy at the time. However their Op 132! - 1st movt has requisite driven quality, second movement is passionate and yearning, Heiliger Dankgesang  is as much tender and sorrowfull as joyful and very beautifully played, final movement balances lightness and death haunted shade, and is full of well, wisdom. The transfiguration from despair to acceptance at the end of the last movement is handled in an exemplary way.

Their Op 135 is one of the best- their slow movement makes the case for this perhaps being the greatest of Beethoven's quartet adagio's.
 
Hollywood Quartet- I have never heard any quartet play with such ensemble. They play like one mind with 8 arms. Here you really can hear every line also though. Its an remarkable experience to hear.

Their Op 132 is very fine. outer movements beautifully controlled and interior. Heiliger Dankgesang extraordinary tonality, and very profound in the way the tragedy returns towards the end at the acknowlagement that relief is only temporary and death will still come.  Final movement restrained, timeless, deft and full of grace. Very moving. Op 131 is great also.

Budapest Quartet- I only have the library of congress set and so far have only listened to Op 127 which left me "meh" and the Op 132 which blew me away and is the closest thing I have ever heard to a definitive 132- intensley concentrated, penetrating and transfiguring- numinous is the best word I think.

Vermeer- really enjoying their late quartet recordings. Exquisitly played (but not "pretty"), with unique phrasing that makes the listening experience fresh again. Deeply thought interpretations, where often an individual line or phrase will jump out and you go "but of course!"

Medici Quartet- I'm surprised but I really like these. Kinetic, intense, muscular, vibrant performances that constantly surprise on first hearing. Well worth exploring as part of a collection. Shame the 1980's digital sound is a bit glassy.

Talich- these are real slow burners, real dark horses.  Seem like intimate, unassuming performances. Dark in timbre. Seemingly low key, but infact introspective, contained, interior,enigmatic, withheld, mysterious. I just keep coming back to these. Very unique.

Vegh Stereo- Op 131 is one of the finest imo. They know its secrets like no one else.  I'm struggling a bit with their recordings of the other late quartets- a bit flaccid?

Lindsay Quartet 1980's- unfashionable now, but I think these still stand tall. Dark, rough timbre, very grave and serious. They really find the "lateness" in the Op 127- so often it sounds more akin to a middle period work. Their recording really places it firmly of the same DNA as the other late works.

Takacs- beautifully played and recorded but superficial imo.

I have the Yale cycle but dont know what I think of it yet.

The Emerson are fun until you tire of the ultra fast tempi.


Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on January 19, 2011, 09:24:30 PM
Hollywood Quartet- I have never heard any quartet play with such ensemble. They play like one mind with 8 arms. Here you really can hear every line also though. Its an remarkable experience to hear.

If you like impressive ensemble there's another foursome out there that's second to none in that department: the Hagen Quartet. 

Their recordings of the late quartets are as impressive as they come and have become my favorites (their op.18's are just as impressive - I wish they'd record all of them). Impressive as their ensemble is it's their musicality that really impresses. They really know how to make the music sing.

Quote
Takacs- beautifully played and recorded but superficial imo.

I have the Takacs in the Op.18 and find them extremely enjoyable.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on January 20, 2011, 12:45:37 AM
If you like impressive ensemble there's another foursome out there that's second to none in that department: the Hagen Quartet. 

Their recordings of the late quartets are as impressive as they come and have become my favorites (their op.18's are just as impressive - I wish they'd record all of them). Impressive as their ensemble is it's their musicality that really impresses. They really know how to make the music sing.

I have the Takacs in the Op.18 and find them extremely enjoyable.
I like the Takacs (generally) too....but one have no right to own any Beethoven SQ disc before the Busch is aquired.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on January 20, 2011, 08:37:16 AM
Busch in Op 95 certainly.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: dirkronk on January 20, 2011, 10:20:47 AM
Anyone who loves the late quartets has to experience the Busch, now complete with Op 132 liscenced from Sony and very cheap on EMI GROC (although the 133 is the Busch string ensemble not the quartet). Sublime in a word :)

Agree totally. Old fashioned performance style, to be sure, but in the very best sense...and a depth of understanding of the music that's impossible to ignore.

BTW, I assume you meant op.130 as the Sony-licensed performance? (Columbia, later Sony, held the rights to #7 op.59/1 from 1942 and 13 op.130 from 1941.) Or is there a different op.132 performance that I'm unaware of?

Ever since the days of vinyl (yep, still have my copy from then), I've seldom been able to put on that op.130 without sitting mesmerized all the way through the performance...and frequently wishing for an instant replay!

Cheers,

Dirk
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on January 20, 2011, 10:30:19 AM
Agree totally. Old fashioned performance style, to be sure, but in the very best sense...and a depth of understanding of the music that's impossible to ignore.

BTW, I assume you meant op.130 as the Sony-licensed performance? (Columbia, later Sony, held the rights to #7 op.59/1 from 1942 and 13 op.130 from 1941.) Or is there a different op.132 performance that I'm unaware of?

Ever since the days of vinyl (yep, still have my copy from then), I've seldom been able to put on that op.130 without sitting mesmerized all the way through the performance...and frequently wishing for an instant replay!

Cheers,

Dirk

Yup, my bad, its was getting late :)

I meant the 130 indeed.

cheers

David
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on January 20, 2011, 11:08:43 AM
For a complete set the Quartetto Italiano are hard to beat imo. Consistently playing of an exemplary standard, nicely balanced classical restraint but infused with intense feeling (anything but sentimental). Deeply serious in their approach. Never a lapse in taste. Never mawkish. Strong, vibrant performances of exceptional intensity.

Their middle period quartets are still field leaders, the early are very highly regarded and all their late quartets are first rank with the exception of Op 131, which they just dont find a way into imo (Vegh stereo the way to go here).

I'm biased though because I imprinted on QI  ;)


I think you're biased yes. I like the QI's middle quartets, but I find their late quartets generally insufferable in their metaphysical, nagging character. There is a lot of fun and clowning about in the late quartets (cf Diabelli Vrs) but with the QI everything sounds like a holy mass.

This is partly the era, but since we're not part of that era anymore I cannot agree with the above. And it was one my first versions, too.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on January 20, 2011, 11:38:16 AM
I think you're biased yes. I like the QI's middle quartets, but I find their late quartets generally insufferable in their metaphysical, nagging character. There is a lot of fun and clowning about in the late quartets (cf Diabelli Vrs) but with the QI everything sounds like a holy mass.

This is partly the era, but since we're not part of that era anymore I cannot agree with the above. And it was one my first versions, too.

Imprinting is a terrible thing  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on January 23, 2011, 05:28:10 PM
Let's hear it for the Hungarian String Quartet. Has any label released their complete Beethoven on CD yet?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on January 23, 2011, 06:25:06 PM
Let's hear it for the Hungarian String Quartet. Has any label released their complete Beethoven on CD yet?


EMI has reissued the mono cycle several times.  It is quite good.  The manager of the local classical specialist store said that he imported the stereo cycle from Japan a while back, but HMV Japan does not currently seem to list it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on January 23, 2011, 06:50:22 PM
The first movement of Op. 59 #1 played by the Hungarian String Quartet always hits the sweet spot for me.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on January 23, 2011, 06:52:12 PM
I had that, good performances, absolutely execrable sound quality.  I could not justify tryinig to listen to it when there are lots of modern ensembles that play just as convincingly with infinitely superior audio engineering.
Execrable? Are you French?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on January 23, 2011, 08:05:55 PM
Execrable? Are you French?

No, it's OK, it is a perfectly acceptable English word too. It means execrable. Usually it is hyperbole, just like in French.  :D  :D

8)

----------------
Now playing:
BBC Scottish SO / Atherton  Lawrence Power (Viola) - Hindemith WoO Concerto for Viola 'Der Schwanendreher' 2nd mvmt - 'Nun laube, Lindlein, laube'
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on January 23, 2011, 10:30:16 PM
The french for execrable is exécrable.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: karlhenning on January 24, 2011, 05:38:21 AM
Stil waiting for my Vermeer set to land.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on January 24, 2011, 08:56:35 AM
Stil waiting for my Vermeer set to land.
Mek, too--and I was notified that it had shipped more than two weeks ago.  Strange, since mail from the UK usually takes about 3 days.  Perhaps the fellows in customs are ripping their own copies....  ;)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on January 24, 2011, 09:00:00 AM
Mek, too--and I was notified that it had shipped more than two weeks ago.  Strange, since mail from the UK usually takes about 3 days.  Perhaps the fellows in customs are ripping their own copies....  ;)

I've noticed recently that mail from the UK has been taking a lot longer than I'm accustomed to.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: karlhenning on January 24, 2011, 09:01:13 AM
Mek, too--and I was notified that it had shipped more than two weeks ago.  Strange, since mail from the UK usually takes about 3 days.  Perhaps the fellows in customs are ripping their own copies....  ;)

Yes, I got my ORDER DISPATCHED message on 5 January.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on January 24, 2011, 09:03:26 AM
Mek, too--and I was notified that it had shipped more than two weeks ago.  Strange, since mail from the UK usually takes about 3 days.  Perhaps the fellows in customs are ripping their own copies....  ;)

You guys must have missed my note in The Corner vis-a-vis parcels shipped from the UK & Germany. I just received some late last week that were posted on 12/10!  One of the vendors copied me on an email he got from the Royal Mail concerning US Homeland Security hand-checking every single parcel before sending it on. This was due to the toner cartridge crap a few weeks previous. My stuff arrived well, and the tipoff to me was that it was 3 parcels sent at different times from 3 vendors in 2 countries, but they all arrived to me in the same delivery.... :-\

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: karlhenning on January 24, 2011, 09:05:36 AM
Thanks for the word, Gurn! At least, we may look forward to a happy conclusion!

A bit disappointed, though . . . I was really looking forward to immersion this week in the Beethoven quartets. Guess I'd better get back to
Monk ; )
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on January 24, 2011, 09:07:45 AM
Thanks for the word, Gurn! At least, we may look forward to a happy conclusion!

A bit disappointed, though . . . I was really looking forward to immersion this week in the Beethoven quartets. Guess I'd better get back to
Monk ; )

Thelonius, or the cop show?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on January 24, 2011, 09:10:12 AM
One of the vendors copied me on an email he got from the Royal Mail concerning US Homeland Security hand-checking every single parcel before sending it on. This was due to the toner cartridge crap a few weeks previous.

And with 31 reported dead due to a bomb at the international terminal of a Moscow airport, I don't see homeland security getting more easy going anytime soon.   If some lunatic decides to pack a bomb into one of those Brilliant Classics, complete works of Dittersdorf sets we're done for. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: karlhenning on January 24, 2011, 09:10:40 AM
Thelonius, or the cop show?


 
Thelonious.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on January 24, 2011, 09:15:55 AM
And with 31 reported dead due to a b*mb at the international terminal of a Moscow airport, I don't see homeland security getting more easy going anytime soon.   If some lunatic decides to pack a b*mb into one of those Brilliant Classics, complete works of Dittersdorf sets we're done for.
The complete works of Dittersdorf are already a b*mb.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on January 24, 2011, 10:09:23 AM
The complete works of Dittersdorf are already a b*mb.

Which will b*mb us back to the musical stoneage. ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on January 24, 2011, 10:33:17 AM
And with 31 reported dead due to a bomb at the international terminal of a Moscow airport, I don't see homeland security getting more easy going anytime soon.   If some lunatic decides to pack a bomb into one of those Brilliant Classics, complete works of Dittersdorf sets we're done for.

Yes, despite the fact that the attack was of a different nature, I can only think that security everywhere will be tightened even further. If we can't have normal travel and business dealings between countries, does this mean the terrorists have won?

I'm going to listen to some music by Ditters and ponder that question. :)

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brahmsian on January 24, 2011, 10:35:34 AM
The complete works of Dittersdorf are already a b*mb.

 :D

Well, let us remember that one man's stink bomb is another man's potpourri.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on January 24, 2011, 10:54:05 AM
Yes, despite the fact that the attack was of a different nature, I can only think that security everywhere will be tightened even further. If we can't have normal travel and business dealings between countries, does this mean the terrorists have won?
Won a battle, at least, and by virtue of our own idiocy.  We've done far more damage to ourselves by crippling our own travel and transportation industries than Osama bin Laden could have imagined in his wildest wet dreams.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on January 24, 2011, 11:21:18 AM
Won a battle, at least, and by virtue of our own idiocy.  We've done far more damage to ourselves by crippling our own travel and transportation industries than Osama bin Laden could have imagined in his wildest wet dreams.

You've sussed out my thoughts exactly, David. I'd go further and say our economies in general. But I digress, my apologies to the thread starter. :-\  Can't get a damned CD delivered in under 6 weeks, where will it end?  ::)

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on January 24, 2011, 11:32:11 AM
You've sussed out my thoughts exactly, David. I'd go further and say our economies in general. But I digress, my apologies to the thread starter. :-\  Can't get a damned CD delivered in under 6 weeks, where will it end?  ::)

8)
Downloads?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on January 24, 2011, 12:34:31 PM
You've sussed out my thoughts exactly, David. I'd go further and say our economies in general. But I digress, my apologies to the thread starter. :-\  Can't get a damned CD delivered in under 6 weeks, where will it end?  ::)

In my more pessimistic moments I imagine the US becoming a distinctly second rate power by the next generation.  One reason the US has managed to maintain its position of economic leadership is that it is the world leader in scientific and technical innovation.   But the US has cut (in actual buying power, not just in relation to GDP) its support the science and engineering research every year for the last decade.   Scientists have traditionally come to the US to study and have remained here because it has been far easier to find support for research here than anywhere else in the world.  (Attracting and retaining those scientists is critical, of course, because US schools specialize is producing incompetent students with very high self-esteem.)  The trend is reversing, and both newly minted scientists and scientists established here in the US have been returning to their home counties, where they find the climate for doing science more favorable.  If this continues, the Googles, Apples and Microsofts of the future will be in China, Korea or various counties of the European Union, not here.

But, of course, what does that have to do with Beethoven?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on January 26, 2011, 06:26:29 PM
The french for execrable is exécrable.
Here's another one that you might like: deguelasse. It's worse than dégoutant.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on January 26, 2011, 06:39:08 PM
I just discovered this morning what compilation of Beethoven contains all the string quartets performed by the Hungarian Quartet:
http://www.google.ca/#hl=en&source=hp&biw=1009&bih=575 q=EMI+BEETHOVEN+THE+COLLECTOR%27S+EDITION&aq=f&aqi=&aql=&oq=&fp=af35a2ce7494df89

It's somewhere around CD 34, if I remember correctly.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on January 26, 2011, 06:46:56 PM
To Mandryka,
I am presently listening to the Hungarian Quartet play the slow movement of Op. 18 #1. I would upload you the file so you could hear it but I don't know how. It might fit pretty close your criteria of sounding like one of the late quartets.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on January 26, 2011, 06:56:34 PM
I just discovered this morning what compilation of Beethoven contains all the string quartets performed by the Hungarian Quartet:


That set includes the stereo cycle.  The mono cycle is available at Amazon, and it has also been reissued via ArkivMusic.  How to get just the stereo cycle I wonder?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on January 26, 2011, 07:03:07 PM
To Todd,
These recordings are in aiff format, stereo.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on January 26, 2011, 08:44:36 PM
To Todd, These recordings are in aiff format, stereo.



The link produces the Google Canada site for me.  I'm interested in where I can buy just the stereo cycle; if this site allows that, can you post a new link?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on January 27, 2011, 04:42:49 AM


The link produces the Google Canada site for me.  I'm interested in where I can buy just the stereo cycle; if this site allows that, can you post a new link?

This link should work. There's a review as well.

http://www.musicweb-international.com/classrev/2007/apr07/Beethoven_edition_3877392.htm

Sorry it took so long. I went to bed shortly after posting the info. I just woke up a few minutes ago.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on January 27, 2011, 06:09:23 AM
To Que,
The lack of a HIP LvB SQ cycle is frustrating and puzzles me. There are far too litlle HIP SQ's around or they are not recording enough. There is so much available in HIP, but SQ's is still quite of a problem. Haydn is covered, but LvB...

The instruments of the Hungarian Quartet players are:
Z Szekely-Vln Stradivarius (Michelangelo) 1718
M Kuttner-Vln Petrus Guarnerius (Saint Theresa) 1704
D Koromyzay-Viola Michel Decanet (Venice) 1766
G Magyar-Cello Alessandro Gagliano (Naples) 1706

I guess that they aren't HIP, are they?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on January 27, 2011, 07:58:33 AM
To Mandryka,
I am presently listening to the Hungarian Quartet play the slow movement of Op. 18 #1. I would upload you the file so you could hear it but I don't know how. It might fit pretty close your criteria of sounding like one of the late quartets.

If you now how to rip the file to your computer, then www.mediafire.com is an easy way to upload. You can PM me for help if you need or want any.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on January 27, 2011, 11:15:57 AM
I managed to find the Hungarian Quartet's 1966 recording on demonoid so I downloaded the Op 18s.

I've listened only to the adagio of 18/1 -- I'd say it sounds like a very good mainstream performance -- it does sound a bit like the Heiliger Dankgesang though
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on January 28, 2011, 07:20:25 PM
If you know how to rip the file to your computer, then www.mediafire.com is an easy way to upload. You can PM me for help if you need or want any.
What do you want? The whole shebang?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: RJR on January 28, 2011, 07:25:29 PM
I managed to find the Hungarian Quartet's 1966 recording on demonoid so I downloaded the Op 18s.

I've listened only to the adagio of 18/1 -- I'd say it sounds like a very good mainstream performance -- it does sound a bit like the Heiliger Dankgesang though
I was surprised at how much it reminded me of the spirit of his late quartets. I haven't listened to this set for many years, especially the Op. 18s. I spent more time on Op 59 through to Op 135. I'm going to revisit the Op 18s again soon.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on January 29, 2011, 04:34:57 AM
What do you want? The whole shebang?

I don't want anything. I was just trying to help you out.  :-\
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on January 31, 2011, 03:50:59 AM
Agree totally. Old fashioned performance style, to be sure, but in the very best sense...and a depth of understanding of the music that's impossible to ignore.

BTW, I assume you meant op.130 as the Sony-licensed performance? (Columbia, later Sony, held the rights to #7 op.59/1 from 1942 and 13 op.130 from 1941.) Or is there a different op.132 performance that I'm unaware of?

Ever since the days of vinyl (yep, still have my copy from then), I've seldom been able to put on that op.130 without sitting mesmerized all the way through the performance...and frequently wishing for an instant replay!



Anyone who loves the late quartets has to experience the Busch, now complete with Op 132 liscenced from Sony and very cheap on EMI GROC (although the 133 is the Busch string ensemble not the quartet). Sublime in a word :)



In any event, it's my opinion that anyone seriously listening to LvB quartets MUST get all the Busch Quartet performances

Dirk


I like the way they go for the tunes -- but for me I sometimes want a bit more drama and a bit more clarity. In the Op 130 which Dirk likes so much,   Juilliard's live recording suits me a bit more  because it's exciting -- there's a sense of a great live concert. And I like the Hagens'  transparency (the voices treated more equally), and the way they  highlight  what they think are key moments.

The last thing I want to do is knock the Busch's. I like them and I'm keeping my CDs. And I think it's true that anyone interested in this music on record should try to hear what they do.

BTW, the Hagens have really rekindled my interest in this music recently.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on January 31, 2011, 04:58:36 AM




I feel slighted:

I like the Takacs (generally) too....but one have no right to own any Beethoven SQ disc before the Busch is aquired.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on January 31, 2011, 05:21:44 AM
I like the Takacs (generally) too....but one have no right to own any Beethoven SQ disc before the Busch is aquired.

Right. That does it. I'm getting some glasses.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: dirkronk on January 31, 2011, 09:53:04 AM
The last thing I want to do is knock the Busch's. I like them and I'm keeping my CDs. And I think it's true that anyone interested in this music on record should try to hear what they do.

I long ago gave up the silly notion that one group would suffice in Beethoven's quartets. Can't happen. Once you're truly captivated by the music, you want to experience a complete range of its expression...but after that, let's face it, your very personal preferences will come into play. And these days, there's probably a different group out there to match each individual's "druthers."

Still, I think that everyone can benefit from a basic background in how great artists of the past approached these pieces, even if they opt not to purchase the old guys for their own personal archive. This is why, whenever the topic arises on boards like this, I'm forever urging people to hear my own "holy trinity" of groups: the prewar Busch, the wartime Budapest, and the early 1950s Hollywood. Follow these, in this order, and they pretty much allow you to track the evolution of performing style. The Busch Qt. delivers amazing depth of understanding along with blatant portamento and other remnants of old-fashioned style. The Budapest in their live wartime performances show similar depth with intonation and style already foreshadowing more modern quartet playing. And the Hollywood, while arguably not quite at the same depth as the other two groups, offer such dead-on intonation and beauty of ensemble that they carve their own little niche and set a high bar for subsequent performing quartets. Of course, not one of these groups gives us a complete set of the quartets (sorry, but IMO the later Budapest full cycle wasn't on the same interpretive level as their live wartime numbers), so everyone's on their own in finding a personal fave.

As I've hinted often enough, I'm still looking for mine. And yes, Mandryka, among others, I have been listening to the Hagen as they gradually put their interps out there for us. You're right, they're well worth a listen...but I guess they haven't yet wowed me to the same extent as you. We'll see if that changes when I go back and listen a few more times.

Cheers,

Dirk
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on January 31, 2011, 11:48:29 AM
Yes, dirk, Sarge told me awhile ago that he believed everyone should have at least one from each category:

1. Historical - Busch, Budapest, etc
2. Beautiful/great sound - Italiano, etc
3. Modern - Julliard, etc

Works for me. :)
 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Florestan on January 31, 2011, 01:41:48 PM
Yes, dirk, Sarge told me awhile ago that he believed everyone should have at least one from each category:

1. Historical - Busch, Budapest, etc
2. Beautiful/great sound - Italiano, etc
3. Modern - Julliard, etc

Works for me. :)
 

Now, it's all those etc's I'm interested in...  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on January 31, 2011, 02:27:53 PM
Yes, dirk, Sarge told me awhile ago that he believed everyone should have at least one from each category:

1. Historical - Busch, Budapest, etc
2. Beautiful/great sound - Italiano, etc
3. Modern - Julliard, etc


If the Juilliard--any of their cycles--is "Modern", then that says less about the Juilliard Quartet and more about which war Sarge is actually a veteran of.
In unrelated news: Sarge has recently expressed fascination with these new fangled breech-loading arms.  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on January 31, 2011, 02:40:41 PM
If the Juilliard--any of their cycles--is "Modern", then that says less about the Juilliard Quartet and more about which war Sarge is actually a veteran of.

Next to the Italiano, the 1964-1970 Julliard set sure sounds modern to me.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on February 01, 2011, 08:34:54 AM
Listened to Op 130 again last night and this morning . I listened to Busch and Hagen.. I was struck by the enormity of it, at least in the Hagens' conception The extreme intensity 1, the rhythms of 3, the apotheosis of dance in 4, the sadness of 5. And then the big fugue.

It's like that comment about Mahler 3 containing all the world -- or whatever he said.

The Andante con moto struck me as very special music this time round. And what imagination and courage it must have taken, to have included the Alla danza tedesca -- sandwiched between the complexity of the scherzo and complexity of the cavatina and the fugue.

What do you guys think of the GF ending? Busch do the revised ending and I thought that was a real shame. It seems right in the context of such big and complex music to end on a disorienting and forward looking note.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brahmsian on February 01, 2011, 08:50:23 AM

What do you guys think of the GF ending? Busch do the revised ending and I thought that was a real shame. It seems right in the context of such big and complex music to end on a disorienting and forward looking note.

I prefer the Gross Fugue ending, but I also prefer the Gross Fugue on its own.  I think Op.130 would be even greater if it just ended with the Cavatina.  ;D  The revised ending of Op.130 is by far my least favorite movement of all in LVB's quartets.  It is repetitive and uninteresting.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sergeant Rock on February 01, 2011, 09:21:25 AM
The revised ending of Op.130 is by far my least favorite movement of all in LVB's quartets.  It is repetitive...

Well, it is a Rondo...got to expect some repetition, Nut  ;D

I do like it. In fact I prefer op.130 played with the revised ending: a true Classical-era Finale. After the Cavatina the work needs something lighter to achieve that Classical-era balance (and even though it's a late work I still consider it an example of the Classical style). I enjoy the Grosse Fuge more when I hear it played as a stand-alone piece. I think the Hagen version is tremendous.

Sarge
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brahmsian on February 01, 2011, 09:23:28 AM
Well, it is a Rondo...got to expect some repetition, Nut  ;D

I do like it. In fact I prefer the quartet played with the revised ending: a true Classical-era Finale. After the Cavatina the work needs something lighter to achieve that Classical-era balance (and even though it's a late work

Sarge

Well, I guess I like very bleak endings.  (See Tchaikovsky and Mahler 6th)   ;D :D 8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on February 01, 2011, 09:43:32 AM
I prefer the Gross Fugue ending, but I also prefer the Gross Fugue on its own.  I think Op.130 would be even greater if it just ended with the Cavatina.  ;D  The revised ending of Op.130 is by far my least favorite movement of all in LVB's quartets.  It is repetitive and uninteresting.

I strongly prefer the revised ending, which I find a delight and an appropriate close to the piece (plus, it would be orphaned if dissociated from the quartet).  Probably it is best for a quartet to record both and allow the listener to program them as they prefer.  But I feel the Grosse fugue stands best on its own, and I think it may work better when performed by a string orchestra.  I just wish Beethoven had done the same with his ninth symphony, written an instrumental finale and split off the choral finale as an independent cantata, as some suggest he had planned to do.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Opus106 on February 01, 2011, 09:48:02 AM
I think [the Grosse Fuge] may work better when performed by a string orchestra.  I just wish Beethoven had done the same with his ninth symphony, written an instrumental finale and split off the choral finale as an independent cantata, as some suggest he had planned to do.

Then he wouldn't have been Beethoven. (That's Beethoven with an emboldened B.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on February 01, 2011, 10:02:51 AM
Next to the Italiano, the 1964-1970 Julliard set sure sounds modern to me.

The Julliard and the Italiano are the same generation, and the Juilliard's classic set was recorded earlier than the Italiano.

I'd say they belong in the same box, together with all the other string quartets that came from WWII (Amadeus is another one).

I say this too, because if the Juilliard's 1965-1975 recording is "modern" where does that leave recordings from the 1980s and later: ABQ and then the next generation: Prazak and Petersen?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scarpia on February 01, 2011, 10:10:15 AM
Then he wouldn't have been Beethoven. (That's Beethoven with an emboldened B.)

Was Beethoven's idea (according to Czerny) although he never followed though on it, though he lived a few years after that.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on February 09, 2011, 03:22:42 PM
Mek, too--and I was notified that it had shipped more than two weeks ago.  Strange, since mail from the UK usually takes about 3 days.  Perhaps the fellows in customs are ripping their own copies....  ;)
Finally received the Vermeer set from MDT, more than a month after it shipped via air mail.  Strange.  Box arrived intact, obviously undisturbed since posting.  Now listening to op. 59:1.  Big sound--full and a bit dark--broad tempos but sharp, not soporific.  Might prove a nice alternative to the cycles I already have.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on February 11, 2011, 04:33:04 AM
Yesterday I listened to Op. 18, Nos. 1-4 as performed by the Quartetto Italiano. Sounded as lovely as ever. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: snyprrr on February 11, 2011, 06:30:24 AM
Just listened to 59/3 by the Suske.

I haaave to bring them back into the conversation. I know Herman wasn't bowled over by the Late SQs, but for the Early & Middle SQs (especially the Early,... and.... Middle!) one might really want to consider this group (I don't know if the low prices still apply).

I think they nail 59/1-2 much better than the Vermeer (too caffeinated for me), and the group on the cheap Sony discs (Budapest?). Sure, the sound isn't DDD, but, I like the smell of the air in their recordings.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on February 11, 2011, 11:16:56 AM
Just listened to 59/3 by the Suske.  I think they nail 59/1-2 much better than the Vermeer (too caffeinated for me)
Wow.  If the Vermeer's "too caffeinated" then the Suske must be dirge-like!  (And the Emersons must make you feel like a tweaker scrubbing the sidewalk with a toothbrush!)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Lethevich on February 11, 2011, 11:33:19 AM
I strongly prefer the revised ending, which I find a delight and an appropriate close to the piece (plus, it would be orphaned if dissociated from the quartet).  Probably it is best for a quartet to record both and allow the listener to program them as they prefer.  But I feel the Grosse fugue stands best on its own, and I think it may work better when performed by a string orchestra.  I just wish Beethoven had done the same with his ninth symphony, written an instrumental finale and split off the choral finale as an independent cantata, as some suggest he had planned to do.

I am a bit late, but I feel that there's much to be gained for considering the revised finale followed by the Fugue as a fine way to envisage the whole piece - the fugue as some crazy expressionist postlude, but none the less really handy to hear at the same time as the revised quartet rather than seperately or either/or.

I love recordings that include the pieces in that order. It makes no sense for the fugue to come first, as it renders the very fine revised finale impotent in impact.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Clever Hans on July 21, 2011, 04:34:43 AM
To revive, what is your favorite set of the late quartets and why, specifically regarding string tone and restraint or lack thereof? Do you find some interpretations too indulgent, ruminative, romantic, or too polished, extrovert?

Some oft-cited examples:

Végh, Talich, Busch, Budapest (CBS masterworks), Alban Berg (live), Smetana (analog), Takács.

I can't make up my mind.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on July 21, 2011, 04:53:41 AM
To revive, what is your favorite set of the late quartets and why, specifically regarding string tone and restraint or lack thereof? Do you find some interpretations too indulgent, ruminative, romantic, or too polished, extrovert?

Some oft-cited examples:

Végh, Talich, Busch, Budapest (CBS masterworks), Alban Berg (live), Smetana (analog), Takács.

I can't make up my mind.

Nor can I. It's nice that we don't have to choose.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 21, 2011, 07:36:03 AM
To revive, what is your favorite set of the late quartets and why, specifically regarding string tone and restraint or lack thereof? Do you find some interpretations too indulgent, ruminative, romantic, or too polished, extrovert?

Some oft-cited examples:

Végh, Talich, Busch, Budapest (CBS masterworks), Alban Berg (live), Smetana (analog), Takács.

I can't make up my mind.

For me it's an easy choice: Hagen.

Not that I don't like Vegh, Hollywood, Yale, which I also have. But hands down, Hagen.

As for why, well, the Hagen have a talent for probing any music they play more deeply than any other quartet I've heard. Beethoven is no exception. There's this feeling you get that they've meticuosly gone over every inch of the score (whatever score) so that nothing will be a surprise to them come playing time. This gives them the liberty to open up and dig into the musical line with a buoyancy and freshness that's quite ear-opening. And not to overlook their talent for whipping up loads of color! Again, tops in my book.

What else to say? They're just the most fun to listen to than any other quartet I know.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on July 21, 2011, 07:55:19 AM
*ensutes Hagen QT gets onto his radar* :)

Lemme guess - OOP?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on July 21, 2011, 08:04:10 AM
As for why, well, the Hagen have a talent for probing any music they play more deeply than any other quartet I've heard.

Their Mozart sounded loud, vulgar.  I would hate to see what they do with Beethoven. :-X

Clever Hans, your list is my list.  I suppose my favorite on there is the Smetana Quartet. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 21, 2011, 08:28:08 AM
Their Mozart sounded loud, vulgar.  I would hate to see what they do with Beethoven. :-X

Well, when you actually HEAR the recordings in question then come back and give an informed opinion, Dave. >:D :'(

Otherwise, step off....

As to the Hagen's Mozart, well, I OWN their disc of K.499, 589, & 590......whataya know, not a "vulgar" sound anywhere....   


Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 21, 2011, 08:31:09 AM
Lemme guess - OOP?

What else? ;D

I spent months tracking down the individual discs. Well worth it, though.


Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on July 21, 2011, 08:34:52 AM
You were describing the Hagen Q as excelling in everything they touch, not just Beethoven, I was responding to that and thus don't need to "step off".  The exaggerated dynamics on the Mozart recordings are vulgar.  I think that set is for people who don't like Mozart.  It makes for a good first impression, but it is subtlety that is rewarding in the long run.  Drama is more enduring than melodrama.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on July 21, 2011, 09:17:25 AM
You were describing the Hagen Q as excelling in everything they touch, not just Beethoven, I was responding to that and thus don't need to "step off".  The exaggerated dynamics on the Mozart recordings are vulgar.  I think that set is for people who don't like Mozart.  It makes for a good first impression, but it is subtlety that is rewarding in the long run.  Drama is more enduring than melodrama.

Oh but I play the disc with  K387 and K421 quite often and I really enjoy it. 

So either it's dramatic (not melodramatic) or melodrama is enduring or I don't like Mozart.

I tend to agree with DD about Hagens' Beethoven. One think I love about them is their ensemble playing: at their best I feel they are really listening to each other, reacting to other, playing as a team. I like the fact that they are iconoclastic, which I find stimulating. I like the way they think things through from scratch. In some sonatas -- the two recorded op 18s and  Op 135 -- they are probably my favourites by far.

And you know the style in Mozart is perhaps not inappropriate. He was a great writer of operas, and David Cairns has argued that an operatic sensibility is central to some of his non theatrical work
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 21, 2011, 09:22:05 AM
You were describing the Hagen Q as excelling in everything they touch, not just Beethoven, I was responding to that and thus don't need to "step off".  The exaggerated dynamics on the Mozart recordings are vulgar.  I think that set is for people who don't like Mozart.  It makes for a good first impression, but it is subtlety that is rewarding in the long run.  Drama is more enduring than melodrama.

YES I described the Hagens as excelling in a wide range of repertoire because I OWN MANY HAGEN DISCS!!!!

The late Beethoven included.

You on the other hand have nothing of substance to add here except to extrapolate some inherent dislike of their Mozart and apply it across the board to everything the Hagen's have touched!!!

That's not valid "opinion". That's not valid anything. That's kindergarden.

Of course I AM guilty of making a blanket statement regarding the Hagens in a wide range of repertoire but there's nothing wrong with that. Gushing happens sometimes on GMG. Sue me. But I'm comfortable making blanket statements like that because I OWN many Hagen discs!

How many Hagen discs do you own??!?? 

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 21, 2011, 09:25:17 AM
Oh but I play the disc with  K387 and K421 quite often and I really enjoy it. 

So either it's dramatic (not melodramatic) or melodrama is enduring or I don't like Mozart.

Yes, refinement is another adjective I forgot to apply to the Hagens. They don't HAVE to exaggerate. The music is in their bones.


Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on July 21, 2011, 09:27:01 AM
Those who wish to hear for themselves, can do so here - Op. 135, live by the Hagens from only two years ago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW3o8hXy7QU

I only wish that the sound were better.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on July 21, 2011, 09:28:00 AM
So either it's dramatic (not melodramatic) or melodrama is enduring or I don't like Mozart.

I think from other posts that you like Mozart, but you prefer two flavors of performance: melodramatic and excessively romanticized.  Hagen Q falls into the former category.

Don, please calm down. :D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on July 21, 2011, 09:34:43 AM
I think from other posts that you like Mozart, but you prefer two flavors of performance: melodramatic and excessively romanticized.  Hagen Q falls into the former category.

Don, please calm down. :D

You were describing the Hagen Q as excelling in everything they touch, not just Beethoven, I was responding to that and thus don't need to "step off".  The exaggerated dynamics on the Mozart recordings are vulgar.  I think that set is for people who don't like Mozart.  It makes for a good first impression, but it is subtlety that is rewarding in the long run.  Drama is more enduring than melodrama.

You mean I'm vulgar?  >:D  >:D  >:D  >:D  >:D  >:D  >:D >:D  >:D  >:D  >:D  >:D  >:D  >:D  >:D  >:D >:D  >:D  >:D  >:D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on July 21, 2011, 09:40:15 AM
Don, please calm down. :D

My problem is your tendency to inflate your "opinion" when it isn't grounded in anything. What you're engaging in is little more than a smear job.

Of course, it doesn't help that you're stomping on one of my absolute favorite ensembles. ;) But you really need to become familiar with their ideology before slighting them out of hand.

What the Hagen's are all about is summed up nicely in Mandryka's description:


One think I love about them is their ensemble playing: at their best I feel they are really listening to each other, reacting to other, playing as a team. I like the fact that they are iconoclastic, which I find stimulating. I like the way they think things through from scratch.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Leon on July 21, 2011, 09:58:38 AM
Those who wish to hear for themselves, can do so here - Op. 135, live by the Hagens from only two years ago:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW3o8hXy7QU

I only wish that the sound were better.

Yes, too bad the sound is not good, and the clip is so short - but the playing was very good.  I have no recordings of the Hagen Quartet, but judging from this short, badly recorded clip, it would be well worth investing in some of their work.

 :)

 :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Drasko on July 21, 2011, 10:11:32 AM
Hagens released three DVDs relatively recently, and of course some of it made it to youtube, in better or worse audio video quality. I've picked two decent sounding ones, so everyone can judge for themselves, and base their whatever argument is on actual examples.

Mozart SQ No.14 K.387

http://www.youtube.com/v/JzKWbffbmiI
http://www.youtube.com/v/KNilUIV4oJ0
http://www.youtube.com/v/_NWcWajWNDg

Ravel SQ

http://www.youtube.com/v/ehQMe57TPPM
http://www.youtube.com/v/ZhN0RRlLhDg
http://www.youtube.com/v/dVURtE9kmbA
http://www.youtube.com/v/f7loz_Y5iOo
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on July 21, 2011, 02:17:51 PM
I have one Mozart disc by the Hagen Q and can't find any fault with it, although I wouldn't call it my favorite. 

However that's not what I want to post about.

A simple question: does anyone have an opinion, good bad or indifferent, about the Medici Quartet's Beethoven cycle?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on January 18, 2012, 08:36:51 PM
For the past two days I have been listening to No. 4, Op. 18, No. 4.  Why?  I just simply chose one off the shelf and decided to get into it a bit....random fun.

Really cool opening.  Almost a haunting start, but not at all what I expected.  However, once spinning I was locked.  It truly opens up in the 4th movement and has a feel of an earlier master.   Anyone else enjoy this one or any of the other 18's?  I know there are a lot of "late" fans here, but this Op. 18 run is a favorite of mine.  Here are the two recordings that I have been listening to:

This first recording seems to have a deper feel, with a run time of 25:01:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/517JJ6X7HFL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


The second recording was surprisingly faster....in that I thought Vegh were considered one of the more slower paced ensmbles for these beauties.  Timed at 23:08.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51R4BjiBCAL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: ccar on January 22, 2012, 11:31:04 AM
For the past two days I have been listening to No. 4, Op. 18, No. 4.  Why?  I just simply chose one off the shelf and decided to get into it a bit....random fun.
Really cool opening.  Almost a haunting start, but not at all what I expected.  However, once spinning I was locked.  It truly opens up in the 4th movement and has a feel of an earlier master.   Anyone else enjoy this one or any of the other 18's?  I know there are a lot of "late" fans here, but this Op. 18 run is a favorite of mine. 

The Op.18 No.4 is also one of my favorites. There is still some sort of a Mozartian feel – where the sorrow is mixed with humor and gaiety.

The initial theme of the No.4 is most beautiful and the first movement is highly emotional and dramatic. For me it’s like a personal exhortation, where the sadness of the opening gives the way to a renewed sense of energy, determination and even hope. And, in a way, I feel it is this positive attitude that seems to be developed through the other movements.

After the declamatory intensity of the first movement the repeated modulations of the second movement - Andante scherzoso - seem like a contrasting diversion, an exercise of counterpoint and abstract creation. But in the end of the movement there is again an emotional phrase, as if reminding the theme of the first movement.

The beginning of the third movement, Menuetto, recalls the first bars of the previous Andante scherzoso but  it grows into a more worldly development, first in a more restrained Allegretto and then ‘più allegro’, like a joyful evocation of life.

And the final movement, Allegro, is like a luminous statement of energy and confidence. The drive and the intense dialogue of the instruments are the most powerful contrast with the theme of the first movement – sorrow is transformed into commitment, passion and belief.

Naturally, there are many beautiful recordings to choose from. In the last days I tried a listening exercise of the Op18 No4 with the Budapest (1941, 1951, 1958), the Vegh (1952, 1973), the Pascal (1952), the Barylli (1952),  the Hungarian (1953, 1965), the Julliard (1968), the Beethoven (1970), the Italiano (1975) the Smetana (1976), the Talich (1981) and the Turner (1994). For me the most interesting is that (fortunately) they are all quite different from each other – even the ones who recorded the work more than once. So I just tend to choose the reading that goes into my own personal sensibility – or, maybe, my mood at the time. And it is exactly these differences that help me to get the most of each piece.

                                                                             
                                                                       http://www.youtube.com/v/bee_dNtWhco&feature=related
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Robert on January 22, 2012, 11:51:02 AM
The Op.18 No.4 is also one of my favorites. There is still some sort of a Mozartian feel – where the sorrow is mixed with humor and gaiety.

The initial theme of the No.4 is most beautiful and the first movement is highly emotional and dramatic. For me it’s like a personal exhortation, where the sadness of the opening gives the way to a renewed sense of energy, determination and even hope. And, in a way, I feel it is this positive attitude that seems to be developed through the other movements.

After the declamatory intensity of the first movement the repeated modulations of the second movement - Andante scherzoso - seem like a contrasting diversion, an exercise of counterpoint and abstract creation. But in the end of the movement there is again an emotional phrase, as if reminding the theme of the first movement.

The beginning of the third movement, Menuetto, recalls the first bars of the previous Andante scherzoso but  it grows into a more worldly development, first in a more restrained Allegretto and then ‘più allegro’, like a joyful evocation of life.

And the final movement, Allegro, is like a luminous statement of energy and confidence. The drive and the intense dialogue of the instruments are the most powerful contrast with the theme of the first movement – sorrow is transformed into commitment, passion and belief.

Naturally, there are many beautiful recordings to choose from. In the last days I tried a listening exercise of the Op18 No4 with the Budapest (1941, 1951, 1958), the Vegh (1952, 1973), the Pascal (1952), the Barylli (1952),  the Hungarian (1953, 1965), the Julliard (1968), the Beethoven (1970), the Italiano (1975) the Smetana (1976), the Talich (1981) and the Turner (1994). For me the most interesting is that (fortunately) they are all quite different from each other – even the ones who recorded the work more than once. So I just tend to choose the reading that goes into my own personal sensibility – or, maybe, my mood at the time. And it is exactly these differences that help me to get the most of each piece.

                                                                             
                                                                       http://www.youtube.com/v/bee_dNtWhco&feature=related
[/quote
pssst.....You forgot the TOKYO   :o
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Lethevich on January 25, 2012, 09:01:11 PM
Strangely, I couldn't find a thread. There was one in beginners and one in the general sub-forums, but no recordings thread. If there is, merge away! Apologies for not opening the thread with more content, but I'm not well-versed with these works.

Anyway: does anyone have any views on the New Budapest Quartet/Hyperion?

Also, since the Artemis cycle has been boxed, I am looking towards this too, but outside of a few of the more recent issues, it is hard to find much discussion on the recordings.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on January 26, 2012, 06:45:05 AM
I didn't know that the Artemis cycle had been finished.  I've watched as much as I could find of their Beethoven on youtube I really like their passionate playing.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 26, 2012, 07:00:53 AM
Hmm, not sure on just which thread a bunch of us were pounding the table for the Vermeer Quartet set, which for a while could be had for a song.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on January 26, 2012, 07:56:58 AM
Oh for a second I thought you were talking about Gewandhaus! :D

I think we're in different Beethoven SQ cliques Karl. ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SonicMan46 on January 26, 2012, 09:59:42 AM
Sara - I also remember contributing to a thread on these works, so some searching brought up THIS ONE (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,2166.560.html) - out to 29 pages w/ a recent post this month - Dave  :D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Lethevich on January 27, 2012, 06:18:16 AM
I didn't know that the Artemis cycle had been finished.  I've watched as much as I could find of their Beethoven on youtube I really like their passionate playing.

As it's EMI, the price is probably going to end up catastrophically low too :) Atm, for once, it isn't (but still good value).


There is one surreal review on Amazon UK which gives it three stars with the title "incomplete". The reason? They don't record the alternate finale for Op.133. It's not like they left they bloody thing unfinished ???
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Lethevich on February 24, 2012, 12:55:35 PM
Has anyone heard the Barylli Quartet on Westminster? It must be one of the earlier complete recordings - I don't know why, as I've read nothing about them, but it's intriguing me. The recordings seem mysterious in some way :P
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on March 01, 2012, 09:26:33 AM
(* sound of crickets *)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: North Star on March 01, 2012, 09:56:59 AM
As it's EMI, the price is probably going to end up catastrophically low too :) Atm, for once, it isn't (but still good value).


There is one surreal review on Amazon UK which gives it three stars with the title "incomplete". The reason? They don't record the alternate finale for Op.133. It's not like they left they bloody thing unfinished ???

Pffft!
Next someone will complain about leaving the Andante favori out of a recording of the piano sonatas.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Scion7 on March 01, 2012, 04:38:14 PM
                click to expand
(http://s17.postimage.org/gkph6sglb/Beethoven_Late_Qts_Guarneri_Qt_1969.jpg)

Their FIRST run at them ~1969 - I don't like the 2nd recording they did.
I found this at a huge record shop in Myrtle Beach, SC, in 1975 and grabbed it for maybe $10??
The surfaces from RCA Red Seal here were excellent.  The sound (at least on vinyl) is gorgeous.  Very intimate.

This one is available on CD but I have not heard the CD remaster - heard it was good?   http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-String-Quartets-Ludwig-van/dp/B000003F11

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lUSuno4fL._SS500_.jpg)


The Vivace of Op.135 is one of my faves.    :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on March 01, 2012, 05:53:26 PM
         

This one is available on CD but I have not heard the CD remaster - heard it was good?   http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-String-Quartets-Ludwig-van/dp/B000003F11

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lUSuno4fL._SS500_.jpg)


I've seen this at Barnes and Noble.  I didn't get it because it splits at least one of the quartets up between 2 CDs--splitting up works unnecessarily is a particular bete noire of mine--and I have the Brilliant issue of their later recording,  which--to tell the truth--I find to be first rate.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Leo K. on March 02, 2012, 02:26:35 PM
                click to expand
(http://s17.postimage.org/gkph6sglb/Beethoven_Late_Qts_Guarneri_Qt_1969.jpg)

Their FIRST run at them ~1969 - I don't like the 2nd recording they did.
I found this at a huge record shop in Myrtle Beach, SC, in 1975 and grabbed it for maybe $10??
The surfaces from RCA Red Seal here were excellent.  The sound (at least on vinyl) is gorgeous.  Very intimate.

This one is available on CD but I have not heard the CD remaster - heard it was good?   http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-String-Quartets-Ludwig-van/dp/B000003F11

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51lUSuno4fL._SS500_.jpg)


The Vivace of Op.135 is one of my faves.    :)

I found this last year in the used bin, the CD set, and have not heard this yet, but will perhaps take it off the shelf soon to have a listen. Been waiting for the Beethoven Quartet mood to come back  ;D

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on March 02, 2012, 03:40:13 PM
I've seen this at Barnes and Noble.  I didn't get it because it splits at least one of the quartets up between 2 CDs--splitting up works unnecessarily is a particular bete noire of mine--and I have the Brilliant issue of their later recording,  which--to tell the truth--I find to be first rate.

I have the Brilliant ones, too (ex Philips, nut now also on Decca's European Eloquence series), but prefer this one, among the two:

(http://1.2.3.10/bmi/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51yq0MK22nL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
LvB
SQ4ts
Guarneri I
RCA (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00011MK6U/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguide-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B00011MK6U)

Something more... burnished, linear, purposeful about it, if I had to clad it into vague words.

(http://1.2.3.11/bmi/ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/516xshi9Y-L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
LvB
SQ4ts
Guarneri II
exPhilips (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000O78KR4/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&tag=goodmusicguide-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000O78KR4)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kentel on March 03, 2012, 12:38:26 PM
The Mosaiques Quartet's rendering is the best I've heard so far, as far as the op.18 is concerned (they havn't recorded the others yet) :

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vc1wFV5XL._SL500_AA280_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41LNevcfdLL._SL500_AA280_.jpg) (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41wwY52hgiL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Neat, accurate, no tremblotto, no affectation: very rare qualities. If they could record the others, I would have my dream series of LvB's String Quartets.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Lilas Pastia on July 25, 2012, 03:48:52 PM
  The Hungarian Quartet is also legendary, but mono.

No it's not. 1965 stereo, and very decent sounding.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Fafner on July 25, 2012, 04:39:32 PM
No it's not. 1965 stereo, and very decent sounding.

This they record them twice?  This set says Mono, 1953. 



(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rchTZVqZL.jpg)

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 25, 2012, 05:44:35 PM
This they record them twice?  This set says Mono, 1953. 



(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rchTZVqZL.jpg)

Ah, nostalgia! My first LvB quartet cycle!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on July 25, 2012, 11:10:37 PM
We are straying far from the Piano Sonatas now (Edit: thought I was in the sonatas thread........ >:( ), but the Hungarian Quartet (as well as early Juillard) is artists were I would really like to see some big boxes. I would be all over them if that happened. I haven't heard their Beethoven, but their Bartok is still in some ways reference for me.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Que on July 25, 2012, 11:36:12 PM
(Edit: thought I was in the sonatas thread........ >:( )

You were... ;D

Q
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on July 25, 2012, 11:38:38 PM
Suspected as much......
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: mjwal on July 26, 2012, 05:05:53 AM
Quote from: Brahmsian on January 24, 2011, 10:35:34 AM

    :D

    Well, let us remember that one man's stink bomb is another man's potpourri.


I just came across this when reading the thread backwards: very funny. - Keeping that in mind, and pointing out that I have none of my Beethoven quartet CDs here, I'm going to say that I like the Barylli - mentioned above - very much in Op.74, which I downloaded and have on my hard disc. They have enormous richness, power & acerbity combined. I do not find their playing "mysterious", though, Lethevich.The old recording bothers me not at all. I then listened to the Belcea live in the first movement of Op.74, which I also downloaded, and found them rather too constrained, lacking in real verve or power, let alone any of the otherworldly aspects of B. Then I listened to the Pascal Quartet in the same movement - and was gripped and awed by the sheer strangeness/mystery of the music, something that the Hagen - I agree with Mandryka on this - sometimes find in late B (I only know their Opp.95,127, 130 & 132 - Op.131 seems to have become almost a rarity already judging by the price I saw on Amazon). The end of the development and the coda are particularly stunning in this respect - I had the feeling that it has to go like this. One difference from the Barylli is that they more often use a ghostly or biting vibratoless tone; the Barylli are more Viennese, if I may put it thus. I have also had that feeling of rightness with the Hungarian Qt (1953) in the late quartets but cannot specify now, not being in a position to play them at present. I have also enjoyed the Juilliard (60s), the Vegh (70s?) and Talich, but cannot make any specific comments on them for the same reason. I have not heard the Takacs, Artemis et autres Lindsays. To come back to the Pascal QT: they are all free in very decent transcriptions on the Internet Archive, very much worth checking out. I hesitate to say that you should download them all now, but remembering that Japanese site Public Domain Classic with hundreds of classic mono recordings (30s- early 50s) which disappeared overnight a few months ago, I wouldn't bet on anything being available forever...
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Lilas Pastia on July 28, 2012, 01:06:25 PM
This they record them twice?  This set says Mono, 1953. 



(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51rchTZVqZL.jpg)

Fafner, where are you now :'(.

 Yes, they recorded it twice, in 1953 and over a few years in the sixties ( the latter in stereo), both times in Paris.

What's in a name? String quartets have a way of morphing into a different ensemble as personnel changes. Only two of the 1953 members remained when they gave the LvB quartets another go. If you look up Classicstotay reviews you'll find an interesting comparison between the two sets. It pretty well sums up the qualities I find in this one. All the more reason to sample that wonderful EMI box !
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on October 21, 2012, 12:55:31 AM
Now this is back:



Superb performances, ridiculous price (26 Euros on amazon.fr).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: petrarch on October 21, 2012, 02:32:33 PM
New cycle in the making:



I am a Berg and Takács admirer, but my curiosity is piqued. It seems the recordings are all from their recent year-long series of concerts.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on October 21, 2012, 03:04:51 PM
New cycle in the making:





Most intriguing.  I think I shall have to investigate.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: xochitl on October 21, 2012, 03:09:50 PM
anyone like the kodaly quartet?  their recording of op 130 [especially the grosse fuge] is probably my favorite
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Reverend Bong on November 13, 2012, 02:34:28 PM
Well I've just read right through this thread and I'm sorry I wasn't around when it was busy. It has prompted me to dig out the late quartets, assuming I would have all the main ones under discussion, but no!  I really thought I had enough of these since I've got them performed by all of the following quartets:

Busch
Budapest
Alban Berg
Yale
Lener
Lindsay
Vanbrugh
Italian
Janacek
Amadeus
Smetana
Vlach
Koeckert
Griller
Collegium Aureum
Hungarian (stereo)
Fine Arts

You'd think that would do, you really would, but I haven't got the Vegh Quartet and since it's clear that 9 out of 10 forum members think they are as hot as their pants, I have to buy some more!  Dammit!  Well it's going to have to be one out one in like a nightclub, that's all I can say.  There's going to have to be a big listening session to find the weakest link.




Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Dancing Divertimentian on November 13, 2012, 02:52:46 PM
You'd think that would do, you really would, but I haven't got the Vegh Quartet and since it's clear that 9 out of 10 forum members think they are as hot as their pants, I have to buy some more!  Dammit!  Well it's going to have to be one out one in like a nightclub, that's all I can say.  There's going to have to be a big listening session to find the weakest link.

Vegh = automatic. There's also the Hagen for even more "great lates" (mostly out of print, however).



Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Reverend Bong on November 14, 2012, 02:21:19 AM
Does anyone know how to pronounce 'Vegh'?  Is the 'gh' silent? gutteral?  I assume they aren't 'vague'
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Rinaldo on November 14, 2012, 04:52:18 AM
Does anyone know how to pronounce 'Vegh'?  Is the 'gh' silent? gutteral?  I assume they aren't 'vague'

Check out Sándor Végh on this list (http://www.pronunciationguide.info/thebiglist.html#Hungarian).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Reverend Bong on November 14, 2012, 07:08:58 AM
Check out Sándor Végh on this list (http://www.pronunciationguide.info/thebiglist.html#Hungarian).
'Vague' it is, then.  Thank you for that, what an amazingly useful use of the internet.  I'm pleased to find I was right about everyone listed there that I was uncertain of, other than Ligeti, poor man, I've always wrongly put the stress on the second syllable, and he's one of my favourite composers.

Cleared up my lingering uncertainty about Milhaud too.  What is it with the French abandoning their consonants?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on November 14, 2012, 07:22:32 AM

Cleared up my lingering uncertainty about Milhaud too.  What is it with the French abandoning their consonants?
Sacrificed in the interest of fluidity (or flow). Beatiful, but occasionally difficult to comprehend.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: North Star on November 14, 2012, 07:31:28 AM
Check out Sándor Végh on this list (http://www.pronunciationguide.info/thebiglist.html#Hungarian).
Who the heck is Essa-Pekka Salonen...  8) That kind of typo doesn't exactly reflect well on the site.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on November 14, 2012, 07:11:10 PM
Sacrificed in the interest of fluidity (or flow). Beatiful, but difficult to comprehend.

FTFY.


Thread duty: now listening to the Endellions playing Razumovsky No. 3 and the Harp Quartet.  So far this set is proving very well done, although I didn't hear them burn rubber in Razumovsky 3 like Brian said they would.  (It was good--don't get me wrong--I'm just not sure what led him to describe their playing that way.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on November 14, 2012, 07:53:23 PM
Thread duty: now listening to the Endellions playing Razumovsky No. 3 and the Harp Quartet.  So far this set is proving very well done, although I didn't hear them burn rubber in Razumovsky 3 like Brian said they would.  (It was good--don't get me wrong--I'm just not sure what led him to describe their playing that way.)

Start of the recap in the finale. I was a little vexed as, immediately after I posted that, they played the coda without haste and therefore made my comment relevant to only about 90 seconds  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: xochitl on November 14, 2012, 08:20:41 PM
endellion is quickly becoming my favorite overall
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on November 14, 2012, 08:42:04 PM
Start of the recap in the finale. I was a little vexed as, immediately after I posted that, they played the coda without haste and therefore made my comment relevant to only about 90 seconds  ;D

Oh, that 90 seconds!  Yes, you're right about that.

Anyway, so far a very good take (I listened to two CDs tonight, and have three to go.)

Tonight is turning out to be a Ludwig-thon.  First those string quartets, and now Glenn Gould playing two sets of bagatelles and Sonata 24.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Reverend Bong on November 15, 2012, 03:51:55 AM
Well, the Vicarage was filled with the sound of strings (and bottles of stout) until gone midnight last night.  The overall impressions were, first, as with the Violin Concerto, how extraordinarily diverse different interpretations are, and second, what a lot of really good performances of the late quartets are available.  However there are definite losers, quite a few are on the sale pile this morning.

A few notes if anyone's interested:

The Koeckert, a very ancient heavy Heliodor LP labelled 'transcription' and therefore presumably a fairly straight copy from 78s, really sounded like 78s, very old and not with any particular quality to make up for the thinness of sound and surface noise.  Lovely red and gold Heliodor label was its only merit really.  Given the passion and intensity of the Busch recordings, any other clearly historical disc would have to be pretty astounding to be worth keeping.  The Griller went the same way, a fine unboxed Decca LP but nothing there that would make me seek out a clean modern version of this.  If I want historical mono, Adolf Busch is head and shoulders and waistcoat clear of the competition.

The Italians are lovely, really beautiful - the tone, the intonation, the recording - simply gorgeous - even to the extent that at times, perish the thought, I began to wonder if it was almost too elegant and lovely for its own good, perhaps something of the intensity of feeling that others show is lacking at times?  But an absolute must-have, and I see it was the recipient of one of the rare rosettes in my bible, the old Penguin guide.  This set made a good reference.

The Amadeus Quartet.  Oh dear.  I don't know what it is about Brainin and co, but my attention just wanders off as soon as they start.  Something is missing - they don't seem to get it.  Kept coming back to these in puzzlement, one of them was awarded the Deutscher Schallplattenpreis, but the soul of the music seems to be missing. They're on their way out, perhaps some Japanese collector will be seduced by the tulips on the DGG label.

People here may be interested in the only PI recording in the collection, Collegium Aureum.  This is on Harmonia Mundi and as you'd expect an exemplary recording, performed on Stradivariiiii. It was recorded in the Library of Congress, which seems an odd location - in fact it was a condition of the gift of the instruments that they never leave the building.  I don't know what kind of room was used but there doesn't seem to be any kind of ambience at all.  The tone of the instruments is lovely as you'd expect, but they seem to exist in a kind of void.  This is a relatively minor point, the recording is great in all other respects.  More seriously undermining it to me is that the players seem to lack passion.  They play as though it was the day job, or as if they were afraid of breaking the instruments, which is probably precisely the case.  The drama and fire that several, well, many other quartets evoke are simply not there at all.  LP for sale if any PIer here wants it.  Good thing I don't work in sales...

The Smetana Quartet - in sharpest possible contrast to Collegium Boreium, and more closely miked - play with thrilling drama.  Their emotional commitment had us on the edge of our seat.  Every disc of the Smetana we had was genuinely exciting to listen to.  These are my current favourite.  There is MEANING in their late quartets.

Finally, the surprise discovery of the night, never listened to before, the Yale Quartet.  These were bought from a bargain $1 box under the counter in a Toronto record store years ago, and obviously this is my own ignorance, but I had never heard of them or the record label (Vanguard's Cardinal series).  Half a dozen notes is all it took and they jumped the rankings to stand with the Italians, the Smetana, the Alban Berg Quartet.  Brilliant performances, extremely well recorded. These are now sitting by the record player for serious listening.  I shall hold off on detailed discussion until I've compared them closely with the rest of the top rank, but the very first impression was of a slightly more intellectual approach than the sheer emotional force of the Smetana and the gilded beauty of the Italians.  I look forward to coming to know these better.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on November 15, 2012, 03:53:51 AM
So the Koeckert was "Murder at the Vicarage"?

The Yale BTW are outstanding (I've owned it since LP days); the Italians I feel simply are too civilized for Beethoven (though superbly suited for Mozart).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Reverend Bong on November 15, 2012, 03:58:15 AM
the Italians I feel simply are too civilized for Beethoven (though superbly suited for Mozart).

'Mozartian' is in fact the adjective we were using about them last night, you're spot-on. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on November 15, 2012, 05:42:45 PM
The Italianos in the Late Quartets were among my very first CD purchases, and probably my first recording of anyone's chamber music.  To be perfectly honest,  I deeply enjoy their approach because it plays down the emotions--I would want to say it's an objective performance, except that no musical performance can be truly objective. 

BTW, Reverend,  that's a very nice wallpaper you've added to the Vicarage listening room....
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Reverend Bong on November 19, 2012, 03:49:35 AM
Has anyone heard the first volume of the Belcea Quartet cycle, just announced in Presto's latest email?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on November 19, 2012, 05:38:49 AM
Has anyone heard the first volume of the Belcea Quartet cycle, just announced in Presto's latest email?

It's due for release soon; you can check Presto's website proper for 60-second clips of every track. I think Todd might have ordered a copy already.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Reverend Bong on November 19, 2012, 07:07:48 AM
It's due for release soon; you can check Presto's website proper for 60-second clips of every track.

Oops sorry, jumping the gun.  I'm still catching up, I just won a set of the Veghs on eBay but the seller has asked double the postage from what it was listed at so we are in dispute at present.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: stingo on November 19, 2012, 06:52:09 PM
NPR had a story about Belcea performing Beethoven at Carnegie Hall and there's an hour or so mp3 on their Classical music podcast feed.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: petrarch on November 22, 2012, 02:33:28 PM
New cycle in the making:



I am a Berg and Takács admirer, but my curiosity is piqued. It seems the recordings are all from their recent year-long series of concerts.

Preview:

http://www.youtube.com/v/4aYOZb8T3cE
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on November 25, 2012, 05:25:50 AM
Agree the Yale set is a treasure.

Re the Quartetto Italiano, I have never found them to lack emotion in late Beethoven- rather that the emotional intensity is expressed through their exceptional rigor and seriousness, something that I find gives these mysterious works an appropriately remote quality in that you have to go to them.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Reverend Bong on November 26, 2012, 03:25:17 PM
Another evening of late quartettage because the Vegh have arrived.  Very very nice indeed, what a smooth and effortless presentation, and what unity of sound and purpose.  Slow, but absolutely riveting, and a truly beautiful tone.  They are certainly up in the Vicarage pantheon now (ho ho) along with Busch, Smetana, Yale, Vanbrugh and Italian.

Also in the naughty corner are the Alban Berg, I don't know if the digital transfer fixes the problem, I would think it's in the recording, but the Teldec DMM LPs are really ruined for me by the echoey acoustics. Plus they don't seem to be getting to the depths.  Disappointing. 

I'm surprised there has been no mention from anyone else of the Vanbrugh Quartet, one of my few DDD sets.  I'd need to do some more careful listening before offering a comparative description in any detail, but they are undoubtedly up with some of the greats.  Do they have any other fans or am out on a limb with this set?  Another question:  I only have the Hungarian Quartet's later, stereo cycle, but I see there are many fans of the 1950s mono on the forum: it tends to be specifically mentioned by many posters.  Is it very different from the stereo?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on November 26, 2012, 04:47:15 PM
Another evening of late quartettage because the Vegh have arrived.  Very very nice indeed, what a smooth and effortless presentation, and what unity of sound and purpose.  Slow, but absolutely riveting, and a truly beautiful tone.  They are certainly up in the Vicarage pantheon now (ho ho) along with Busch, Smetana, Yale, Vanbrugh and Italian.

Stereo or mono?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Reverend Bong on November 27, 2012, 02:05:25 AM
Stereo or mono?
1974 stereo on Telefunken. I only listened to Op.s 130 and 131 last night, I'm looking forward to the rest.  I know pretty much everyone here is digital, but these are exemplary records if there is anyone else who cares.  Does anyone else here listen to vinyl?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on November 27, 2012, 05:21:23 AM
The 52 Vegh mono is a fine set imo.

Despite a slightly boomy bottom end on the recording, the CD transfers are pretty good (but the original Lps may be better in this regard?)

The op 132 is magnificent.

Overall imo this set has all the qualities that rightly make their 1970s set so well regarded, but is tauter.

Well worth getting.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51dS20xMx0L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on November 27, 2012, 05:27:27 AM
Re: Vegh Mono - holy cow!! Look at these prices!!!

http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-Quartets-Society-Recordings/dp/B00005NG65/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1354022803&sr=8-2&keywords=Vegh+Beethoven
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 27, 2012, 05:33:26 AM
Hey, maybe there's someone will actually pay that, d'you think?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on November 27, 2012, 05:50:29 AM
Vegh mono doesnt usually cost that much  :o

I think its just a case of amazon market place scalpers putting the price up whilst Amazon is out of stock.

I hope it isnt oop
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 27, 2012, 05:54:38 AM
I hope it isnt oop

Well, sure. But what if it were?  Beethoven's legacy is secure, even without that particular recording.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on November 27, 2012, 08:47:29 AM
Well, sure. But what if it were?  Beethoven's legacy is secure, even without that particular recording.

 ::)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: petrarch on November 27, 2012, 10:12:08 AM
Well, sure. But what if it were?  Beethoven's legacy is secure, even without that particular recording.

It wouldn't be about Beethoven, but about the particular recording. Sometimes specific pressings command a substantial price, since they may have better sound than others.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on November 27, 2012, 10:28:40 AM
Tell me, in Op 130, do you think it works with the Big Fugue at the end? The reason I ask is that I've been playing an early Juilliard Quartet recording (1963, LP only AFAIK)  with the revised finale and I really like it like that -- it seems to balance so much better. You don't have this enormous monster stuck on the end of all the good humoured parody and comedy you find in the previous five movements.

Anyway, if you like the Big Fugue, which records seem to make the best job using it, not just in terms of playing the fugue, but in terms of making the whole quartet work as a single coherent entity with the fugue?

And anyway  do I have the best view of the previous five movements? Or is a heavier, more serious approach better at making sense of the thing with the fugue at the end?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on November 29, 2012, 07:56:07 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ROnZnOSDL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)


Finished my first listen.  Superbly clean, pretty close sound, with extremely wide dynamic range.  Ms Belcea's violin sounds edgy at times, but playing throughout is superb, with oodles of fine detail, including fine delineation between first and second violin.  Op 95 is a scorcher.  127 pops.  The Op 18 works are quite fine, though the slow movements can be a bit too serious.  59/3 also seems a bit too heavy at times, and 131 is not the last word in depth.  Don't get me wrong, the set is excellent, and I will get the second volume, it just doesn't challenge the Vegh, Budapest, or Prazak recordings in my collection.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: petrarch on November 29, 2012, 11:51:41 AM
(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51ROnZnOSDL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

Finished my first listen.  Superbly clean, pretty close sound, with extremely wide dynamic range.  Ms Belcea's violin sounds edgy at times, but playing throughout is superb, with oodles of fine detail, including fine delineation between first and second violin.  Op 95 is a scorcher.  127 pops.  The Op 18 works are quite fine, though the slow movements can be a bit too serious.  59/3 also seems a bit too heavy at times, and 131 is not the last word in depth.  Don't get me wrong, the set is excellent, and I will get the second volume, it just doesn't challenge the Vegh, Budapest, or Prazak recordings in my collection.

Thanks for the report. I didn't have a chance to explore it in more depth, but your positive review nails it for me. I will be picking this up in the next few days.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Reverend Bong on November 30, 2012, 03:08:56 AM
Most discussion of the Vegh seems to be about the mono, I just wanted to add another word about the stereo Telefunken set after listening to Op 127 last night.  These are really special recordings, quite unlike the others in my collection and certainly in the very top rank.  I mentioned the perfect unanimity of purpose before, this strikes me constantly, at almost every phrase.  It's as though a single mind is playing all 4 parts.  The perfectly matched tones of the instruments contributes, but I can't help thinking this could only have been recorded by people who'd been playing together for a long long time.  There is also a gentleness to the playing, that complements the very beautiful tone, and combines with the slow tempi to bring out an inner beauty in the quartets that others have not revealed to me.  They seem to glow from within.  I'm reminded of Schneiderhan who alone of violinists seems to have found the perfect serenity hiding in the violin concerto.  I must do a very close comparison with the Italian Quartet, there is something similar here, but it's not clear to me yet.  These are matters of great subtlety.  I feel as though an extremely important message in an alien tongue had been presented to me and I could almost, not quite, understand it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on November 30, 2012, 03:33:41 AM
Most discussion of the Vegh seems to be about the mono, I just wanted to add another word about the stereo Telefunken set after listening to Op 127 last night.  These are really special recordings, quite unlike the others in my collection and certainly in the very top rank.  I mentioned the perfect unanimity of purpose before, this strikes me constantly, at almost every phrase.  It's as though a single mind is playing all 4 parts.  The perfectly matched tones of the instruments contributes, but I can't help thinking this could only have been recorded by people who'd been playing together for a long long time.  There is also a gentleness to the playing, that complements the very beautiful tone, and combines with the slow tempi to bring out an inner beauty in the quartets that others have not revealed to me.  They seem to glow from within.  I'm reminded of Schneiderhan who alone of violinists seems to have found the perfect serenity hiding in the violin concerto.  I must do a very close comparison with the Italian Quartet, there is something similar here, but it's not clear to me yet.  These are matters of great subtlety.  I feel as though an extremely important message in an alien tongue had been presented to me and I could almost, not quite, understand it.

I really get your comment about it seeming as though a single mind playing all four parts.

That is exactly what has always impressed me about the Hollywood Quartet's great recordings, and I found myself thinking about their performances in exactly the same terms as you have described here.

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41XEQ7KVV5L._SL500_AA300_.jpg)

you might enjoy these
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: mszczuj on November 30, 2012, 05:03:41 AM
It's as though a single mind is playing all 4 parts. 

This is exactly the way I don't want Beethoven to be played.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Reverend Bong on November 30, 2012, 08:45:14 AM
I really get your comment about it seeming as though a single mind playing all four parts.

That is exactly what has always impressed me about the Hollywood Quartet's great recordings, and I found myself thinking about their performances in exactly the same terms as you have described here.

you might enjoy these

yes, i noted your comments about the Hollywood earlier in the thread with interest.  I've got them on my ever-growing shopping list, in the hope that I can find them for a reasonable price, but they're fairly steep at the moment.  You seemed to have quite a collection, as I recall.  How do you feel about the Juilliard, not just in regard to the late quartets but the earlier ones as well?  I've been considering a box set of them that I've seen.  I have a lot of recordings of the late, and hardly any middle, and I think no early quartets at all, shockingly.  I narrowly missed a box set of the Italians doing them all this morning.  In general, who would you recommend for early and middle?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on November 30, 2012, 08:53:41 AM
This is exactly the way I don't want Beethoven to be played.

Thank you. Or any other composer for that matter. It may sound like an impressive feat; hell, it may BE an impressive feat, but the conversational aspect which is the heart and soul of quartet playing goes wanting when there is no one going his own way. :)

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Reverend Bong on November 30, 2012, 01:14:01 PM
Thank you. Or any other composer for that matter. It may sound like an impressive feat; hell, it may BE an impressive feat, but the conversational aspect which is the heart and soul of quartet playing goes wanting when there is no one going his own way.
Yes, you're both right of course, and there are plenty of recordings that exhibit that conversational, even adversarial, quality, but there is something compelling about this unanimity. I think this is the very thing that gives it a strange message-like quality. Rather than an exchange among themselves, the four parts are all speaking with one voice to the listener, but what it is they are saying is something hard to penetrate.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Reverend Bong on November 30, 2012, 01:20:23 PM
Tell me, in Op 130, do you think it works with the Big Fugue at the end? The reason I ask is that I've been playing an early Juilliard Quartet recording (1963, LP only AFAIK)  with the revised finale and I really like it like that -- it seems to balance so much better. You don't have this enormous monster stuck on the end of all the good humoured parody and comedy you find in the previous five movements.

Anyway, if you like the Big Fugue, which records seem to make the best job using it, not just in terms of playing the fugue, but in terms of making the whole quartet work as a single coherent entity with the fugue?

And anyway  do I have the best view of the previous five movements? Or is a heavier, more serious approach better at making sense of the thing with the fugue at the end?

This is a good question and I'm not ignoring it, I have to have an opportunity to listen to the entire thing in both forms and weigh it up before I can answer.  I have always regarded the GF as a separate beast, but the Vegh have it in its original place and I need to think about it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on November 30, 2012, 10:54:29 PM
This is a good question and I'm not ignoring it, I have to have an opportunity to listen to the entire thing in both forms and weigh it up before I can answer.  I have always regarded the GF as a separate beast, but the Vegh have it in its original place and I need to think about it.

I think the Tokyo Quartet's RCA  record of op 130 is particularly successful from the point of view of the transition from the cavetina to the Grosse Fugue. They do an excellent job of making the whole quartet cohere as a single entity in fact.

Re parody in op 130, my own view now is that this may be a question of interpretation. Juilliard 1963 make the moment at the heart of the cavetina, where the music changes rhythm, into an operatic parody. Tokyo, in the second recording on Harmonia Mundi, make the slower qieter music after the big  double fugue in he Grosse Fugue sound like an operatic quartet (I may be pushing things a bit there ;))

I think both Tokyo records of Op 130 are very interesting, for different reasons.

One thing I've learned from my little exploration of this quartet is that you should play the fugue very differently if you are playing it as part of the quartet.  The transition that the Hagen make into the Fugue is in IMO ludicrous, but their performance of op 133 as a stand alone piece is fantastic. And I'm not sure you would want to hear the Tokyo's RCA op 133 apart from their op 130. Also if you have it as the quartet's final movement, that may well change how you see the previous five movements.

Are tnere any modern ensembles who show a clear preference for the rondo finale? I know Busch did, and I think the Budapest Quartet did too. Juilliard seem to have changed their minds, i have a live record of them playing the quartet which ends with the big fugue. What about more recent performances: have they all plumped for the op 133 ending?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on December 01, 2012, 03:54:22 AM
yes, i noted your comments about the Hollywood earlier in the thread with interest.  I've got them on my ever-growing shopping list, in the hope that I can find them for a reasonable price, but they're fairly steep at the moment.  You seemed to have quite a collection, as I recall.  How do you feel about the Juilliard, not just in regard to the late quartets but the earlier ones as well?  I've been considering a box set of them that I've seen.  I have a lot of recordings of the late, and hardly any middle, and I think no early quartets at all, shockingly.  I narrowly missed a box set of the Italians doing them all this morning.  In general, who would you recommend for early and middle?

Morning Reverend,

imo most sets by reputable quartets have merit, because the music can bear such different interpretation.

The Julliard set to get is this one:

(http://i43.tower.com/images/mm106146406/beethoven-complete-string-quartets-julliard-quartet-cd-cover-art.jpg)

Its scintilating.



I'm not overly fond of early or middle period Beethoven, so tend not to listen to the discs from that period in the complete box sets.

I grew up with the Italiano, so they are my reference point for the early and middle period works.

I believe many people still regard the QI to be one of the leading interpreters for the early works and still strong in the middle works.

I have certainly always found their middle period set to be more than enough for me.

You can't go wrong with the Quartetto Italiano complete SQ box set imo.

Can often be found for quite a modest price on CD.

I still have my beloved complete LP set, which I saved up for as a kid   :D

(http://ring.cdandlp.com/chapoultepek69/photo_grande/114956419.jpg)

The original LP's are much better sounding than the first CD remastering done in the late 1980s.

fwiw I still prefer the LPs to the remastered QI re-issues done in the last 10 years, which are only available as three boxes covering the three periods. The complete QI CD box is the original remasters.

So you might want to look out for another complete LP box.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 02, 2012, 07:20:21 AM
The Hollywood Quartet play op 130 with the rondo.

Emotionally, metaphysically, this is a very deep performance: they find moments where  time stands still, moments of extraordinary emotional openness, which elude the others I've played recently: Juilliard, Tokyo 1 and 2, Peterson, Busch, Smetana 1, Hungarian 1954, Prazak, Hagen on DG and live in 2011. Balances are more interesting too, with more egality, less domination by the violins. The bass-up sonority is nice  in the slow music near the end of the cavetina.

There's not much humour, even in the dance, and it's inclined to reverential, and hence the dance is IMO a weak link in the reading. I suppose the Hollywood's version is as one sided in its way as the Juilliard 1963, just that Juilliard stressed the opposite aspect of the music.

The rondo is strange. While the music has been solemn previosly, they are light and dancing and jocular in the final movement. It's like Beethoven is saying fuck you  to the people who didn't clap the big fugue.

It's an extremely moving and provoking performance despite the strange ending. Even though I normally hate reverential holy mystical Beethoven, I'll be keeping it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: San Antone on December 02, 2012, 07:29:12 AM
I grew up with the Italiano, so they are my reference point for the early and middle period works.

I believe many people still regard the QI to be one of the leading interpreters for the early works and still strong in the middle works.

I have certainly always found their middle period set to be more than enough for me.

You can't go wrong with the Quartetto Italiano complete SQ box set imo.

Can often be found for quite a modest price on CD.

I still have my beloved complete LP set, which I saved up for as a kid   :D

(http://ring.cdandlp.com/chapoultepek69/photo_grande/114956419.jpg)

The original LP's are much better sounding than the first CD remastering done in the late 1980s.

fwiw I still prefer the LPs to the remastered QI re-issues done in the last 10 years, which are only available as three boxes covering the three periods. The complete QI CD box is the original remasters.

So you might want to look out for another complete LP box.

I have that set of LPs and trasnferred them to CD but will keep the vinyl too.   I agree, they are great performances.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on December 05, 2012, 02:00:11 PM
I have long wished to hear the 1950s mono Hungarian Quartet, but the oop box set is very expensive and hard to find.

However for anyone who may be interested these are now available on itunes.

The label is not EMI but an obscure French label whom I have never heard of called Ellon.

At first I was'nt sure if it was the 50s mono set or the 60s stereo- however having bought some of the volumes, I can confirm that it is the mono set. Sound quality is very good.

(http://a1.mzstatic.com/us/r1000/005/Music/51/2a/ca/mzi.awkgqajt.170x170-75.jpg)

I'm really enjoying the performances- very very intense readings.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on December 05, 2012, 08:21:34 PM
I have long wished to hear the 1950s mono Hungarian Quartet, but the oop box set is very expensive and hard to find.

However for anyone who may be interested these are now available on itunes.

The label is not EMI but an obscure French label whom I have never heard of called Ellon.

At first I was'nt sure if it was the 50s mono set or the 60s stereo- however having bought some of the volumes, I can confirm that it is the mono set. Sound quality is very good.

(http://a1.mzstatic.com/us/r1000/005/Music/51/2a/ca/mzi.awkgqajt.170x170-75.jpg)

I'm really enjoying the performances- very very intense readings.

How does the mono compare to the stereo recordings?  I have the stereo performances as part of a larger set from EMI France, of which I have yet to listen to a note.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on December 06, 2012, 12:47:03 AM
^ I have not heard the stereo recordings, (which is something I intend to rectify on the strength of these mono recordings)   :)

At times the Hungarian mono reminds me of the Alban Berg quartet's second cycle- brisk tempos and playing of great intensity, even sometimes of the Emmerson's  :o, but  I think the Hungarians readings are more profound.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on December 06, 2012, 07:30:29 PM
I have it as part of this set, which Andre/Lilas Pastia motivated me to buy.
Mind you I haven't actually played it yet--embarking on a fifty CD box is challenging, given how high my listening pile remains.  I got it for less than the Amazon price by ordering from Berkshire Record Outlet, so apparently it's the sort of set which can be had for less if you look hard enough.  (Andre did the looking for me, I must add.)


The Amazon UK reviews will give you a good idea of what else in that set, and also just how cheap the packaging is.  One thing not mentioned is that the piano trios are performed by the Hungarian Trio.  Are they any sort of ramification of the Hungarian Quartet?
Since it's drawn mostly from the archives of EMI/EMI France, the tracklisting is completely in French, btw.

I don't know what other incarnations the HQ stereo cycle is available in
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on December 07, 2012, 05:14:17 AM
^ thank you for sharing the tip- I will hunt it down  :)
Title: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Shmonk on January 05, 2013, 04:52:07 AM
Hi folks. I recently discovered this forum as a source of knowledge and passion. Opinions here have encouraged me to purchase a copy of the Vegh Quartet's 1970s recordings. Unfortunately, it appears they are no longer available on disc.  However, I did find them as an MP3 download here:

http://www.classicsonline.com/catalogue/product.aspx?pid=852202 (http://www.classicsonline.com/catalogue/product.aspx?pid=852202)

I would normally not download a lossy format. The site says their MP3s are 320 kbps.

Can anyone confirm the sound quality of these particular downloads?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on January 05, 2013, 11:39:26 AM
Hi folks. I recently discovered this forum as a source of knowledge and passion. Opinions here have encouraged me to purchase a copy of the Vegh Quartet's 1970s recordings. Unfortunately, it appears they are no longer available on disc.  However, I did find them as an MP3 download here:

http://www.classicsonline.com/catalogue/product.aspx?pid=852202 (http://www.classicsonline.com/catalogue/product.aspx?pid=852202)

I would normally not download a lossy format. The site says their MP3s are 320 kbps.

Can anyone confirm the sound quality of these particular downloads?

No, but that price is fucking outrageous! I'd never pay it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: stingo on January 05, 2013, 12:02:08 PM
iTunes has an Essential Beethoven Quartets set (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/string-quartet-no.-16-in-f/id460363674?i=460364205&ign-mpt=uo%3D4) for $4.99. No idea which performances they are, but they seem to feature the Vegh quartet.
Title: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Shmonk on January 05, 2013, 02:45:13 PM
No, but that price is fucking outrageous! I'd never pay it.

Yep, they are not cheap. The price equates to about $10 per disc for the set. That's top dollar for me, especially for a download and a lossy one at that. Without an alternative and better quality source for these recordings, I am considering them. MP3 is not ideal but at a high bit rate can sound indistinguishable from the original, providing it hasn't gone through a number compression processes. I'm not keen to pay top dollar without some assurance that they sound ok.
Title: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Shmonk on January 05, 2013, 03:05:07 PM
iTunes has an Essential Beethoven Quartets set (https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/string-quartet-no.-16-in-f/id460363674?i=460364205&amp;ign-mpt=uo%3D4) for $4.99. No idea which performances they are, but they seem to feature the Vegh quartet.

This set on iTunes appears to be the 1952 version. If they are of a decent bitrate and sound quality, then this would be a pretty economical way to buy that set.  Any idea of the file quality compared to the CD?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: stateworker on January 27, 2013, 06:06:23 PM
Has anyone heard the Barylli Quartet on Westminster? It must be one of the earlier complete recordings - I don't know why, as I've read nothing about them, but it's intriguing me. The recordings seem mysterious in some way :P

I agree! just came across them and started with the late works. Had to hit the Great Fugue right off, rash as it may be. Beautiful, well considered and intense. Something like a more focused Italian quartet reading. They were sometime Wiener Phil members, after all.

I will delve into their cycle this week, which will make for wonderful counterpoint to the deadening manual labor it will oversee.

Does anyone else have thoughts on the Barylli Quartet's Beethoven?

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on February 10, 2013, 10:55:10 AM
I just discovered the Op 130 here on spotify:

(http://www.arbiterrecords.com/photos/buschquartet.jpg)

I haven't got the booklet. I assume it's later than the CBS record (ie later than 1941)-- can someone help?

It's interesting. They play the rondo. They take it slower than the studio  -- 9,04 as opposed to 8, 27. But they also take it less lightly --the music in the rondo is more serious and intense and complex sounding than I would have expected in the outer sections especially. I think it's a pretty deep interpretation and it makes a pretty good case for the rondo.

What we have, I suppose, is a record of the strength of the ensemble's commitment to the op 130 finale, and, if the live is later, a record of how their understanding of the music deepened.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: ccar on February 10, 2013, 05:34:24 PM
I just discovered the Op 130 here on spotify:

(http://www.arbiterrecords.com/photos/buschquartet.jpg)

I haven't got the booklet. I assume it's later than the CBS record (ie later than 1941)-- can someone help?


Yes - a 1951 live concert at the Ludwigsburg Palace (near Stuttgart). At the time the Busch Quartet still included the brothers Adolph and Hermann but Gosta Andreasson and Karl Doctor had been replaced by Bruno Straumann (violin) and Hugo Gottesmann (viola).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on April 12, 2013, 09:55:24 AM
Aren't there a lot of Suske Quartet fans? Cuz reissue:

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/brilliantclassics94672.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: San Antone on April 12, 2013, 10:10:13 AM
Aren't there a lot of Suske Quartet fans? Cuz reissue:

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/brilliantclassics94672.jpg)

Yes.  The complete set in one place.  Spotify!

As are the Busch Late Quartets.

 :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on April 12, 2013, 10:11:06 AM
Aren't there a lot of Suske Quartet fans? Cuz reissue:

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/brilliantclassics94672.jpg)

Wouldn't the fans already have it?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on April 12, 2013, 10:26:16 AM
Wouldn't the fans already have it?
Yeah, but I don't.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: yeongil on April 20, 2013, 07:17:07 AM
Is anyone familiar with the Melos Quartett Stuttgart playing the Late Quartets on some cheapie label?

Did they record the Late SQs for DG? or is this some 70s recording that has been repackaged?

It's very cheap!
I know that this was an old question, but I didn't see anyone answer it in this thread.

The Melos Quartet recorded the Beethoven cycle twice.  The first was for Intercord, in the 60's on LP, and the second was for DGG, in the 80's.  What snyprrr probably found was a re-release of the Intercord recordings on CD.  Here's one from Op. 18 Nos. 1 & 2: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000005A8B/ (http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000005A8B/) .  This cycle wasn't very good -- of course, the Melos recorded it only a few years after they were established.

I don't think Intercord re-released all of the cycle on CD -- I've looked.  Now why would I be looking when I said that it wasn't good?  Sentimental reasons.  The Melos' 1st cycle was the first ever cycle I listened to.  I currently have the Melos' cycle on DGG, so it would be an interesting comparison.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Geo Dude on May 03, 2013, 12:12:15 PM
I'm looking for a cycle--or individual middle and late quartets if necessary--with a 'modern' playing style; in other words some vibrato is fine but I'd prefer that it not be used constantly.  Any suggestions?

Also, how is the Talich recording, sound aside?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on May 03, 2013, 12:29:28 PM
I'm looking for a cycle--or individual middle and late quartets if necessary--with a 'modern' playing style; in other words some vibrato is fine but I'd prefer that it not be used constantly.  Any suggestions?

Juilliard (unfortunately OOP)

http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-String-Quartets-Box/dp/B00006OA6A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367616468&sr=8-1&keywords=juilliard+beethoven
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on May 03, 2013, 12:32:07 PM
I'm looking for a cycle--or individual middle and late quartets if necessary--with a 'modern' playing style; in other words some vibrato is fine but I'd prefer that it not be used constantly.  Any suggestions?
You might want to dabble in the bold, even brazen Artemis Quartet; they certainly dust off the music, but play without coarseness. Here are some sample clips (http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-String-Quartets-18-2-59-3/dp/B0036O0EN0). (The complete box is available.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gordo on May 03, 2013, 12:32:16 PM
Yeah, but I don't.

Neither do I and no doubt I'll buy it.

BTW, has somebody listened to the Belcea Quartet (ZZ Territoires)?  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on May 03, 2013, 12:34:24 PM
I'm looking for a cycle--or individual middle and late quartets if necessary--with a 'modern' playing style; in other words some vibrato is fine but I'd prefer that it not be used constantly.  Any suggestions?

Also, how is the Talich recording, sound aside?

Takács, no question.
Opus 18 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SWNHK/goodmusicguide-20)
Middle Quartets (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000063WRQ/goodmusicguide-20)
Late Quartets (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SWNHK/goodmusicguide-20)

...except they're a bit a pain to collect, not being boxed or available on re-releases. Never got any love from Decca... the quartet even financed the making of these recordings, unbelievable though that seems, given their quality and how it should have been a feather in Decca's cap.

Then also Prazak, which offers a box and SACD 5.1 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BD1ITI/goodmusicguide-20)...


Talich ain't that old... very direct, immediate sound.
A splendid, easily underestimated reading... more armchair than high-octane Prazak and Takács, but not outright old fashioned, either.
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2012/12/best-recordings-of-2012-6.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2012/12/best-recordings-of-2012-6.html)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on May 03, 2013, 12:44:15 PM
I'm looking for a cycle--or individual middle and late quartets if necessary--with a 'modern' playing style; in other words some vibrato is fine but I'd prefer that it not be used constantly.  Any suggestions?

Also, how is the Talich recording, sound aside?

I'd say this is "modern" sounding, but you seem to be more sensitive to vibrato than I am.



Same for this



Better listen to samples for vibrato-check.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Geo Dude on May 03, 2013, 12:46:18 PM
Juilliard (unfortunately OOP)

http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-String-Quartets-Box/dp/B00006OA6A/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1367616468&sr=8-1&keywords=juilliard+beethoven

Thanks for the tip.  It seems that if I buy the middle and late quartets individually I can swing it for a bit under $40 for the pair.  Not ideal, but something to consider.

You might want to dabble in the bold, even brazen Artemis Quartet; they certainly dust off the music, but play without coarseness. Here are some sample clips (http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-String-Quartets-18-2-59-3/dp/B0036O0EN0). (The complete box is available.)

Hmm, this doesn't sound too bad.  It might be what I'm looking for.

Takács, no question.
Opus 18 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SWNHK/goodmusicguide-20)
Middle Quartets (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000063WRQ/goodmusicguide-20)
Late Quartets (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B0000SWNHK/goodmusicguide-20)

Then also Prazak, which offers a box and SACD 5.1 (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B000BD1ITI/goodmusicguide-20)...


I have the Takács recording of the late quartets and find it a bit too aggressive for my taste.  The Prazak is interesting but really expensive and at this point SACD sound is not beneficial to me so I might have to pass on that one until later.

Just for the record, when I refer to 'old-fashioned' I don't mind mellow or introspective; I'd like that in the late quartets, I'm just not fond of groups that bury the music in constant vibrato.  (I had a really bad experience yesterday with the Verdi Quartett and Brahms' sextet as a result of that, actually.  It would be only a slight exaggeration to say that the sound was as thick as mud.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on May 03, 2013, 12:47:48 PM
Just for the record, when I refer to 'old-fashioned' I don't mind mellow or introspective; I'd like that in the late quartets, I'm just not fond of groups that bury the music in constant vibrato.  (I had a really bad experience yesterday with the Verdi Quartett and Brahms' sextet as a result of that, actually.  It would be only a slight exaggeration to say that the sound was as thick as mud.)

That's odd, because if you had asked me for unsentimental Brahms, I might have suggested just those recordings.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Geo Dude on May 03, 2013, 12:51:19 PM
That's odd, because if you had asked me for unsentimental Brahms, I might have suggested just those recordings.


I don't think it's sentimental, per se, just very thickly textured.  I listened to the L'Archibudelli recording afterwards and there was a world of difference and I normally don't hear a distinction that large when it comes to period vs modern string chamber recordings.  (Just to make sure we're on the same page I'm talking about the Op. 18/Op. 111 pairing.  I haven't heard the other one.)

By the way, the Endellion samples sound quite nice and the price is right.  After a bit more sampling this might be the one. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on May 03, 2013, 12:52:01 PM
I can confirm the Endellion use very little vibrato and are HIP-influenced (but not really HIP, I suppose). They do play rather roughly, so you'd have to tolerate a lack of technical perfection. Still, I got my copy for something like $25 and it includes the string quintets and all the unfinished quartets, fragments, and manuscripts, so that's a plus.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Geo Dude on May 03, 2013, 01:09:41 PM
Based on the samples I take your point on the rough playing; I think I might hold off until I can spend the extra $15 or so on the Artemis Quartet.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on May 03, 2013, 01:13:17 PM
I have the Takács recording of the late quartets and find it a bit too aggressive for my taste.  The Prazak is interesting but really expensive and at this point SACD sound is not beneficial to me so I might have to pass on that one until later.

Well, if you don't like the Takács for that reason, then no need to bother with the Prazak, really... which take the Takács approach and hone it.

What, though, do you mean by modern, then? Technically supreme, low on vibrato, but not too aggressive? Hmm... how much sensuousness do you want or not want?

Does it need to be exciting?  :D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Geo Dude on May 03, 2013, 01:16:25 PM
What, though, do you mean by modern, then? Technically supreme, low on vibrato, but not too aggressive? Hmm... how much sensuousness do you want or not want?

Does it need to be exciting?  :D

Some sensuousness is fine, appreciated even, as long as it's not at the level that results in a sound aimed at making Beethoven into like a post-romantic composer.  As for exciting...difficult question.  I'm looking for a bit of punch with the middle quartets but something more introspective in the later works.  Yes, I know, I'm difficult to help. :P  Thank you for trying, though.

On that note, thanks to everyone who made suggestions. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: San Antone on May 03, 2013, 01:24:17 PM
Alexander String Quartet
Gewandhous String Quartet
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Sammy on May 03, 2013, 01:24:51 PM
Just for the record, when I refer to 'old-fashioned' I don't mind mellow or introspective; I'd like that in the late quartets, I'm just not fond of groups that bury the music in constant vibrato.  (I had a really bad experience yesterday with the Verdi Quartett and Brahms' sextet as a result of that, actually.  It would be only a slight exaggeration to say that the sound was as thick as mud.)

I know what you mean.  A thick and frequent vibrato makes my skin crawl.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: J.A.W. on May 03, 2013, 01:26:00 PM
I think the Artemis set would be what you're looking for. Excellent playing, not soaked in heavy vibrato.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on May 03, 2013, 02:04:23 PM
Neither do I and no doubt I'll buy it.

BTW, has somebody listened to the Belcea Quartet (ZZ Territoires)?  :)

I have the first volume, and liked it enough to put the second volume (just released) in my shopping cart for my next order from Presto.  I'm fairly sure Todd thinks well of it.  But it has not (at least, based on the first volume) replaced my personal favorites,  Quartetto Italiano (who initiated me into Beethoven's quartets with their volume of the late quartets),  Takacs, and Artemis.

BTW, the Belcea don't play them in chronological order.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gordo on May 03, 2013, 04:48:51 PM
I have the first volume, and liked it enough to put the second volume (just released) in my shopping cart for my next order from Presto.  I'm fairly sure Todd thinks well of it.  But it has not (at least, based on the first volume) replaced my personal favorites,  Quartetto Italiano (who initiated me into Beethoven's quartets with their volume of the late quartets),  Takacs, and Artemis.

BTW, the Belcea don't play them in chronological order.

Thanks, Jeffrey. It looks like an interesting acquisition.

I have heard two or three movements (from different quartets) on Youtube and their sound is quite clean and detailed. I liked, for instance, their highly cantabile tone in first movement of the string quartet No. 7, although apparently the lineup changed after the video on YouTube. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on May 03, 2013, 04:58:01 PM
I'm fairly sure Todd thinks well of it.



Yes, yes I do, though like you, I can't say that they displace my favorites - Vegh stereo, Budapest mono, and Prazak in my case.  I was not aware volume two was coming yet (or soon).  This is good news.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on May 03, 2013, 05:13:24 PM


Yes, yes I do, though like you, I can't say that they displace my favorites - Vegh stereo, Budapest mono, and Prazak in my case.  I was not aware volume two was coming yet (or soon).  This is good news.

It was released 4/22 (at least in the UK--I generally get all my ZZT through Presto, it seems)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gordo on May 03, 2013, 05:19:36 PM
It was released 4/22 (at least in the UK--I generally get all my ZZT through Presto, it seems)
I'm ordering both sets from Presto, too.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on May 03, 2013, 05:57:15 PM
Based on the samples I take your point on the rough playing; I think I might hold off until I can spend the extra $15 or so on the Artemis Quartet.

I don't hear lack of technical perfection in the Endellion, just a certain assertiveness.  If technical smoothness is a high priority, there is always the Emerson Quartets cycle (or the Alban Berg, now absurdly cheap, but which I find insufferable for reasons that are hard to define).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Geo Dude on May 03, 2013, 07:04:40 PM
I don't hear lack of technical perfection in the Endellion, just a certain assertiveness.  If technical smoothness is a high priority, there is always the Emerson Quartets cycle (or the Alban Berg, now absurdly cheap, but which I find insufferable for reasons that are hard to define).


For the record it's not any minor technical errors they make that concerns me; the playing feels rough around the edges to me in terms of the tone, which began to grate on me after a while.  The Artemis Quartet seemed to have a similar (though somewhat lesser) assertiveness with a more pleasant tone.  I have the Alban Berg cycle now; I don't find it insufferable but it also doesn't feel 'right' so I'm looking for an alternative.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on May 03, 2013, 10:48:14 PM
For the record it's not any minor technical errors they make that concerns me; the playing feels rough around the edges to me in terms of the tone, which began to grate on me after a while.  The Artemis Quartet seemed to have a similar (though somewhat lesser) assertiveness with a more pleasant tone.  I have the Alban Berg cycle now; I don't find it insufferable but it also doesn't feel 'right' so I'm looking for an alternative.

I think Gewandhaus (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/01/dip-your-ears-no-21.html) might just be a very fine choice for you. A favorite with several here, and rightly so: consistently exciting, well played, neither aggressive nor leisurely nor non-committal. Certainly better than Alexander I, I think, and also better in the middle and late quartets than Alexander II, which has a superb op.18 set, but then tapers off severely.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Octave on May 03, 2013, 11:05:10 PM
While the Gewandhaus is mentioned, can anyone remind me what the major difference is between the two editions of the set?  Seems like the recent re-edition was more compact but did not include a paper/glue booklet?  Maybe CDR with documentation instead? 
I know this was discussed in the past several months, but my searches are coming up nil.

Extraneous-aloud: My wishlist is mushrooming, just for cycle sets.  I am most focused on the Talich reissue, Gewandhaus, maybe the Budapest mono (the one reissued by United Archives), and now possibly that Alexander set....damn your eyes, Gordo.  Also dropping pennies in the fountain for the Vegh stereo set to come back once more before nightfall.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Papy Oli on May 04, 2013, 02:50:10 AM
While the Gewandhaus is mentioned, can anyone remind me what the major difference is between the two editions of the set?  Seems like the recent re-edition was more compact but did not include a paper/glue booklet?  Maybe CDR with documentation instead? 


The latest edition of the Gewandhaus is a normal CD-size boxset (whereas the old version is a taller version not fitting on CD shelves) and includes a CD-Rom with the booklet in PDF format.

(http://papyuk.smugmug.com/photos/i-jNdNRZs/0/M/i-jNdNRZs-M.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Octave on May 04, 2013, 02:56:37 AM
Cheers, Olivier!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Papy Oli on May 04, 2013, 03:01:52 AM
you have pictures of pictures of pictures of the 2 sets on that page :

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,13.msg694830.html#msg694830 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,13.msg694830.html#msg694830)

 :laugh:
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on May 04, 2013, 03:10:37 AM
you have pictures of pictures of pictures of the 2 sets on that page :

http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,13.msg694830.html#msg694830 (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,13.msg694830.html#msg694830)

 :laugh:

Indeed, we do. FYI: eager to trade mine for the little box, if anyone has funky shelves and a hankering for the booklet on paper.

(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-8Yp1NbBEhtY/URKvaYVgqBI/AAAAAAAAGEo/NPIEqs1s2vk/s1600/Beethoven-im-Beethoven.png)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on May 04, 2013, 07:12:42 AM
I'm looking for a cycle--or individual middle and late quartets if necessary--with a 'modern' playing style; in other words some vibrato is fine but I'd prefer that it not be used constantly.  Any suggestions?

Also, how is the Talich recording, sound aside?

You need Turner and you need the latest Tokyo

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31q14G2IqyL.jpg) (http://c3.cduniverse.ws/resized/250x500/music/133/2345133.jpg) (http://www.allaboutjazz.com/coverart/2010/beethovenlatequartets_tokyoquartet_sjh.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Geo Dude on May 04, 2013, 08:14:58 AM
Mandryka, thanks for the tip; I'm aware of the Turner (hoping for a price drop/reissue) but I was not aware of the Tokyo Quartet's new stuff on Harmonia Mundia.  I don't think I'll get it immediately, but it's definitely wish listed.  Good stuff.

Jlaurson, thanks for the recommendation on Gewendhaus, they're certainly not bad!  I'm doing comparative sampling of Gewandhaus, Artemis, and Takács right now, actually.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on May 04, 2013, 08:22:17 AM
Mandryka, thanks for the tip; I'm aware of the Turner (hoping for a price drop/reissue) but I was not aware of the Tokyo Quartet's new stuff on Harmonia Mundia.  I don't think I'll get it immediately, but it's definitely wish listed.  Good stuff.

Jlaurson, thanks for the recommendation on Gewendhaus, they're certainly not bad!  I'm doing comparative sampling of Gewandhaus, Artemis, and Takács right now, actually.

I found that new Tokyo dreadfully boring, mainly because the cello was very weak (whether the blame falls on the engineer or the performer, is hard to say).  Of all of the Beethoven quartet recordings I've heard, I'd put it dead last. 

I much prefer their older cycle



The question is, how long before every recording ever made gets recommended.  I think we may be close to the one third mark.

For tastefully sentimental, there's this:



Gorgeous 80's Telefunken/Teldec recordings reissued.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidRoss on May 04, 2013, 12:15:00 PM
The question is, how long before every recording ever made gets recommended.  I think we may be close to the one third mark.
Nearly everyone good enough to be recorded by a major label and to stay in the catalog for years or decades has some virtue, though not every performer appeals to every taste. Just because I don't care for, say, Quartetto Italiano's Beethoven doesn't mean they're bad, or that I'm tin-eared, just that I usually prefer chili to banana pudding.  :P
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on May 04, 2013, 12:29:55 PM
I found that new Tokyo dreadfully boring, mainly because the cello was very weak (whether the blame falls on the engineer or the performer, is hard to say).  Of all of the Beethoven quartet recordings I've heard, I'd put it dead last. 

I much prefer their older cycle




Jens also was disappointed in the last installment of their new cycle.   I like the Razumovsky installment, but have nothing almost nothing else from that cycle.   I do have the older cycle (in the box you picture), and although I played it through relatively recently,  I don't remember a single thing about it, which suggests a certain blandness.
(further thought)
Wait, I do have three more of the Tokyo's second cycle because they're included in the Lumieres box (6, 13 and 16).   A single listen to those suggested they may not be bad,  but gave me absolutely no motivation to get anything more from that cycle.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on May 04, 2013, 12:48:12 PM
Jens also was disappointed in the last installment of their new cycle. 

Yes, I think that if one needs to distinguish and make differentiations at all (and one must, to recommend something, rather than everything), then Tokyo II actively doesn't make the cut, and Tokyo I doesn't, passively. Just like Italiano doesn't, as far as I'm concerned (not that I dislike it), or either of the Who-am-I-thinking-of cycles on Philips (Brilliant) and RCA or either Alexander.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on May 04, 2013, 01:20:14 PM
Yes, I think that if one needs to distinguish and make differentiations at all (and one must, to recommend something, rather than everything), then Tokyo II actively doesn't make the cut, and Tokyo I doesn't, passively. Just like Italiano doesn't, as far as I'm concerned (not that I dislike it), or either of the Who-am-I-thinking-of cycles on Philips (Brilliant) and RCA or either Alexander.

Guarneri, if it's the Brilliant set I've got. 

Which, come to think of it,  I rather liked.  Like the Alban Berg--meaning that while I liked it,  I don't like it as much as I like others.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on May 04, 2013, 10:06:22 PM
Well, I think you're all wrong about Tokyo 2.

What is special about the Tokyo is that they avoid excitement. It's peaceful, noble, refined and rather classical. You couldn't be further from jejeune ideas about this music: Beethoven the alpha male, the super hero involved in some sort of sweaty promethian striving. And that makes the reading 21st century in outlook, iconic. Geo Dude asked for modern playing. This is it.

I thought there were many new and interesting  things in there. i've never heard op133 played  so calmly and contrapuntally and level headedly. That was for me a revelation, in itself making the set worth keeping. As was the serenity of the adagio op127.

Mybe I could see your review Jens, and think about it point by point. That could be fun.

I don't have a problem with the cello.

By the way, The Turner Quartet op59 has similar qualities. Which I thought was especially nteresting in op 59, a set of works I usually can't stand.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on May 05, 2013, 03:28:50 AM
Well, I think you're all wrong about Tokyo 2.

Mybe I could see your review Jens, and think about it point by point. That could be fun.


I'm not sure there is a review... except comments, perhaps mildly detailed, I've typed out on this forum.

I think the most complex parts in the late quartets are ambiguously interpreted, borderline sloppy really... and (although this goes against everything I know of the quartet) technically beyond their reach. I would have understood it in a live recording (which I initially assumed it was), but I don't understand how they listened to the take and said: Yep... that's exactly how we want it. I have no cello issues. I'm glad, actually, the cello doesn't boom and dominate, which that particular instrument (ex-Corcoran Strad.) is prone to. (Though not as much as the other Library of Congress Strad Cello.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on May 05, 2013, 06:31:20 AM
Well, I think you're all wrong about Tokyo 2.

What is special about the Tokyo is that they avoid excitement. It's peaceful, noble, refined and rather classical. You couldn't be further from jejeune ideas about this music: Beethoven the alpha male, the super hero involved in some sort of sweaty promethian striving. And that makes the reading 21st century in outlook, iconic. Geo Dude asked for modern playing. This is it.

For peaceful, noble, refined, there is the Italiano.  The recent Tokyo struck me as just vague in execution.   I probably should listen to them again, and maybe they would benefit from headphone listening, rather than speakers.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Geo Dude on May 05, 2013, 08:58:59 AM
I'm listening to a live recording of the Prazák Op. 59, No. 1 on YouTube now.  I like their approach quite a bit.  If their 135 (also a live recording) holds up well I'll keep that set in mind for the future. :)  Meanwhile, based on samples I quite like the Artemis quartet for a full set and think the Takács approach works quite well in the middle quartets.



Sorry for the interruption, you may now return to your regularly scheduled arguing about the Tokyo Quartet's new recordings.
(Seriously, keep it up, the information is interesting.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on May 05, 2013, 04:33:26 PM
Well, I think you're all wrong about Tokyo 2.

What is special about the Tokyo is that they avoid excitement. It's peaceful, noble, refined and rather classical. You couldn't be further from jejeune ideas about this music: Beethoven the alpha male, the super hero involved in some sort of sweaty promethian striving. And that makes the reading 21st century in outlook, iconic. Geo Dude asked for modern playing. This is it.

I thought there were many new and interesting  things in there. i've never heard op133 played  so calmly and contrapuntally and level headedly. That was for me a revelation, in itself making the set worth keeping. As was the serenity of the adagio op127.

Mybe I could see your review Jens, and think about it point by point. That could be fun.

I don't have a problem with the cello.

By the way, The Turner Quartet op59 has similar qualities. Which I thought was especially nteresting in op 59, a set of works I usually can't stand.

But for those of us who don't particularly want noble, refined, peaceful, especially in those late quartets....!
However,  TQ2's performance of Op. 59 didn't strike me as being particularly refined or peaceful.  It's possible to play those works with less refinement and classicism than they did, of course, but refined classical irenity is not an approach that I think really works well once you move past Op. 18.   What exactly is refined or peaceful about about a Russian peasant song, anyway?  Op. 59 is one of those places in which Beethoven was beginning to move beyond the standard "classical" approach.   At leas a little tumult is appropriate to the performance there.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on May 05, 2013, 06:05:58 PM
But for those of us who don't particularly want noble, refined, peaceful, especially in those late quartets....!
However,  TQ2's performance of Op. 59 didn't strike me as being particularly refined or peaceful.  It's possible to play those works with less refinement and classicism than they did, of course, but refined classical irenity is not an approach that I think really works well once you move past Op. 18.   What exactly is refined or peaceful about about a Russian peasant song, anyway?  Op. 59 is one of those places in which Beethoven was beginning to move beyond the standard "classical" approach.   At leas a little tumult is appropriate to the performance there.

I am more inclined to appreciate peaceful in the late quartets than the early.  The Op 18, in particular, warrant a somewhat aggressive approach to highlight the manner in which they depart from Mozart and Haydn.  But my impression (which is subject to revision after another listen) is that the Italiano does peaceful Beethoven more effectively than Tokyo Quartets recent cycle.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on May 05, 2013, 06:19:19 PM
I am more inclined to appreciate peaceful in the late quartets than the early.  The Op 18, in particular, warrant a somewhat aggressive approach to highlight the manner in which they depart from Mozart and Haydn.  But my impression (which is subject to revision after another listen) is that the Italiano does peaceful Beethoven more effectively than Tokyo Quartets recent cycle.

I like the Italiano very much, mostly because I find their approach to emphasize head over heart--intellect over emotion.  But the late quartets are not completely emotion free, and I wouldn't call their playing refined and noble for the entire cycle.  The Emersons have a similar approach in the late quartets but not as thorough and not, IMO, as successful.  (I don't have their recordings of Op. 18 or the middle quartets.)

Not sure how this would map onto your descriptions of peaceful v aggressive.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Pat B on May 05, 2013, 06:55:08 PM
I'm looking for a cycle--or individual middle and late quartets if necessary--with a 'modern' playing style; in other words some vibrato is fine but I'd prefer that it not be used constantly.  Any suggestions?

Also, how is the Talich recording, sound aside?

Talich is my only cycle, and it sounds like your taste may be similar to mine. I've been happy with it, especially considering the price. They use vibrato frequently but not incessantly.

From the samples I've heard of Takács and others in the late works, Talich is close to the opposite end of the aggressiveness spectrum. I've been considering picking up the Takács as a contrasting version.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on May 06, 2013, 02:06:00 AM
But for those of us who don't particularly want noble, refined, peaceful, especially in those late quartets....!
However,  TQ2's performance of Op. 59 didn't strike me as being particularly refined or peaceful.  It's possible to play those works with less refinement and classicism than they did, of course, but refined classical irenity is not an approach that I think really works well once you move past Op. 18.   What exactly is refined or peaceful about about a Russian peasant song, anyway?  Op. 59 is one of those places in which Beethoven was beginning to move beyond the standard "classical" approach.   At leas a little tumult is appropriate to the performance there.

I liked TQ in 59/3 because  the sound is consistently quite transparent, so that even when one instrument out of the four is carrying a tune the texture is more intreresting than melody and background. I also like the way they're so relaxed. I like their way of lightening up the vertical weight of notes and sforzandi.

(EDIT, I misread you, I thought you were writing about Turner Quartet! I haven't heard Tokyo Quartet's op 59s. So the above is a total non sequitur)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on May 06, 2013, 02:18:42 AM
I'm listening to a live recording of the Prazák Op. 59, No. 1 on YouTube now.  I like their approach quite a bit.  If their 135 (also a live recording) holds up well I'll keep that set in mind for the future. :)  Meanwhile, based on samples I quite like the Artemis quartet for a full set and think the Takács approach works quite well in the middle quartets.



Sorry for the interruption, you may now return to your regularly scheduled arguing about the Tokyo Quartet's new recordings.
(Seriously, keep it up, the information is interesting.)

Prazak live can be extremely good, though I haven't had a chance to hear those things you found on youtube yet. I can let you have some very fine stuff, Haydn, Dvorak,and Schumann but I have no live Beethoven.

As far as modern Beethoven playing goes apart from Tokyo and Turner, look out for Ebene ( Again I can let you have a performance of op 131), and Paval Haas. i saw Paval Haas play op130/133 in London a few months ago and it was outstanding.

You may also like to seek out stiff by Cuarteto Casals, I have an interesting op 130 from Barcelona a couple of years ago.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on May 06, 2013, 10:46:05 AM
As far as modern Beethoven playing goes apart from Tokyo and Turner, look out for Ebene ( Again I can let you have a performance of op 131), and Paval Haas. i saw Paval Haas play op130/133 in London a few months ago and it was outstanding.
Agreed on Pavel Haas. It's no secret they're just about my favorite active quartet, but a great live Op 59/1 in London is one of the reasons why.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peregrine on May 11, 2013, 11:59:44 AM
An ensemble I've never been able to connect with in Beethoven are the Hollywood SQ. Just don't understand the fuss.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peregrine on May 11, 2013, 12:01:50 PM
I stand by my Juilliard rec though. Fantastic set.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on May 11, 2013, 01:16:49 PM
I stand by my Juilliard rec though. Fantastic set.

Thanks again for the recommendation on that one! These days it's OOP.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peregrine on May 11, 2013, 07:17:17 PM
Thanks again for the recommendation on that one! These days it's OOP.

George! Hope you are well  :)

It does appear to have gone that way, unfortunately. Hope that's rectified as it's far too good to miss IMO.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on May 12, 2013, 04:03:46 AM
George! Hope you are well  :)

I am awesome!! Hope you are the same, Simon!

Quote
It does appear to have gone that way, unfortunately. Hope that's rectified as it's far too good to miss IMO.

Yeah, perhaps one of those cheapo SONY boxes that have been coming out, preferably with none of that crappy mastering that they have been doing.  >:(
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on May 15, 2013, 03:32:38 PM
Prazak Quartet SACD box set on sale at MDT for US $48. Lowest price I have EVER seen - previously I'd seen it at $80, but at Amazon USA it's $93.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on May 15, 2013, 05:29:09 PM
Prazak Quartet SACD box set on sale at MDT for US $48. Lowest price I have EVER seen - previously I'd seen it at $80, but at Amazon USA it's $93.

I had the notion to order it, but the mdt site went dead on me when I tried to check out my shopping cart.  Maybe there's a message for me.

P.S., I don't think all of the discs in the set are SACD, at least judging by the prior releases that the set is apparently compiled from.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: sam adams on May 24, 2013, 09:29:28 AM
Don't know if this is old news, but prestoclassical has the Vegh 1970's set for download for $28.50 for MP3 and only $33.00 for lossless FLAC.




http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Naive/V4871#download (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Naive/V4871#download)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on June 13, 2013, 03:02:53 AM


I have an extra copy of the Gewandhaus Beethoven String Quartet (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2005/01/dip-your-ears-no-21.html) set -- in the inconvenient packaging -- which I am about to return to the seller (I had specifically wanted the new format)... lest someone is interested in it, for €20,- +Sh.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on August 06, 2013, 02:06:01 PM
"I was once discussing Beethoven chamber works with a colleague, a violin professor who had played extensively in Europe. I showed him an old LP recording of the Razumovsky quartets that had given me much delight. It had a photograph of the performing ensemble on the cover, four rather serious-looking gentlemen who together had made a successful career for themselves as a string quartet in the 1950s and '60s. Ah! My friend was acquainted with them, and he told me that this particular quartet was notorious. These four artists so despised each other that except for pure business, they avoided speaking, and where possible always stayed at four different hotels when traveling."

- The Art Instinct, Denis Dutton, p. 225

Anybody know who this quartet could be??
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on August 13, 2013, 04:21:33 PM
Which set do folks think is the most intense, the most tough and rough around the edges?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on August 13, 2013, 05:01:15 PM
I think that 60's Juilliard is pretty rough, pretty intense.  Artemis Quartet plays the fast movements very aggressively. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on August 13, 2013, 05:05:49 PM
I think that 60's Juilliard is pretty rough, pretty intense. 

I have that set, but I wanted to make sure I had a rough/intense set. I figured someone would have taken it to more of an extreme.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on August 13, 2013, 07:06:25 PM
George, are you able to find an Artemis sample on Spotify/etc.? My upload sample offer still applies, but it won't be till the weekend.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on August 14, 2013, 02:17:10 AM
btw I recently discovered that the Talich Q is back in circulation.  A few days ago I ordered the set, to redress the wrong of having sold it several years ago.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on August 14, 2013, 02:52:11 AM
George, are you able to find an Artemis sample on Spotify/etc.?

Yes, it's there. I am sampling it now. They seem big and loud, but I am not sure (yet) about them being rough and tough. Gritty is another term I would use to help describe what I am looking for.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on August 14, 2013, 10:40:11 AM
Brian what do you think of the Prazak Q cycle?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on August 14, 2013, 10:50:05 AM
Brian what do you think of the Prazak Q cycle?
I want to send it a valentine card and a box of chocolates. Well, maybe not literally. But I want their Op. 127 to automatically play everywhere I go.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on August 14, 2013, 11:41:18 AM
Yes, it's there. I am sampling it now. They seem big and loud, but I am not sure (yet) about them being rough and tough. Gritty is another term I would use to help describe what I am looking for.

Rough, tough, gritty, not sure what would satisfy that requirement.

The La Salle Quartet specialized in modern music and brought a certain uncompromising attitude to the Beethoven Late Quartets.  DG's remastering of the analog recordings is as bad as it comes, unfortunately.  Endellion is also of the non-sugar-coated approach.  Not sure if it rough, tough or gritty.  I have the Artemis recordings (couldn't resist and absurdly low price) but haven't listened yet.  You might want to listen to some samples of the Cleveland Quartet on Telarc.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on August 14, 2013, 11:49:02 AM
Endellion is also of the non-sugar-coated approach. 

Indeed!

After some sampling, I decided to go with the Endellion set. With thanks to Brian!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: North Star on August 14, 2013, 12:15:44 PM
I like the Endellions a lot, and I would think that you'll like it, too, George.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on August 14, 2013, 12:17:05 PM
I like the Endellions a lot, and I would think that you'll like it, too, George.

I can't wait!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on August 14, 2013, 12:27:13 PM
Could someone kindly make me understand what those adjectives mean in terms of a string quartet interpretation?
I believe there's a sort of spectrum in terms of technical aptitude and excitement. See attachment.

EDIT: You may think of it like a bassoonist who plays the opening of Rite of Spring and makes it sound difficult and weird without screwing it up ("gritty") vs. a bassoonist who plays the opening of Rite like they did it 500 times in music school.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: North Star on August 14, 2013, 12:30:12 PM
I believe there's a sort of spectrum in terms of technical aptitude and excitement. See attachment.
Hmmm, but bow pressure, for example, isn't too strictly related to technical aptitude.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on August 14, 2013, 12:51:50 PM
EDIT: You may think of it like a bassoonist who plays the opening of Rite of Spring and makes it sound difficult and weird without screwing it up ("gritty") vs. a bassoonist who plays the opening of Rite like they did it 500 times in music school.

I don't think "gritty" has anything to do with creating the impression that the play is having difficulty performing the music.  It suggest an approach that emphasizes harsh or intense aspects of the music, such as harmonic dissonances, abrupt or awkward melodies, rhythmic syncopation.  It suggests a performer that does not strive to maintain a gentle, beautiful tone throughout.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on August 14, 2013, 01:15:29 PM
Gritty is the opposite of what Virgil Thompson said about Heifetz in a famous article called "Silk-Underwear Music" in the Herald Tribune in 1940

Quote
I realize that my liking or not liking what Mr. Heifetz plays and how he plays it is a matter of no import to the stellar spaces in which he moves. But it happens that I did go to the concert last night and that I did listen pretty carefully to his superb (there is no other word but the nineteenth- century one) virtuosity. It was admirable and fine and swell and OK and occasionally very, very beautiful. The fellow can fiddle. But he sacrifices everything to polish. He does it knowingly. He is justly admired and handsomely paid for it. To ask anything else of him is like asking tenderness of the ocelot.

Four-starred super-luxury hotels are a legitimate commerce. The fact remains, however, that there is about their machine- tooled finish and empty elegance something more than just a trifle vulgar
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on August 14, 2013, 01:59:03 PM
I don't think "gritty" has anything to do with creating the impression that the play is having difficulty performing the music.  It suggest an approach that emphasizes harsh or intense aspects of the music, such as harmonic dissonances, abrupt or awkward melodies, rhythmic syncopation.  It suggests a performer that does not strive to maintain a gentle, beautiful tone throughout.

This is why I have trouble associating gritty performance with Beethoven.  It's Beethoven not Carter.  There are limits to how dissonant you can make a classical era piece sound without simply departing from the score.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on August 14, 2013, 05:01:38 PM
This is why I have trouble associating gritty performance with Beethoven.  It's Beethoven not Carter.  There are limits to how dissonant you can make a classical era piece sound without simply departing from the score.

I don't agree.  Beethoven, particularly the late works, contains a lot of dissonance  (although not as much or as blatant as Carter).  When a dissonant note appears you have the choice.   Play it gently, make it seem like a coloration of the consonant note,  emphasize its resolution rather than the dissonance itself, or play it with emphasis to make the dissonance stand out.  Making the latter choice emphasizes the edginess of the music without departing from the score.  One could argue that in our modern age it is appropriate to emphasize the dissonant elements because we have been desensitized to dissonance and are likely to miss it if it is presented with too much reserve.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on August 15, 2013, 09:55:14 PM
Pity the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band never recorded them. That should have satisfied.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on August 15, 2013, 10:21:56 PM
I believe there's a sort of spectrum in terms of technical aptitude and excitement. See attachment.

EDIT: You may think of it like a bassoonist who plays the opening of Rite of Spring and makes it sound difficult and weird without screwing it up ("gritty") vs. a bassoonist who plays the opening of Rite like they did it 500 times in music school.

Sorry, I think this graph shows how this is a red herring.

The technical level of most string quartet musicians playing the major venues is very high these days.

That does not make the LvB quartets comfortable playing. And apart from playing the notes there's also the problem of *performing* the music and presenting the *story* as one sees it  -  and we're talking about four individuals here.

In the context of the nitty gritty discussion perhaps the release of the Amadeus' fifties radio recordings on Audite are interesting.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: mszczuj on August 16, 2013, 06:03:00 PM
When a dissonant note appears you have the choice.   Play it gently, make it seem like a coloration of the consonant note,  emphasize its resolution rather than the dissonance itself, or play it with emphasis to make the dissonance stand out.  Making the latter choice emphasizes the edginess of the music without departing from the score. 

But it is Beethoven, it is predominantely linear. If you think of dissonances as its subsatnce you miss where it goes. When you play Grosse Fuge as the vehicle for dramatic dissonances you have no chance to find that it should (or at least could) be played as great cosmic dance crowning the most beautiful serenade.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on August 17, 2013, 03:15:56 AM
Guys, by gritty I meant if you close your eyes and imagine the performers, they aren't wearing pressed tuxedos, but rather AC/DC T-shirts and dirty old jeans. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on August 17, 2013, 04:03:47 AM
Guys, by gritty I meant if you close your eyes and imagine the performers, they aren't wearing pressed tuxedos, but rather AC/DC T-shirts and dirty old jeans.

And that's how you hear the Endellion? Or did you get that one for other reasons?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on August 17, 2013, 04:45:23 AM
Guys, by gritty I meant if you close your eyes and imagine the performers, they aren't wearing pressed tuxedos, but rather AC/DC T-shirts and dirty old jeans.

There are many ensembles that don't wear tux's to concerts, but they don't dress like a garage band either.  There are ways to dress smartly without looking like you came from the 19th century.

It doesn't sound like you want gritty, rather you want the spontaneity and drive that you would get from people informally getting together to have a jam session like you find in rock or jazz.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on August 17, 2013, 05:18:47 AM
And that's how you hear the Endellion?

Pretty much, yes.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on August 17, 2013, 06:04:58 AM
Pretty much, yes.

Suggest a track for me to hear, one where this gritty quality is evident.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on August 17, 2013, 06:08:22 AM
But it is Beethoven, it is predominantely linear. If you think of dissonances as its subsatnce you miss where it goes. When you play Grosse Fuge as the vehicle for dramatic dissonances you have no chance to find that it should (or at least could) be played as great cosmic dance crowning the most beautiful serenade.

This is an interesting reply. Which performances do you feel succeed at integrating  133 with 130 as you describe?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on August 17, 2013, 07:58:36 AM
Suggest a track for me to hear, one where this gritty quality is evident.

Take your pick, I heard it on any of the tracks I listened to.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gordo on August 17, 2013, 08:42:33 AM
Guys, by gritty I meant if you close your eyes and imagine the performers, they aren't wearing pressed tuxedos, but rather AC/DC T-shirts and dirty old jeans.

It's approximately what I think when I'm listening to the Alexander String Quartet playing the middle quartets from its complete cycle on Arte Nova.

Well, if I'm totally honest, the image is this: There is a string quartet competition in New York City (I don't know why exactly in New York). The favorite group is the Julliard String Quartet which is not really the Julliard Quartet, but the Leipziger Streichquartett, an ensemble totally perfect in a traditional, conservative way. But suddenly appears this group from nowhere, The Bronx, for instance; totally revolutionary and youthful. And they are the Alexander Quartet ... You know, something like a Karate Kid tournament.  :D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Opus106 on August 17, 2013, 09:40:54 AM
It's approximately what I think when I'm listening to the Alexander String Quartet playing the middle quartets from its complete cycle on Arte Nova.

Well, if I'm totally honest, the image is this: There is a string quartet competition in New York City (I don't know why exactly in New York). The favorite group is the Julliard String Quartet which is not really the Julliard Quartet, but the Leipziger Streichquartett, an ensemble totally perfect in a traditional, conservative way. But suddenly appears this group from nowhere, The Bronx, for instance; totally revolutionary and youthful. And they are the Alexander Quartet ... You know, something like a Karate Kid tournament.  :D

Perhaps you were planning to post all that at the other thread (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,1518.0.html)? ;) ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gordo on August 17, 2013, 10:14:38 AM
Perhaps you were planning to post all that at the other thread (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,1518.0.html)? ;) ;D

 ;D :D ;D

No doubt, it would be an appropriate place.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on August 17, 2013, 10:23:36 AM
LOL, you guys!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gordo on August 17, 2013, 10:34:35 AM
LOL, you guys!

Do you know the Alexander String Quartet, George? If not, maybe you should give a try to its first set.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 17, 2013, 01:34:07 PM
Annie, you behave!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on August 17, 2013, 01:35:56 PM
Do you know the Alexander String Quartet, George? If not, maybe you should give a try to its first set.  :)

I have a CD of theirs that has two of the Late Quartets on the Arte Nova label.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on August 17, 2013, 02:02:30 PM
I still don't get it.

Well, truth to tell, I don't, much, either.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peregrine on August 17, 2013, 02:18:47 PM
I still don't get it.

Oh well.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on August 17, 2013, 05:58:31 PM
Do you know the Alexander String Quartet, George? If not, maybe you should give a try to its first set.  :)

Playing that set even as I post,  I'd say "gritty" is a useful way to describe their performances.  At the moment, I've got Op. 95 on, to be followed by Op. 127, so I'm at the point bridging the Middle and the Late Quartets. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: springrite on August 17, 2013, 11:47:00 PM
From now on, if I ask for a recommendation of the most fantastic recording of a quartet please while recommending keep in mind that, by fantastic I meant, if you close your eyes the performers appear muscular, toned and naked

Without the first two (muscular and toned), make sure they are not only fully clothed but in TUX!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: DavidW on August 18, 2013, 05:47:33 AM
From now on, if I ask for a recommendation of the most fantastic recording of a quartet please while recommending keep in mind that, by fantastic I meant, if you close your eyes the performers appear muscular, toned and naked

Post of the day imo. :laugh:
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: mszczuj on August 18, 2013, 01:23:34 PM
This is an interesting reply. Which performances do you feel succeed at integrating  133 with 130 as you describe?

I'm afraid we must still wait for such a performance. So far least irritating interpretation I've heard is the pianoforte one:

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on August 19, 2013, 05:56:02 AM
I'm afraid we must still wait for such a performance. So far least irritating interpretation I've heard is the pianoforte one:



Well that one doesn't integrate 133 with 130 at all, since there is no transcription of 130 unfortunately!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: mszczuj on August 19, 2013, 06:07:59 AM
Well that one doesn't integrate 133 with 130 at all, since there is no transcription of 130 unfortunately!

But it is a first little step towards thinking about Die Grosse Fuge as if it was not obviously the most agressive work of the Classial Era.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on August 19, 2013, 06:08:22 AM
I'm afraid we must still wait for such a performance. So far least irritating interpretation I've heard is the pianoforte one:



There is another pianoforte one.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on August 19, 2013, 06:16:12 AM
There is another pianoforte one.



But just op 133, right? Mot 130 and  133 together. It was mzsczuj's conception of how the two might relate which got me interested. I don't much care for the piano reduction, which is a bit like putting a lion in a cage. There's a good performance of the caged lion by Ursula Oppens and Paul Jacobs. I can let people have the Flacs if anyone cares.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on August 19, 2013, 06:20:18 AM
But it is a first little step towards thinking about Die Grosse Fuge as if it was not obviously the most agressive work of the Classial Era.

Right. I missed that post.

I'd better actually listen to that performance on Naxos. Will do.

You may like the second recording of the GF that The Tokyo quartet made.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Tyson on August 20, 2013, 02:15:51 PM
Am I the only one that loves the Cleveland Quartet?  Granted I am an audiophile, but still...
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on August 29, 2013, 07:44:12 AM
For gritty I would go 1980s Lindsay quartet.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: xochitl on September 01, 2013, 11:44:57 PM
Kodaly Quartet for dirt under the fingernails  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on September 02, 2013, 12:20:53 AM

Budapest for jock itch.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on September 02, 2013, 02:14:15 AM
jock itch.
An expression I've always wanted to read in a classical music review.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 02, 2013, 05:00:20 AM
I like the Endellions a lot, and I would think that you'll like it, too, George.

You are correct!! Enjoying it now. Again, many thanks to Brian.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Itullian on September 02, 2013, 11:55:33 PM
Takacs quartet are pretty gritty I think.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on September 08, 2013, 07:03:51 PM
Bringing over this post concerning Budapest recordings from Todd so that it does not get lost in the "Listening Thread".  Thanks, Todd.




Yes, there are three cycles, though I'd not read until now about the ensemble using the LOC instruments for the first cycle - they did use them for the cycle out on Bridge.  In addition, there are the earlier recordings on Columbia, released on Sony Masterworks Heritage.  If memory serves there are some earlier single recordings, too.  I agree that the early 50s mono set is the best overall, and it is readily available now on United Archives via Amazon, Presto, etc.  The Bridge set has some fine playing, but it is hampered by now ancient broadcast sound quality.  The 1940s recordings reissued on Masterworks Heritage generally sound better than the Bridge recordings, and are some of the finest transfers of old chamber recordings I've heard.


40s recordings:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513Q5E%2B7YzL._SX300_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HJtaGzqZL._SX300_.jpg)


50s Mono Cycle:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/416VnQMLWiL._SY300_.jpg)


Stereo Cycle:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5184UnDSmzL._SY300_.jpg)


Bridge LOC cycle:

(http://www.bridgerecords.com/images/covers/9342.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41X9B3YBHFL.jpg)

(http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/69258886/Budapest+String+Quartet+Beethoven+Late+Quartets.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on September 08, 2013, 07:05:42 PM
Bringing over this post concerning Budapest recordings from Todd so that it does not get lost in the "Listening Thread".  Thanks, Todd.





Yes, there are three cycles, though I'd not read until now about the ensemble using the LOC instruments for the first cycle - they did use them for the cycle out on Bridge.  In addition, there are the earlier recordings on Columbia, released on Sony Masterworks Heritage.  If memory serves there are some earlier single recordings, too.  I agree that the early 50s mono set is the best overall, and it is readily available now on United Archives via Amazon, Presto, etc.  The Bridge set has some fine playing, but it is hampered by now ancient broadcast sound quality.  The 1940s recordings reissued on Masterworks Heritage generally sound better than the Bridge recordings, and are some of the finest transfers of old chamber recordings I've heard.


40s recordings:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/513Q5E%2B7YzL._SX300_.jpg)  (http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51HJtaGzqZL._SX300_.jpg)


50s Mono Cycle:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/416VnQMLWiL._SY300_.jpg)


Stereo Cycle:

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/5184UnDSmzL._SY300_.jpg)


Bridge LOC cycle:

(http://www.bridgerecords.com/images/covers/9342.jpg)

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/41X9B3YBHFL.jpg)

(http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/69258886/Budapest+String+Quartet+Beethoven+Late+Quartets.jpg)

So Todd, which are my Columbia lps?  (No dates on them.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on September 08, 2013, 07:11:31 PM
So Todd, which are my Columbia lps?  (No dates on them.)



The cover work says complete cycle, so it would be the early 50s mono cycle, or the red cover box on United Archives.  The complete set to own.  The 40s recordings are perhaps better in a few single performances, and faster across the board, but it is not a cycle.  I eliminated any possible dilemmas by buying all of the recordings.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Bogey on September 08, 2013, 07:13:09 PM


The cover work says complete cycle, so it would be the early 50s mono cycle, or the red cover box on United Archives.  The complete set to own.  The 40s recordings are perhaps better in a few single performances, and faster across the board, but it is not a cycle.  I eliminated any possible dilemmas by buying all of the recordings.

Excellent maneuver. :)  Thanks for the above post.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on September 12, 2013, 10:55:12 PM


>NOTES FROM THE 2013 SCHUBERTIADE ( 7 ) • HAGEN QUARTETT BEETHOVEN CYCLE I

Of Serious and Harp-playing Beethoven Cows

(http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-SJHmn1ZpT4s/Uix2vLW20sI/AAAAAAAAHHI/V_37dxqH76I/s1600/Schubertiade_Notes_singlelayer.jpg)
(http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-IJly2fsISvM/UjIsVHRO3aI/AAAAAAAAHKk/TQs8-0dYQSA/s1600/Schubertiade_Hagen_Quartett_laurson_600.jpg)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2013/09/notes-from-2013-schubertiade-7-hagen.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2013/09/notes-from-2013-schubertiade-7-hagen.html)

As hard as it is to trade the countryside, the sun, and the smell of grass and herbs  (essential experiences for anyone attending the Schubertiade) in for a concert hall, it has to be done: Duty calls...

Edit: LINK fixed.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Opus106 on October 03, 2013, 06:45:38 AM
Naïve seems to be answering a few prayers this year.

At bargain price:

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/naivev4871.jpg) (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Naive/V4871)

[Click on image to go to Presto's page.]
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on October 03, 2013, 07:42:28 AM
Very cool, Nav.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on October 03, 2013, 08:03:19 AM
Very cool, Nav.

Indeed!!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson on October 03, 2013, 12:48:29 PM
Naïve seems to be answering a few prayers this year.

At bargain price:

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/naivev4871.jpg) (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Naive/V4871)

[Click on image to go to Presto's page.]
BOOYAKASHA
+1!

Finally I can recommend that set again, without feeling like an (it's-so-rare-but-i-have-it-it's-therefore-special) ass!!!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: marvinbrown on October 30, 2013, 08:06:19 AM
Naïve seems to be answering a few prayers this year.

At bargain price:

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/naivev4871.jpg) (http://www.prestoclassical.co.uk/r/Naive/V4871)

[Click on image to go to Presto's page.]

  Thank you Opus106  8) for posting this! I just pre-ordered it! I have heard so much about this set and until now it was unavailable.  At that price I just could not say NO!

  marvin

 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peregrine on November 13, 2013, 02:51:13 PM
Amazon UK are now selling the set for under 20 quid ...
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on November 13, 2013, 03:00:56 PM
  Thank you Opus106  8) for posting this! I just pre-ordered it! I have heard so much about this set and until now it was unavailable.  At that price I just could not say NO!

  marvin

 

Nor should you!!  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: david-jw on January 01, 2014, 10:11:48 AM
Did anyone else hear The Danish Quartet's Op 132 on BBC Radio 3 yesterday?

Very revealing performance imo- not available commercially alas, but worth catching on iplayer.

Its in the New Generation Artists programme that was broadcast yesterday 31th dec, 17.45-19.00

A quartet to watch out for in the future based on this performance I would think.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: amw on August 31, 2014, 09:47:38 PM
I may have asked this question before, but don't remember the answer.

A long time ago I saw a paper examining the historical performance practice of Beethoven's late quartets with 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. I thought it was Quartetto Italiano for a while but on doing some research it seems that theirs, while indeed slow, is part of a clear tradition of very slow Heiliger Dankgesangs dating back to the Busch Quartet (who are even slower than QI) if not earlier, and not exceptionally long by those standards. If anyone does know, ideas would be appreciated.

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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on August 31, 2014, 10:09:27 PM
I do not know any above 20 minutes. The Busch is around 19, IIRC, and the (2nd) Guarneri in the same range. The slowest I find in my collection is Melos/DG with 18:01 and the fastest Petersen with ca. 14:50. So no extreme outliers here. (I believe the differences are mostly due to the pace of the chorale sections)
But I can confirm the uncommonly fluent tempo of the Leipzig Quartet which I heard in concert 8 or 10 years ago and I later checked the playing time which is 12-13 min.

While I like slow interpretations I am pretty sure that the faster tempo is closer to what Beethoven probably intended. My indication are the rather fast metronome markings for two similar movements, viz. the adagios from op.59/2 and the 9th symphony. The former is frequently played roughly in the indicated tempo (quarter=60), the latter usually much slower, although Norrington, Gielen and others have conducted the beginning close to the prescribed tempo.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: amw on August 31, 2014, 11:11:37 PM
Yes, Beethoven does not seem to have been a fan of especially slow tempos. The adagio from the Hammerklavier for instance is marked eighth=92 which would yield a speed of about 13-14 minutes, but like the rest of the metronome markings in the sonata, pianists typically ignore it altogether (Michael Korstick, who otherwise tried to follow Beethoven's markings, argued that Beethoven made an error in judgment in marking the adagio at such a fast tempo, attributing it to his encroaching deafness and the shorter sustain of contemporary pianos; although I think it's safe to say that whatever Beethoven's intentions may have been, the 29 minute Adagio Korstick delivered is probably not it).

I sort of disagree with Beethoven in that regard, with my favourite Heiliger Dankgesang so far being the Belcea Quartet's (19:35) whose hushed atmosphere and reduced vibrato in the chorale sections allows them to build up a tremendous tension, but I can also see the appeal of a more flowing tempo as practiced by the Leipzigers. (I don't have their recording though. My alternatives are all relatively conventional—Juilliard 17:45, Vegh 16:20, Hagen 15:35, Lindsay 15:10) Mostly I'm just really curious to hear how someone could justify dragging the movement out for 20+ minutes.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on August 31, 2014, 11:44:49 PM
Of course we can try what we want and what we like. But I always found reasoning a la Korstick puzzling: Why should Beethoven be right with his metronome in the (sometimes insanely fast) fast movements, but wrong in the slow movements?
(This is already puzzling in the more traditional interpretations of Beethoven's symphonies: In most scherzi and some finales (e.g. 5th and 7th) Beethoven's tempo indications are easily met, sometimes the movements are played even faster, whereas in the first movement of the Eroica or most slow movements we are at 2/3 of the indicated speed or so. If Beethoven was hearing it "too fast in his head" why only some movements and not all of them?)

The faster decay of contemporary pianos is just a fact that speaks for more flowing tempi, doesn't it?
I find Korstick really absurdly slow in the op.106 adagio. There are some fast readings, e.g. Gulda with 13:xx min. Gulda may be too "cool" here, but this is not mainly a question of tempo (there are others, but I forgot which pianists: maybe Egon Petri? Riezler claims in his book on Beethoven that he had heard Busoni play the movement in the indicated flowing tempo, so this would fit).
In any case, Korstick is as far or further from the usual tempo of this movement (16-19 min, I'd say) than this typical tempo from the metronomic one.

I have not heard the Belcea; trying to restrict myself to one recording of the quartets per annum, I already bought the Vegh reissue (whose 132 I have not heard yet) in January...
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: George on September 01, 2014, 07:49:31 AM
Mostly I'm just really curious to hear how someone could justify dragging the movement out for 20+ minutes.

I read once that that movement was the equivalent of pedaling a bicycle as slowly as you can without falling over.  ;D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Pat B on September 01, 2014, 08:15:03 AM
I may have asked this question before, but don't remember the answer.

You have asked before, but I never saw any answer (and I'm curious about it too). When I first read the question, I thought the answer was the Fitzwilliam Q, but it turns out their time is 18:52. So, I'm not of any help here, except maybe to say that the Fitzwilliam recording is excellent, but I haven't heard most of the ones you have. My list for op.132 is Talich 1970s, Vegh 1970s, Endellion, Emerson, Yale, and Fitzwilliam.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on September 01, 2014, 10:30:32 AM
Michael Korstick, who otherwise tried to follow Beethoven's markings, argued that Beethoven made an error in judgment in marking the adagio at such a fast tempo, attributing it to his encroaching deafness and the shorter sustain of contemporary pianos
I don't think I understand Korstick's argument that Beethoven made an error in judgment by writing the sonata for a different kind of piano.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on September 01, 2014, 10:35:43 AM
Also clocking in at 19:30ish: Wihan Quartet, Guarneri Quartet (RCA), Alban Berg Quartet (EMI)

That's all I got from a quick, and not at all comprehensive, sweep of Naxos Music Library. It's too bad there's not a comprehensive discography with track timings out there, like the Anton Bruckner Society maintains for all his symphonies.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on September 01, 2014, 11:23:48 AM
Also clocking in at 19:30ish: Wihan Quartet, Guarneri Quartet (RCA), Alban Berg Quartet (EMI)

This must be the live version. I've got the studio ABQ and it's a rather brisk 15:03.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: amw on September 01, 2014, 12:52:59 PM
Of course we can try what we want and what we like. But I always found reasoning a la Korstick puzzling: Why should Beethoven be right with his metronome in the (sometimes insanely fast) fast movements, but wrong in the slow movements?
I'm not sure. I think he went into more detail, saying the metronome marking was too fast for the tempo marking Adagio sostenuto, but we know that adagios didn't start getting really slow until the time of Wagner. So essentially he's trying to impose mid- to late-19th-century performance practice on an early-19th-century work using a 21st-century piano. I suppose one has to just cast authenticity aside and figure out whether one likes the results.

(I was more surprised to find that Korstick is, actually, not as much of an outlier as he seems. Christoph Eschenbach takes 25:17 in the same movement, and other 20+ minute Adagios are supplied by Barenboim [twice], Solomon, Chodos, Kuerti, Oppitz & Segall among others. 13 minute Adagios, on the other hand, seem quite rare, only Gulda, Yudina and Lim that I'm aware of)

You have asked before, but I never saw any answer (and I'm curious about it too). When I first read the question, I thought the answer was the Fitzwilliam Q, but it turns out their time is 18:52. So, I'm not of any help here, except maybe to say that the Fitzwilliam recording is excellent, but I haven't heard most of the ones you have. My list for op.132 is Talich 1970s, Vegh 1970s, Endellion, Emerson, Yale, and Fitzwilliam.
I might be totally wrong here. I found timings for 44 versions of Op. 132 online, with the Heiliger Dankgesang ranging from 12:53 (Leipzig) to 19:49 (Alexander)... nothing exceeding 20 minutes. Still lost; I'll try to find my photocopy of the article buried among my massive amount of stuff but that might have to wait until it's been unpacked. (a lot of things are still in boxes)

(I did find a pretty good period instruments recording of Op. 132 though, by the Quatuor Terpsycordes... apart from Op. 135 by the Eroicas I think this might be the first time one of the late quartets has been recorded on a PI setup.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Pat B on September 01, 2014, 01:36:19 PM
(I did find a pretty good period instruments recording of Op. 132 though, by the Quatuor Terpsycordes... apart from Op. 135 by the Eroicas I think this might be the first time one of the late quartets has been recorded on a PI setup.)

Nice find! I added that to my survey of PI recordings of Beethoven quartets (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,145.msg703982.html#msg703982). I wish they had coupled it with one of the other underserved (on PI) Beethoven quartets, but maybe they haven't worked those out yet. Anyway, I like PI and op.132 enough that I'll probably pick disc this up.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on September 01, 2014, 03:34:12 PM
This must be the live version. I've got the studio ABQ and it's a rather brisk 15:03.
Oops! You're right. Double-checked; I meant the Busch Quartet (also EMI Great Recordings).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on September 08, 2014, 10:04:39 AM
Is this

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vJ%2B1iElIL.jpg)

the same as this series?

(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTQzN1gxNTI4/z/9X8AAOxyD9JR8lQb/$T2eC16VHJHIFFhbh(VbTBR8lQ,q0PQ~~60_35.JPG)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on September 08, 2014, 04:40:22 PM
I don't see how you can beat the Alban Berg if you are a beginner. You get a brand new set for about $25. You should be laughing all the way to the bank at that price. All the other sets are more expensive, often at 2x the cost.

I agree completely. Of the four sets I've heard (Alban Berg (http://"http://www.amazon.com/Complete-String-Quartets-Beethoven/dp/B008DK3PJC"), Quartetto Italiano (http://"http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-Quartets-Ludwig-van/dp/B0000041LL"), Tokyo (http://"http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-Quartets-Tokyo-Quartet/dp/B008BOWG7C"), Végh (http://"http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-Quartets-Ludwg-van/dp/B0000DET84")), the Alban Berg is the one I ended up buying. I'm mighty pleased with it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on September 08, 2014, 04:55:11 PM
I agree completely. Of the four sets I've heard (Alban Berg (http://"http://www.amazon.com/Complete-String-Quartets-Beethoven/dp/B008DK3PJC"), Quartetto Italiano (http://"http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-Quartets-Ludwig-van/dp/B0000041LL"), Tokyo (http://"http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-Quartets-Tokyo-Quartet/dp/B008BOWG7C"), Végh (http://"http://www.amazon.com/Beethoven-Complete-Quartets-Ludwg-van/dp/B0000DET84")), 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Peter Power Pop on September 08, 2014, 06:10:52 PM
Me too, assuming you're talking about the studio ABQ and not the live one.

Yep (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008DK3PJC).

This is the set I bought:

(http://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/52/13/5099970441352_600.jpg) (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008DK3PJC)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on September 08, 2014, 06:35:45 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).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Que on September 08, 2014, 09:00:53 PM
Is this

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vJ%2B1iElIL.jpg)

the same as this series?

(http://i.ebayimg.com/00/s/MTQzN1gxNTI4/z/9X8AAOxyD9JR8lQb/$T2eC16VHJHIFFhbh(VbTBR8lQ,q0PQ~~60_35.JPG)

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
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Wanderer on September 08, 2014, 09:42:01 PM
Is this

(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51vJ%2B1iElIL.jpg)

the same as...

I don't know, but it's a quite magnificent set and deservedly praised.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Chris L. 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!

(http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/Chrisl383/Classical%20Record%20Covers/Membran-NCA%2001_zpsxh04buev.jpg) (http://s1231.photobucket.com/user/Chrisl383/media/Classical%20Record%20Covers/Membran-NCA%2001_zpsxh04buev.jpg.html)(http://i1231.photobucket.com/albums/ee513/Chrisl383/Classical%20Record%20Covers/Membran-NCA%2002_zpsz564mnl9.jpg) (http://s1231.photobucket.com/user/Chrisl383/media/Classical%20Record%20Covers/Membran-NCA%2002_zpsz564mnl9.jpg.html)

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (poco) Sforzando 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: jlaurson 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Chris L. 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: amw on September 29, 2016, 05:25:40 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:
https://www.youtube.com/v/07s9CX3uHdY

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.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on August 10, 2017, 09:22:04 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on August 10, 2017, 10:52:59 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).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: amw on August 11, 2017, 12:55:53 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on August 20, 2017, 07:28:15 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/71nB-XtnhjL._SY355_.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on August 20, 2017, 08:39:10 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)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on August 20, 2017, 09:34:12 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on September 11, 2017, 10:36:24 AM
Basically what you just gave, Todd.  Quick comments for the ones you have so as to give a snapshot works for me. 


1. Végh String Quartet (mid-70's)
2. Talich String Quartet (late '70s/early '80s)
3. Vermeer (1980's)
4. Takacs (2000's)
5. Quatuor Hongrois (1950's)
6. Oxford Quartet (1990's)
7. Endellion Quartet (2000's)
8. Italiano Quartet (1970's)
9. Alban Berg Quartet (1990's)
10. Julliard QT (1964- 1970)
11. Prazak – 2000s; the best digital cycle on the market
12. Budapest – 1951/52; possibly the best cycle on record
13. Emerson – 1990s; precise but colorless and lifeless
14. Cleveland – 1990s; solid, serious, well-recorded
15. Budapest – 1958-1961
16. Alexander  – 1990s
17. Smetana
18. Orion
19. Leipzig
20. Guarneri – 1960s
21. Orford
22. Medici
23. Vegh - 1950s
24. Amadeus – 1960s
25. The Lindsays
26. Hungarian – 1960s
27. Kodaly – 2000s
28. Tanayev
29. Suske
30. Gewandhaus
31. Barylli
32. Bartok
33. Tokyo
34. Beethoven

Question about the "Oxford" String Quartet cycle. Does that actually exist? What label, if so? I've not been able to find any hints about it online. Thanks & cheers,
Jens
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on September 11, 2017, 10:41:28 AM
Question about the "Oxford" String Quartet cycle. Does that actually exist? What label, if so? I've not been able to find any hints about it online. Thanks & cheers,
Jens

I have it. It was issued by Delos. I'll admit I never listened to it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on September 11, 2017, 10:43:33 AM
I have it. It was issued by Delos. I'll admit I never listened to it.


I believe that's the Orford.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on September 11, 2017, 10:44:41 AM

I believe that's the Orford.

Orford, there's such a thing? I stand corrected.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on September 11, 2017, 10:48:09 AM

There's a Port Orford, Oregon.  I doubt the quartet is named after that town.

There was a LaSalle street near where I lived. Turns out the LaSalle quartet was named after that street. Go figure.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on September 11, 2017, 10:50:49 AM
Deleted the prior post because it turns out the Orford are Canadian, and it appears they are named after Orford, Quebec.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on September 11, 2017, 11:13:56 PM
There was a LaSalle street near where I lived. Turns out the LaSalle quartet was named after that street. Go figure.

 ;D

Thanks for clearing up the Oxford thing. There was a string quartet by that name at one point, but they didn't seem to have recorded a cycle. (And there is one now, by that name, and they definitely haven't.) Orford is on my radar. Myself, I'm listening to the Vermeer cycle, finally, well after having acquired it. Struggling, like so many others, in some of the densest late writing -- but VERY good in op.127 and definitely up to snuff in the middle quartets, which is where I have worked my way to by now, going backwards.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on September 18, 2017, 11:03:45 AM
I've completed my most ambitious discography to-date:


A Survey of Beethoven String Quartet Cycles
(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VYQWtbpDv9Q/UPQjw3NPXEI/AAAAAAAAFro/1OCHnnTJ3H8/s1600/Beethoven_basic_laurson_600.jpg)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html)

A heck of a lot of work -- and VERY appreciative of any corrections and additions! (Todd!?!)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on September 18, 2017, 11:14:19 AM
Two things.

You have listed the Brilliant Classics release of the Guarneri Quartet's Beethoven cycle with their first cycle. In fact it is a reissue of the later cycle recorded for Philips.

For the Italiano Quartet, you show the new release in the "Originals" series and the older clamshell box. It is also available in a the Complete Quartetto Italiano edition.




...and I just noticed that the Artemis set (which I have but have not had time to listen to) omits the alternate finale of Op 130. Anyone with a U.S. address want this turd?  I will send it free of charge.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on September 18, 2017, 11:40:22 AM
Unless I missed it, the Voces String Quartet cycle appears to be absent. 

Also, for the Colorado, it might be worth including the Musical Concepts download at Amazon for $0.99 for the set. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on September 18, 2017, 11:47:37 AM
Two things.

You have listed the Brilliant Classics release of the Guarneri Quartet's Beethoven cycle with their first cycle. In fact it is a reissue of the later cycle recorded for Philips.


...and I just noticed that the Artemis set (which I have but have not had time to listen to) omits the alternate finale of Op 130. Anyone with a U.S. address want this turd?  I will send it free of charge.

That's a harsh stance on a quartet following LvB's initial intentions. (Re: Artemis)

Really? Is the Brilliant re-release the Decca/Philips issue? I used to think so, and then somehow have come to consider it their first. That's good to know. (Any way I can check up on it? YES... I think it's part of my Brilliant LvB Box. That should do the trick. In any case, THANK YOU.

The Italian catch-all box I am not inclined to include, simply because I don't like catch-all boxes and I'd have to start a whole new line just for it. But I should make mention of it in the comments -- and will.

Unless I missed it, the Voces String Quartet cycle appears to be absent. 

Also, for the Colorado, it might be worth including the Musical Concepts download at Amazon for $0.99 for the set. 

Same to you... Thanks! I'm hunting down information on the VOCES SQ4t at once. [Actually, I can't find any, on first searches. Could you help out with any link/info?]

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on September 18, 2017, 11:54:57 AM
That's a harsh stance on a quartet following LvB's initial intentions. (Re: Artemis)

Honoring LvB's original intentions is fine. But completely omitting a string quartet movement that Beethoven wrote during his mature period (and arguably ignoring his final intentions) is not fine in my book.

Quote
Really? Is the Brilliant re-release the Decca/Philips issue? I used to think so, and then somehow have come to consider it their first. That's good to know. (Any way I can check up on it? YES... I think it's part of my Brilliant LvB Box. That should do the trick. In any case, THANK YOU.

I don't have access to the box at the moment (it's in a storage unit in another town) but since I have a long record of mis-remembering things I tried to check. The best I came up with a listing on Amazon describes the set as DDD. If that is accurate it must be the Philips set, since the RCA set was done in the 60's and couldn't be DDD. Also, this listing identifies it as the Philips set.

http://www.allmusic.com/album/beethoven-string-quartets-mw0001564355

Quote
The Italian catch-all box I am not inclined to include, simply because I don't like catch-all boxes and I'd have to start a whole new line just for it. But I should make mention of it in the comments -- and will.

Fair enough, but some of your readers might like catch-all boxes. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on September 18, 2017, 12:09:18 PM
Actually, I can't find any, on first searches. Could you help out with any link/info?


HMV Japan (http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/artist_Beethoven-1770-1827_000000000034571/item_Complete-String-Quartets-Voces-String-Quartet-9CD_5170420)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: André on September 18, 2017, 03:31:37 PM
Deleted the prior post because it turns out the Orford are Canadian, and it appears they are named after Orford, Quebec.

Yes. Active 1965-1991. Quartet in residence at the Orford Music Festival. Resurrected as the New Orford String Quartet. Toronto Symphony's concertmaster Jonathan Crow is its current first violinist.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on September 18, 2017, 11:14:54 PM
Edit All suggested additions & edits made. Thanks once more for the keen eyes.

Out of curiosity, Todd: How did you ever hear about the Voces' LvB Cycle? That doesn't seem something one just stumbles about except, perhaps, in Romania... Do they have a pocket of fame? I didn't even make the association the Arriaga recording of them I have.


HMV Japan (http://www.hmv.co.jp/en/artist_Beethoven-1770-1827_000000000034571/item_Complete-String-Quartets-Voces-String-Quartet-9CD_5170420)

Got it! Thanks.

 


I don't have access to the box at the moment (it's in a storage unit in another town) but since I have a long record of mis-remembering things I tried to check. The best I came up with a listing on Amazon describes the set as DDD. If that is accurate it must be the Philips set, since the RCA set was done in the 60's and couldn't be DDD. Also, this listing identifies it as the Philips set.

http://www.allmusic.com/album/beethoven-string-quartets-mw0001564355


Got it. Will check with my set and make the changes necessary.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on September 19, 2017, 03:48:31 AM
Out of curiosity, Todd: How did you ever hear about the Voces' LvB Cycle?


I routinely peruse Japanese and other Asian retail sites for obscure recordings of core rep, particularly of Beethoven.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on September 19, 2017, 04:56:54 PM
Honoring LvB's original intentions is fine. But completely omitting a string quartet movement that Beethoven wrote during his mature period (and arguably ignoring his final intentions) is not fine in my book.


I've always understood the substitute finale to have been a necessary concession to his audience. Still it would be nice to include both and allow the listener to choose for themself.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on September 19, 2017, 05:14:23 PM
Discography note

The Artemis cycle was originally issued as individual CDs, one installment being a double CD,  with no attempt at chronological order.

The Belcea cycle was originally issued as two digipaks of 4 CDs each.

The Emerson Late Quartets were once issued in DG's Trio series.

I have no idea what current availability is for any of them.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on September 19, 2017, 09:48:04 PM
The Artemis single issues were not complete. I remember people being quite angry that they had to buy the box if they wanted op.74 (I think) because this had not been issued as a single or double.
The original issue of the Emerson was a 7-disc-box. Somewhat later came a double with the middle quartets in DG's Beethoven edition and a little after that the Trio with the late quartets as well as a single with op.132 and another one in the "DG century". The middle quartets have since then appeared in the "Duo" series and the whole box in the "postage stamp" series as well as in the Emerson DG omnibus box.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on September 20, 2017, 02:46:42 AM
Discography note

The Artemis cycle was originally issued as individual CDs, one installment being a double CD,  with no attempt at chronological order.

The Belcea cycle was originally issued as two digipaks of 4 CDs each.

The Emerson Late Quartets were once issued in DG's Trio series.

I have no idea what current availability is for any of them.

Dear Jeffrey,

thanks for that. For reasons of keeping the survey clear and navigable, I don't list every individ. installment of every cycle that's out there, unless a complete set cannot reasonably be gotten by.
I know there are a few exceptions, but really only where it's 1 set + 3 subsets (fitting neatly across one row) and/or if I recommend one part of that cycle, but not the whole. (Alexander II)

But thanks for the keen eyes!

The Artemis single issues were not complete. I remember people being quite angry ...


I remember that, too. That was a stupid move -- if it was intentional at all, which I almost doubt -- on Virgin's part.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Florestan on September 20, 2017, 03:37:26 AM

I routinely peruse Japanese and other Asian retail sites for obscure recordings of core rep, particularly of Beethoven.

I've been attending the Voces Quartet live concerts for years now (the original violist died a few years ago and was replaced). The play mostly Haydn, with some Mozart tossed in for variation. This is not a criticism, mind you, just an observation. Their playing is no-nonsense, poised and beautiful. Their personae are unassuming, gentle and humorous. They always offer an encore. Trully classical types, I'd say.

Oh, and another observation: the hall is (sometimes much) less than half-empty at their concerts than at the concerts of the Romanian NRSO, the latter being almost full. Yet, they never deliver anything else than obviously committed performances.

EDIT: I'd be greatly interested in your review of their Beethoven cycle, if and when you plan to listen to it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on September 20, 2017, 04:54:53 AM
I've been attending the Voces Quartet live concerts for years now (the original violist died a few years ago and was replaced). The play mostly Haydn, with some Mozart tossed in for variation. This is not a criticism, mind you, just an observation. Their playing is no-nonsense, poised and beautiful. Their personae are unassuming, gentle and humorous. They always offer an encore. Trully classical types, I'd say.

Oh, and another observation: the hall is (sometimes much) less than half-empty at their concerts than at the concerts of the Romanian NRSO, the latter being almost full. Yet, they never deliver anything else than obviously committed performances.

EDIT: I'd be greatly interested in your review of their Beethoven cycle, if and when you plan to listen to it.

Chamber music recitals are hard to fill... in Bucharest just as much as in Vienna. Only a few cities seem to be real chamber music cities; Washington D.C. comes to mind, which was an awesome dozen years of amazing concerts and amazing audiences.

I'm afraid I won't likely be listening to that cycle, since it's low on priority and high in expense. But perhaps Todd will give us a review if he has it or plans on getting it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Florestan on September 20, 2017, 05:02:02 AM
Chamber music recitals are hard to fill... in Bucharest just as much as in Vienna.

I don't know about Vienna, but in Bucharest a chamber music recital will fill somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 hall --- and it's a pitty, because more often than not they're better than the symphonic ones, at least for my ears. But then again, 75% of my listening time is devoted to chamber music so I might perhaps be biased.

Quote
perhaps Todd will give us a review if he has it or plans on getting it.

My thoughts exactly.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on September 20, 2017, 05:17:56 AM
My thoughts exactly.


At this time, I do not plan on buying the set.  The Voces Quartet do have a YouTube channel, so interested listeners can sample their playing completely free from guilt, if that's a problem.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Florestan on September 20, 2017, 05:44:49 AM
At this time, I do not plan on buying the set.  The Voces Quartet do have a YouTube channel, so interested listeners can sample their playing completely free from guilt, if that's a problem.

Thanks for the useful Youtube tip.

AFAIC, there is no problem at all. It's just that, given your well-documented propensity to listen to, and review, obscure Beethoven recordings (obscure as in not widely known or marketed, not as in any indication of quality) I (wrongly) assumed you might have had a chance to listen to Voces' Beethoven.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on September 20, 2017, 05:51:38 AM
AFAIC, there is no problem at all. It's just that, given your well-documented propensity to listen to, and review, obscure Beethoven recordings (obscure as in not widely known or marketed, not as in any indication of quality) I (wrongly) assumed you might have had a chance to listen to Voces' Beethoven.


I did write "at this time".  Right now, piano sonatas and violin sonatas remain my main LvB foci.  That may change when I run out of recordings of my current foci.  That's almost the case with the former.  Basically, there are only four currently available sonata cycles that I do not possess, and of those, two do not interest me.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Florestan on September 20, 2017, 05:57:27 AM
I did write "at this time". 

Oh, sorry, I must have missed that. So many posts here.  :D

Quote
Right now, piano sonatas and violin sonatas remain my main LvB foci.  That may change when I run out of recordings of my current foci.  That's almost the case with the former.  Basically, there are only four currently available sonata cycles that I do not possess, and of those, two do not interest me.

Why? I'd have thought you were an omnivorous animal when it came to Beethoven.  :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on September 20, 2017, 06:02:37 AM
Why? I'd have thought you were an omnivorous animal when it came to Beethoven.  :)


Easy, the cycle with Malcolm Bilson includes multiple pianists, which doesn't interest me at all, and based on Shoko Sugitani's LvB concerto cycle, I am not willing to pay the high price necessary to get her sonata cycle.  If it is reissued as a bargain box, I'll snap it up.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Florestan on September 20, 2017, 06:05:58 AM

Easy, the cycle with Malcolm Bilson includes multiple pianists, which doesn't interest me at all, and based on Shoko Sugitani's LvB concerto cycle, I am not willing to pay the high price necessary to get her sonata cycle.  If it is reissued as a bargain box, I'll snap it up.

Fair cop, sir! I stand corrected.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: (: premont :) on September 20, 2017, 12:45:11 PM

Easy, the cycle with Malcolm Bilson includes multiple pianists, which doesn't interest me at all,..

Well, it is still Beethoven after all (isn't this what you are looking for), and some of the pianists - not the least Bilson himself - are certainly worth a listen, and the release is also organologically interesting.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on September 20, 2017, 12:49:46 PM
Well, it is still Beethoven after all (isn't this what you are looking for)


It's not what I'm looking for; what I'm looking for is how one pianist interprets the entire cycle.  (Allowances are made for things like dying before the cycle could be completed.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on September 20, 2017, 04:50:40 PM
The Artemis single issues were not complete. I remember people being quite angry that they had to buy the box if they wanted op.74 (I think) because this had not been issued as a single or double.
The original issue of the Emerson was a 7-disc-box. Somewhat later came a double with the middle quartets in DG's Beethoven edition and a little after that the Trio with the late quartets as well as a single with op.132 and another one in the "DG century". The middle quartets have since then appeared in the "Duo" series and the whole box in the "postage stamp" series as well as in the Emerson DG omnibus box.

Bah humbug. I never noticed that until now!  But it is op 74 that is missing (I just checked my copies).  Too bad, as I have no intention of buying the set since I have the individual CDs.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on September 29, 2017, 05:03:18 AM
I've completed my most ambitious discography to-date:


A Survey of Beethoven String Quartet Cycles
(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VYQWtbpDv9Q/UPQjw3NPXEI/AAAAAAAAFro/1OCHnnTJ3H8/s1600/Beethoven_basic_laurson_600.jpg)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html)

A heck of a lot of work -- and VERY appreciative of any corrections and additions! (Todd!?!)

Updated: With the Cleveland Quartet's first cycle on RCA, which I had overlooked.

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html)

This means there are now 68 cycles listed, 62 of which are truly complete.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on September 29, 2017, 05:13:43 AM
Updated: With the Cleveland Quartet's first cycle on RCA, which I had overlooked.


I didn't even know about that one.  Thanks, now I have another unicorn to chase.  Writing of unicorns, per Tully Potter, the Beethoven Quartet recorded a complete cycle in stereo (http://thebeethovenproject.com/exploring-the-beethoven-quartets-on-disc-many-paths-to-nirvana/), but it never made it outside the USSR.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on September 29, 2017, 06:27:11 AM

I didn't even know about that one.  Thanks, now I have another unicorn to chase.  Writing of unicorns, per Tully Potter, the Beethoven Quartet recorded a complete cycle in stereo (http://thebeethovenproject.com/exploring-the-beethoven-quartets-on-disc-many-paths-to-nirvana/), but it never made it outside the USSR.

Intriguing. Must have been recorded between 1965 and 1977. And then there's the Quatuor Schaeffer / Schäffer Quartett, which recorded a cycle in very early stereo. I'm finding traces and a few pix in internet searches -- and Forgotten Records seems to have re-issued it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on September 29, 2017, 06:50:36 AM
and Forgotten Records seems to have re-issued it.


A French outfit, huh?  Figures.  The French and the Japanese do reissues better than everyone else.  I perused some of the catalog and noticed the Pascal and Koeckert quartets have some reissues, and some LvB Cello Sonatas with Maurice Gendron and Jean Francaix (!) are available, too.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SwanLake on October 06, 2017, 01:23:55 PM
I don't know, but it's a quite magnificent set and deservedly praised.

I just ordered the this set.  Looking forward to hearing it.  My favorite is still the Telarc recordings of the Cleveland Quartet.  I also love the Quartetto Italiano on Philips
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SwanLake on October 06, 2017, 02:12:02 PM
I also have the Borodin on Chandos and it is very nice too.  Love all of the sets.  I can't pick a favorite really
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SwanLake on October 06, 2017, 03:32:42 PM
 >:D
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Parsifal on October 06, 2017, 03:40:49 PM
Don't overlook the Vermeer! (on Teldec, now Warner)

(I can hear all of the groans emanating from throughout the world as I make this comment...)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on October 07, 2017, 03:51:53 AM
I've completed my most ambitious discography to-date:


A Survey of Beethoven String Quartet Cycles
(https://1.bp.blogspot.com/-VYQWtbpDv9Q/UPQjw3NPXEI/AAAAAAAAFro/1OCHnnTJ3H8/s1600/Beethoven_basic_laurson_600.jpg)
http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/09/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html)

A heck of a lot of work -- and VERY appreciative of any corrections and additions! (Todd!?!)

(https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DLiHYHUXkAEEx9D.jpg)

Update: Melodiya has, prompted by this survey, checked the archives and found the Beethoven Quartet cycle and is discussing internally as to giving it its first digital (re)issue. Neato.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SwanLake on October 07, 2017, 10:53:47 AM
I hope so.  I would love to hear them.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Todd on December 02, 2017, 05:26:50 PM
I stumbled upon another cycle today: The Shanghai Quartet on Camerata.  Discography here. (http://shanghaiquartet.com/recordings/)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on December 02, 2017, 05:44:22 PM
I stumbled upon another cycle today: The Shanghai Quartet on Camerata.  Discography here. (http://shanghaiquartet.com/recordings/)

Thanks!!



A Survey of Beethoven String Quartet Cycles

http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/10/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html (http://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/10/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: kishnevi on December 02, 2017, 07:40:58 PM
I stumbled upon another cycle today: The Shanghai Quartet on Camerata.  Discography here. (http://shanghaiquartet.com/recordings/)

I have the CD with Op. 59/2 and 3--I recognize the cover. It's probably a decade since I last listened to it, but I remember nothing distinctive about it, either yea nor nay. I didn't realize they did a full cycle.

If I can figure out which box it's packed up in, I'll give it a fresh listen and report back.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Josquin13 on December 02, 2017, 11:18:39 PM
Here's my personal list of favorite recordings:

Among Beethoven String Quartet recordings & cycles made during the analog and digital eras (non-historical), here's what I've liked most, with the modern and period recordings grouped separately (& with an asterisk* placed next to my special favorites):

I. Early String Quartets--Op. 18, 1-6

*Gewandhaus Quartett--1-6
*Takács Quartet--1-6, fortunately, Decca has newly remastered the set, but I haven't heard it yet.
Alban Berg Quartett--1-6, *1st EMI studio recording--if EMI ever bothers to remaster it. I was slightly less keen on their live Op. 18 set in Vienna.
Parkanyi Quartet--Op. 18/no. 4 (formerly the Orlando Quartet)

(I'd like to hear the recent Op. 18 set from the Jerusalem Quartet, whose Haydn I've enjoyed.)

*Schuppanzigh Quartett (period)--Op. 18/4--in my opinion, this is one of the finest string quartets today, period or otherwise (along with the Chiaroscuro SQ.):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DCPXTQG3qts



Quatour Mosaïques (period set)
Quatour Turner (period set):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWika3H7efY

II. Middle Quartets--Rasumovsky Quartets Op. 59 nos. 1-3, Op. 74 "Harp", and Op. 95

*Smetana Quartet--Denon cycle.
*Gewandhaus Quartett
*Takács Quartet
*Parkanyi Quartet--Op. 95
Melos Quartett
Talich Quartet
Alban Berg Quartett (both their 1st studio recording--if EMI ever bothers to remaster it, and their live EMI recordings in Vienna.)
Borodin Quartet--who offer an older, more romantic style of playing.
Lindsay Quartet--I've liked the spirit of the Lindsay's 1st & 2nd recordings of the Op. 74 "Harp" quartet (though their intonation isn't always secure).

*Schuppanzigh Quartett--Op. 59/No.3 (period)--another remarkable performance from this brilliant quartet:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMO6sceJlLM

*Chiaroscuro Quartet--Op. 95
Quatour Turner--Opp. 59 1-3, Op. 74 "Harp" (period)
Kuijken Quartet--Opp. 59 1-3 (period--EDIT: I've been corrected--see below, as the Kuijkens play on modern instruments, but offer decidedly HIP interpretations.)

III. Late Quartets--Opp. 127, 130, 131, 132, Grosse Fuge 133, 135

*Smetana Quartet--Denon Cycle--these are very special.
*Takács Quartet--newly remastered.
*Gewandhaus Quartett--for their clarity and refined ensemble, as in the Grosse fuge, etc.  The Gewandhaus Quartett claims to play in a tradition passed down from Beethoven's time, when a much older incarnation of the group premiered his quartets.
Alban Berg Quartett--two sets: 1st studio EMI set--digital, and *2nd EMI set live from Vienna)
*Quartetto Italiano--for their beautiful adagios.
*Suske Quartett--more of the older Gewandhaus tradition.
Fitzwilliam Quartet--Opp. 130, 132, 133 (on the Australian Eloquence label)
Talich Quartet
Smetana Quartet--1960s cycle, on Supraphon Archiv.  This is a very good set, but I prefer the Smetana's later Denon recordings.
Melos Quartett

Other than the Eroica Quartet in Op. 135 (which I don't recommend), there aren't many other period groups that have recorded Beethoven's late quartets.  Though the Quatour Mosaïques latest set will be arriving in the mail soon.  There's also a very fine recording of Opp. 130 & 133 on period instruments from the Edding Quartet:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fRbQPilcIos



And, a Op. 132 from Quatour Terpsychordes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=81d0ACnc8oE

Next up for me is the Tokyo Quartet's 1st RCA/Sony 'super bargain' cycle (it's a new arrival).  So far, I've liked the brilliant playing their 1st violinist, who tends to stand out.

A new cycle of interest: Earlier this year, I heard the Elias Quartet play a Beethoven SQ live in concert, and was very impressed, especially with their 1st violinist, Sarah Bitloch, who has a real affinity for Beethoven's music. (For me, the 1st violinist is crucial in Beethoven's SQs.)  The Elias Quartet has recorded the whole cycle live at Wigmore Hall, and they're gradually releasing their set in individual volumes on the Wigmore live label.  (I'm also keeping an eye on the Merel String Quartet, who Alfred Brendel has spoken highly of, and whose Mozart I thought was first rate.  Their Beethoven can be heard on YT.)









Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Spineur on December 02, 2017, 11:30:47 PM
Quote
(I'd like to hear the recent Op. 18 set from the Jerusalem Quartet, whose
Haydn I've enjoyed.)

They have my favorite recording of the Op. 18.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: amw on December 03, 2017, 12:36:54 AM
The Kuijken Quartet's middle quartets are played on modern instruments, for....... some reason. Which is always somewhat frustrating lol. The Turner Quartet also only recorded one of the Razoumovskys (no.3).

In terms of choices:
Op. 18 - Turner Quartet, Juilliard Quartet [1964-70], Budapest Quartet [1951-2], Terpsycordes (18/6), Smetana on BBC Legends (18/1)
Op. 59 - Juilliard Quartet [1964-70], Smetana on Denon (59/1 and 59/2), Guarneri on RCA (59/3), Hagen Quartet (59/1 and 59/2)
Op. 74 - Turner Quartet, Végh Quartet [1974], Leipzig Quartet
Op. 95 - Hagen Quartet, Chiaroscuro Quartet, Emerson Quartet [1988]
Op. 127 - Smetana Quartet [Denon], Hungarian Quartet [1950s]
Op. 132 - Belcea Quartet, Terpsycordes Quartet, Hagen Quartet, Busch Quartet [Warner]
Op. 130/133 - Hagen Quartet
Op. 130 [with substitute finale] - Busch Quartet [Arbiter], Takács Quartet
Op. 131 - Brooklyn Rider, Busch Quartet [Warner]
Op. 135 - Leipzig Quartet, Petersen Quartet, Zehetmair Quartet

Also current list of cycles I have in my possession and/or plan to listen to imminently, asterisks are those I haven't listened to before:

Budapest Quartet '51
Budapest Quartet '60s *
Alban Berg studio [op. 18, 59, 74, 95 *]
Alban Berg live *
Takács [op. 59, 74, 95 *]
Emerson
Hungarian '50s
Hungarian '60s *
Cleveland Telarc
Leipzig
Lindsay ASV *
Végh 1974
Pražák *
Hollywood late quartets *
Hagen partial cycle (op. 18/2, 18/6, 59/3 and 74 missing) [op. 18/4, 131 *]
Petersen partial cycle (op. 59, 74 & 95 missing)
Jerusalem op. 18 *
Brentano late quartets *
Mosaïques late quartets
Vermeer *
Artemis *

(not in order but I am currently in the midst of comparing the two Budapest cycles at the top of the list)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 03, 2017, 04:07:02 AM
Op. 131 - Brooklyn Rider

WTF is that?

(https://media.npr.org/assets/img/2014/09/17/brooklyn-rider_almanac_promo-1-2-_wide-c29aaf553792c497d07b4cf29113bea9963b0487.jpg?s=1400)

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: amw on December 03, 2017, 04:09:53 AM
(http://78.media.tumblr.com/5c8daa56fc5792a953d11f3f004e9a41/tumblr_nbg0ecDRR31tjl4i6o1_r1_1280.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Josquin13 on December 03, 2017, 10:01:38 AM
amw writes, "The Kuijken Quartet's middle quartets are played on modern instruments, for....... some reason"

I'm listening to their recording right now. Goodness, you're right.  My mistake.  I can see why I assumed otherwise (other than that the Kuijkens always play on period instruments), as they're performing as if they're playing period instruments (by using minimal vibrato, shorter phrases, etc.).  Indeed, the smaller scale of their approach & more intimate projection sounds decidedly HIP, but you're right, they're definitely playing modern instruments.  It's very fine playing though.

To add to my post above, here are the sets & recordings that I've not heard on modern instruments: those by the Cleveland, Auryn, Artis, Leipzig (mostly), Elias, Belcea (whose Schubert I didn't care for), Alexander 1 & 2, Cypress, Ysaye, Hungarian, Vlach, Peterson, Vermeer, Orford, Amadeus, Henschel, VOCES, Taneyev, Colorado, Sine Nomine, Kodaly, Medici, Yale, Fine Arts, Brodsky, Zehetmair, & Artemis Quartets (though I'd like to see the Artemis Quartet record a 2nd cycle with their wonderful new 1st violinist, Vineta Sareika--formerly of Trio Dali).  I also wish the Chilingirian Quartet had recorded some of Beethoven's quartets before they called it quits, as I've enjoyed their Mozart, Haydn, & Schubert over the years.

And, I'm still a little on the fence or undecided about the 'in progress' cycle from the Hagen Quartett (started on DG and now on Myrios), and (likewise) probably need to listen to the Emersons again, as it's been a long time.

As for the rest (be warned, these are just my opinions!), I disliked what I've heard of the Guarneri Quartet's RCA and Phillips cycles (finding them slick--with technically impressive but rather facile phrasing in places), Juilliard Quartet (I can't be the only one that hears intonation problems with this group, can I?), Budapest Quartet (it's been decades since I've heard them, but I remember a composer friend once warned me that their Beethoven can sound like they're playing on out of tune instruments, despite what insights they offer), the Lindsay Quartet (except for their Op. 74--I can like the Lindsey's spirit at times, but it gets interrupted by their lapses in intonation, which seems to cause disagreements... ), Vegh Quartet (I can find their playing kind of rough, in a earthy way--and occasionally lacking in ensemble?, but realize that others think they get to the heart and soul of the music.  I tend to prefer more refinement).  I also didn't overly care for the one disc I bought by Quartetto di Cremona (finding their playing exaggerated, and their slow movements not beautiful enough), or recordings by the Endellion Quartet (I disliked their Op. 132--which I tend to use as a measuring stick), La Salle Quartet (I find their somewhat cool, smoothly detached style ill-suited to the late quartets, though others seem to like them), and Prazak Quartet (a good Czech group, but for some reason, in Beethoven, they have a tendency to over stress & bring too much emphasis to the accents, which can make the music sound exaggerated at times; it can also cause their playing to become a little rough occasionally).

Finally, one more quartet that I've got my eye on is the Ebene Quartet, whose late Beethoven on You Tube has impressed me:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yB556rRO0AE

I've also heard good things about the Artis Quartett (whose Magnard SQ recording was very good.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Spineur on December 03, 2017, 10:13:19 AM
Quote
I disliked what I've heard of the Guarneri Quartet's RCA and Phillips cycles (finding them slick, or what is the opposite of un-insightful, technically proficient but overly facile phrasing?)

I dont have the recordings but I attended a serie of their concerts where they did the entire cycle live in the 80s.  This was perhaps my strongest personnal concert experience in term of emotions going through to an audience.  I looked for their recordings on CDs at the time but could not find them so I got the ABsq instead.  I probably should get the recordings as a souvenir of memorable concerts (and period of my life)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Josquin13 on December 03, 2017, 10:29:05 AM
Mandryka--It should arrive in the mail any day now, so we'll find out.  Though I didn't feel that way about their early Op. 18 quartets. 

I don't really see the LaSalle Quartet's Late Quartets as in a HIP vein, do you?  I recall that you liked them.  I've liked them too (in Schoenberg, Webern & other 20th century composers), but not so much in late Beethoven.  (But I'll try to listen to them again, as I've only heard the set once.)

Spineur--You may be interested to know that you can buy the whole OOP Guarneri Phillips cycle in a box set released by the Universal Eloquence label (though it can be hard to find now, so you may have to go to Amazon.de).  The AMSI remasters are exceptional--which made me even more disappointed that I didn't care for their playing; however, you may like them more than I did, as they certainly have a following:

https://www.amazon.de/Beethoven-Streichquartette-Eloquence-Guarneri-Quartet/dp/B001SWNTVQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1512325559&sr=8-2&keywords=guarneri+beethoven



Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 03, 2017, 10:51:26 AM
Mandryka--It should arrive in the mail any day now, so we'll find out.  Though I didn't feel that way about their early Op. 18 quartets. 

I don't really see the LaSalle Quartet's Late Quartets as in a HIP vein, do you?  I recall that you liked them.  I've liked them too (in Schoenberg, Webern & other 20th century composers), but not so much in late Beethoven.  (But I'll try to listen to them again, as I've only heard the set once.)

Spineur--You may be interested to know that you can buy the whole OOP Guarneri Phillips cycle in a box set released by the Universal Eloquence label (though it can be hard to find now, so you may have to go to Amazon.de).  The AMSI remasters are exceptional--which made me even more disappointed that I didn't care for their playing; however, you may like them more than I did, as they certainly have a following:

https://www.amazon.de/Beethoven-Streichquartette-Eloquence-Guarneri-Quartet/dp/B001SWNTVQ/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1512325559&sr=8-2&keywords=guarneri+beethoven



I deleted that post because I may be being unfair, one thing I've learned over the years is that sometimes performances which don't make a big impact through obvious in your face expressive interventions turn out to be the most rewarding for repeated listening.

Re LaSalle, what caught my attention was a live op 132 with an exceptionally fast slow movement, faster than their commercial release. I can't remember about any other Beethoven recording by them.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 03, 2017, 10:56:05 AM
(http://78.media.tumblr.com/5c8daa56fc5792a953d11f3f004e9a41/tumblr_nbg0ecDRR31tjl4i6o1_r1_1280.jpg)

Hahaha! I just listened to the fugue.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: amw on December 04, 2017, 05:46:42 AM
amw writes, "The Kuijken Quartet's middle quartets are played on modern instruments, for....... some reason"

I'm listening to their recording right now. Goodness, you're right.  My mistake.  I can see why I assumed otherwise (other than that the Kuijkens always play on period instruments), as they're performing as if they're playing period instruments (by using minimal vibrato, shorter phrases, etc.).  Indeed, the smaller scale of their approach & more intimate projection sounds decidedly HIP, but you're right, they're definitely playing modern instruments.  Got fooled again.  It's very fine playing though, nevertheless.
Agree. I haven't bought it because I'm still salty about the modern instruments, but I probably will, lol.

Quote
To add to my post above, here are the sets & recordings that I've not heard on modern instruments: those by the Cleveland, Auryn, Artis, Leipzig (mostly), Elias, Belcea (whose Schubert I didn't care for), Alexander 1 & 2, Cypress, Ysaye, Hungarian, Vlach, Peterson, Vermeer, Orford, Amadeus, Henschel, VOCES, Taneyev, Colorado, Sine Nomine, Kodaly, Medici, Yale, Fine Arts, Brodsky, Zehetmair, & Artemis Quartets (though I'd like to see the Artemis Quartet record a 2nd cycle with their wonderful new 1st violinist, Vineta Sareika--formerly of Trio Dali).
Cleveland: consistently very good
Auryn: have not heard any of because Tacet is a hecking expensive label
Artis: have not heard, did not know existed—there seems to be only one volume?
Leipzig: superb, includes some of my favourite recordings
Elias: still in progress, very "old-style" in playing, sort of reminiscent of the Budapest Qt
Belcea: superb across the board but if you didn't like Pražák or Cremona you won't like them either
Alexander 1: sort of like Quartetto Italiano?? need to revisit though
Alexander 2: like if Lindsay 2 had good intonation—very comprehensively rethought
Cypress: very solid and refined, I think the middle quartets were the best, also need to revisit
Ysaye: have not heard, did not know they completed a cycle??
Hungarian 1: probably the best ensemble work you'll hear all year, also much better intonation than the Budapests
Hungarian 2: just starting to look into it but apparently it's as good as Hungarian 1, except in stereo?? also OOP?? nice
Vlach: have not heard
Petersen: tend to dig deep interpretively, but you might have intonation issues
Vermeer: MOR, romantically tinged set, played with absolute commitment—a sleeper
Orford: have not heard
Amadeus: have not heard
Henschel: have not heard
Voces: have not heard, also seems to be hard to get
Taneyev: slow, heavy, patrician, with sublime moments
Colorado: average, claims to have "all marked repeats" but skips the second half repeat in Op. 135/iv (which to be fair is optional but still. false advertising), no real issues though
Sine Nomine: great sounding ensemble, full blooded, Schumannesque
Kodaly: pretty good as far as I know, sometimes underpowered
Medici: intonation & ensemble aren't always perfect but interpretations also good and MOR
Yale: see Juilliard 1960s.... basically just really solid & straightforward
Fine Arts: have not heard
Brodsky: have not heard
Zehetmair: as far as I know there's still only one, Op.135, on a 2CD set that's worth the price of admission just for the only recording of Heinz Holliger's 2nd String Quartet (if you like post-serial contemporary music)
Artemis: really top-notch as far as I can tell, but have yet to hear any complete quartets

Quote
As for the rest (be warned, these are just my opinions!), I disliked what I've heard of the Guarneri Quartet's RCA and Phillips cycles (finding them slick--with technically proficient but overly facile phrasing, at times)
I've only heard 59/3 from the RCA set and don't know the Phillips one.... it's not all that high on the list either. The RCA 59/3 probably appeals to me because their one-size-fits-all artistic approach of playing the slow movements really slow and the fast movements really fast happens to work well for that quartet. >.>

Quote
Juilliard Quartet (I can't be the only one that hears intonation problems with this group, can I?)
There are intonation problems (probably more so in Juilliard 2 than Juilliard 1, as Robert Mann was older by then.... flawless intonation didn't happen until Joel Smirnoff took over and by then the quartet's interpretations were much more boring) but I personally don't mind them. Quartets never play in equal temperament in my experience so I guess I have high tolerance.

Quote
Budapest Quartet (it's been decades since I've heard them, but I remember a composer friend once warned me that their Beethoven can sound like they're playing on out of tune instruments, despite whatever insights they offer)
Yes.
Quote
the Lindsay Quartet (except for their Op. 74--I can like the Lindsey's spirit at times, but it gets interrupted by their lapses in intonation, which seems to cause disagreements... ?)
I've only heard their second cycle, which does indeed have a lot of intonation problems as well as rather extreme micro-phrasing. The first cycle is supposed to be better.

Quote
Vegh Quartet (I can find their playing kind of rough, in a earthy way--and occasionally lacking in ensemble?, but realize that others think they get to the very heart and soul of the matter.  As for myself, I tend to prefer more refinement).
That's fair. If I had to recommend just one cycle to someone it would not be the Végh 2, but it's probably my personal favourite.

Quote
I also didn't overly care for the one disc I bought by Quartetto di Cremona (finding their playing exaggerated, and their slow movements not beautiful enough)
I like them, but yes, refinement.
Quote
or recordings by the Endellion Quartet (I disliked their Op. 132--which I tend to use as a measuring stick, & that was enough for me)
Also not very refined. I like a certain amount of grit, sweat, breath and tears so yes I like them also.

Quote
La Salle Quartet (I find their somewhat cool, smoothly detached style very ill-suited to the late quartets, though others seem to like them)
Don't know the commercial recordings but the bootleg Op. 132 is indeed good
Quote
and Prazak Quartet (a good Czech group, but for some reason, in Beethoven, they have a tendency to over stress or bring too much emphasis to the accents, which can make the music sound overly exaggerated at times; it can also cause their playing to become a little rough occasionally).
Have not heard but it's extremely high on my list.

Quote
Finally, one more quartet that I've got my eye on is the Ebene Quartet, whose late Beethoven on You Tube has impressed me:
If they ever do any studio Beethoven I am here for it.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on December 04, 2017, 06:16:10 AM
The Hungarian stereo (I have not heard the mono one, but as the box is so cheap I will eventually get it) has supposedly intonation issues from the first violin and slower/more mainstream tempi but better sound and generally more variety (tempi, flexibility, tone colors). The mono cycle seems very fast and straightforward (sort of like Toscanini).
It was in a cheapo box with 40 or 50 discs of Beethoven and also available as a cheap separate box (plus some more chamber music) from EMI France. ASIN : B000050470
Unfortunately both these boxes seem out of print, so no cheapo option anymore.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 17, 2017, 11:12:18 AM
Did the Borodin Quartet record op 131 with Kopelman?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on December 17, 2017, 11:32:10 AM
Did the Borodin Quartet record op 131 with Kopelman?

Yes, I think.

Once for Melodiya/Eurodisc, coupled with Haydn's op.64/5 (1969?) and apparently once before that, in mono, in 1963 (?) on Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga... which would suggest some Melodiya/Export invovlement.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on December 17, 2017, 12:09:48 PM
I have a 1969 Melodya LP with Op 64/5, but the coupling is Beethoven op 95, and the first violinist is Dubinsky.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51m7dA8AyJL._SY450_.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on December 17, 2017, 12:42:40 PM
I have a 1969 Melodya LP with Op 64/5, but the coupling is Beethoven op 95, and the first violinist is Dubinsky.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51m7dA8AyJL._SY450_.jpg)

You are right, of course... both those recordings would be with Dubinsky; for that long period between, there seems NOT to be a recording of op.131, after all.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Gurn Blanston on December 17, 2017, 04:50:42 PM
Agree. I haven't bought it because I'm still salty about the modern instruments, but I probably will, lol.

I bet you aren't as salty as me; I bought it, opened it and read the liner notes, and put it back on the shelf unlistened-to for the nonce. I felt like they sold me out. For all I know, it is the finest reading ever recorded... >:(

8)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: NJ Joe on December 18, 2017, 05:34:22 AM
(http://78.media.tumblr.com/5c8daa56fc5792a953d11f3f004e9a41/tumblr_nbg0ecDRR31tjl4i6o1_r1_1280.jpg)

I enjoy this entire disc immensely.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty 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.

Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Baron Scarpia 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on January 16, 2018, 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.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on January 16, 2018, 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."
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on January 18, 2018, 10:43:43 PM
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.

In the variations movement the idea of the March gets parodied relentlessly.

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."

And, as a consequence, people started raping this piece by making big orchestrations out of this intimate sublime piece of quartet writing.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The One on January 19, 2018, 01:09:06 AM

And, as a consequence, people started raping this piece by making big orchestrations out of this intimate sublime piece of quartet writing.

Have you tried Mosaiques Quartet's take. You can hardly listen to a better one,
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on January 19, 2018, 01:16:24 AM
Which march?  I hear some serenade-style textures and embellishments in the op.131 variations but nothing alla marcia. The only thing remotely march-like in this quartet is the finale and this is certainly dead serious and no parody whatsoever. The little alla marcia in op.132 might be understood as a parody. But this also between two completely serious movements.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on January 19, 2018, 08:38:49 AM
Have you tried Mosaiques Quartet's take. You can hardly listen to a better one,

No, not yet.

Today I listened to the terrific Juilliard recording from 1969.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Baron Scarpia on January 19, 2018, 08:45:31 AM
Have you tried Mosaiques Quartet's take. You can hardly listen to a better worse one,

A typo, I assume. :)

I find my self stunned reading that they had come up in Harnoncourt's ensemble since their playing, insipid and lacking character, is the polar opposite of Harnoncourt's approach to music.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on January 19, 2018, 08:56:37 AM
A typo, I assume. :)

I find my self stunned reading that they had come up in Harnoncourt's ensemble since their playing, insipid and lacking character, is the polar opposite of Harnoncourt's approach to music.

Baron Scarpia crusading against the Quatuor Mosaiques with his battle ax, today.  ;D

You've really got it out for them. Not just their Beethoven then, but the ensemble generally?

(You do know that's rather a minority opinion, though?)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Baron Scarpia on January 19, 2018, 09:01:12 AM
Baron Scarpia crusading against the Quatuor Mosaiques with his battle ax, today.  ;D

You've really got it out for them. Not just their Beethoven then, but the ensemble generally?

(You do know that's rather a minority opinion, though?)

Can't fault their playing, technically, but I find it dreary. I had their big Mozart set and sold it for a pittance. Little did I know it would go out of print soon after and fetch a kings ransom on the used market.

I find their playing whiney. For a period instrument string quartet I much prefer the Festetics. And yes, every time I mention the Festetics I get a bunch of self-important replies politely pointing out that the Mosaiques "are considered superior." Not by me.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on January 19, 2018, 09:03:44 AM
Can't fault their playing, technically, but I find it dreary. I had their big Mozart set and sold it for a pittance. Little did I know it would go out of print soon after and fetch a kings ransom on the used market.

I find their playing whiney. For a period instrument string quartet I much prefer the Festetics. And yes, every time I mention the Festetics I get a bunch of self-important replies politely pointing out that the Mosaiques "are considered superior." Not by me.

Perfectly fine to step out of line.  :D (How dare you!)
 I was just checking because you seemed so particularly sure that your sentiment that no more than moderate enjoyment could to be taken from the QM would fall on fertile ground.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Baron Scarpia on January 19, 2018, 09:19:57 AM
Perfectly fine to step out of line.  :D (How dare you!)
 I was just checking because you seemed so particularly sure that your sentiment that no more than moderate enjoyment could to be taken from the QM would fall on fertile ground.

Obviously people will decide for themselves what they prefer. There is no objective criteria by which I can criticize the Mosaiques' playing, except that they strike me as "unmusical," which is a matter of taste.

However I can point out that they have left out the final finale composed by Beethoven for Op 130. I find it absolutely fine that they think the Grosse Fuge is a more suitable finale, but there I find no justification whatever for failing to record Beethoven's own finale, which is after all an undeniably superb movement for string quartet written by Beethoven during his almost god-like "Late Period." So there is an objective argument I can make that they are self-important assholes that put their own notions over those of Beethoven himself.

I kick myself for letting curiosity get the better of me, prompting me to buy this set at all. 
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The One on January 19, 2018, 09:32:18 AM
A typo, I assume. :)

I find my self stunned reading that they had come up in Harnoncourt's ensemble since their playing, insipid and lacking character, is the polar opposite of Harnoncourt's approach to music.

OK. You shared and you have been sharing what you think about them and everybody knows your opinion now. Could you leave it alone from now on?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Baron Scarpia on January 19, 2018, 09:36:44 AM
OK. You shared and you have been sharing what you think about them and everybody knows your opinion now. Could you leave it alone from now on?

Will you agree not the share how much you like them? I plunked down my hard-earned cash for it. That gives me a ticket to ride, I think. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The One on January 19, 2018, 09:37:52 AM
There is no objective criteria by which I can criticize the Mosaiques' playing, except that they strike me as "unmusical," which is a matter of taste.

Actually there are. Performance is a science and since we know almost everything about Beethoven's time it is quite easy. But yes, you can say that they play as Beethoven intended or were loyal to the score or whatever and I don't like it that way, that is taste and as you say it is fine, too. We can discuss it when you are able to leave your opinions at the door :). and yes you don't like mosaiques...do not listen to them :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The One on January 19, 2018, 09:40:37 AM
Will you agree not the share how much you like them? I plunked down my hard-earned cash for it. That gives me a ticket to ride, I think. :)
They are most probably the most consistent PI quartet around... Listen to their 14 after/in between listening to a few more of his compositions from that time. Yes, there are problems with the rest of QM's late quartets set, and I've mentioned that somewhere, but their 14 is good :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Baron Scarpia on January 19, 2018, 09:41:01 AM
Actually there are. Performance is a science and since we know almost everything about Beethoven's time it is quite easy.

Somehow ROTFL doesn't quite capture it. You've deluded yourself into thinking your taste is a science. How special for you!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The One on January 19, 2018, 09:43:03 AM
but 14 is good :)

or not :). But you should begin to learn to take responsibility of your money, assuming that you are past adolescence. You know they say adolescence ends at 24 years of age these days
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The One on January 19, 2018, 09:43:36 AM
Somehow ROTFL doesn't quite capture it. You've deluded yourself into thinking your taste is a science. How special for you!

That attitude won't help you. Anyway, I stop communicating with you as of now. But if you want to read some books on performance, I have quite a few and would be more than happy to share with you, which could ease your burden of spent money
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Baron Scarpia on January 19, 2018, 09:48:18 AM
Actually there are. Performance is a science and since we know almost everything about Beethoven's time it is quite easy.

We don't know almost everything about our own time. People argue about how the Rite of Spring should be performed. We have a recording by the man who conducted the premier and Stravinsky recorded it himself. People claim he didn't do it right. :)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on January 19, 2018, 10:46:29 AM

However I can point out that they have left out the final finale composed by Beethoven for Op 130. I find it absolutely fine that they think the Grosse Fuge is a more suitable finale, but there I find no justification whatever for failing to record Beethoven's own finale, which is after all an undeniably superb movement for string quartet written by Beethoven during his almost god-like "Late Period." 

The Grosse Fuge is also Beethoven's own.

A lot of people find the later finale to op 130 a bit tepid.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Baron Scarpia on January 19, 2018, 10:49:04 AM
The Grosse Fuge is also Beethoven's own.

A lot of people find the later finale to op 130 a bit tepid.

I love the Grosse Fuge as well, but Beethoven did replace it. It is said that he was pressured by the publisher, but when did Beethoven agree to change his music for a publisher? I must have come to agree that the Grosse Fuge was more suitable as an independent piece. In any case, I want the option.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mahlerian on January 19, 2018, 12:52:08 PM
I love the Grosse Fuge as well, but Beethoven did replace it. It is said that he was pressured by the publisher, but when did Beethoven agree to change his music for a publisher? I must have come to agree that the Grosse Fuge was more suitable as an independent piece. In any case, I want the option.

There are several features of the Grosse Fuge, though, that only make sense in light of the rest of op. 130, including motivic references to earlier movements and the opening outside of the main key.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on January 19, 2018, 01:44:01 PM

I think the evidence that Beethoven wanted to go with the GF as the finale of op.130 is strong; the suggestion that he threw a bone to his publisher by composing the B♭ Allegro seems pretty solid, too. There are many examples where Beethoven acquiesced to his publishers' wishes... or, for that matter, composed lesser works on demand.

The primary choice for op.130 should probably the uncompromising op.133 ending, if we want the full late Beethoven.

Is it nice to have the option of the alternate ending? Sure. WOuld I be angry at any quartet that says that they will go with the primary version and skip recording the alternative? Because if I am going with the QF as the last movement in the first place, what's the point of offering the Allegro as a stand-alone? The other way 'round it works, but only when compromising (arguably) the whole quartet.  And realistically no one programs their CD player to correctly give you one version or the other, if the alternative is provided. That leaves the only proper option to record the quartet twice... once with the original ending and once with the substitute. (I think there's a quartet or two who did that... I just can't remember which one right now.)

Not sure that the QM's decision is one to be quite so upset over... Would you be more or less or equally upset, Scarpia, if their playing was REALLY to your liking?
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Cato on January 19, 2018, 01:51:07 PM
I enjoyed this version of the Opus 131:


(http://www.concertport.com/image/data/file/thumbnail/name/2e12bced6693a1906368c8aafd13c542.jpg)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on January 19, 2018, 01:56:25 PM
I enjoyed this version of the Opus 131:


(http://www.concertport.com/image/data/file/thumbnail/name/2e12bced6693a1906368c8aafd13c542.jpg)

The recording Lenny professed being most proud about, if I don't misremember.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Baron Scarpia on January 19, 2018, 02:02:31 PM
I think the evidence that Beethoven wanted to go with the GF as the finale of op.130 is strong; the suggestion that he threw a bone to his publisher by composing the B♭ Allegro seems pretty solid, too. There are many examples where Beethoven acquiesced to his publishers' wishes... or, for that matter, composed lesser works on demand.

The primary choice for op.130 should probably the uncompromising op.133 ending, if we want the full late Beethoven.

Is it nice to have the option of the alternate ending? Sure. WOuld I be angry at any quartet that says that they will go with the primary version and skip recording the alternative? Because if I am going with the QF as the last movement in the first place, what's the point of offering the Allegro as a stand-alone? The other way 'round it works, but only when compromising (arguably) the whole quartet.  And realistically no one programs their CD player to correctly give you one version or the other, if the alternative is provided. That leaves the only proper option to record the quartet twice... once with the original ending and once with the substitute. (I think there's a quartet or two who did that... I just can't remember which one right now.)

Not sure that the QM's decision is one to be quite so upset over... Would you be more or less or equally upset, Scarpia, if their playing was REALLY to your liking?

No one? I do. (Actually, I did, now I usually stream music to my DAC through a computer, which makes it even easier to program the sequence of tracks I want to hear).

And what's this silliness about having to record the quartet twice? For people incapable of programming their CD player or computer they would only have to prepare two CDs with alternate final movements. That would add 50 cents to the manufacturing cost of the set.

Of all of the sets of Beethoven quartets I own (that can think of, Vermeer, Italiano, Guarneri (two), La Salle, Tokyo (two) Takacs, Prazak, Hungarian (mono and stereo) Cleveland, Endelian, Amadeus) both finales are recorded. Only the Mosaiques and the Artemis omit the alternate finale. Including both has been the default choice.

In the end, you are probably right, it is moot for me since I have no desire to listen to the Mosaiques no matter what finale is provided. Now, if the Vermeer or Takacs left it off, that would be a loss!
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Baron Scarpia on January 19, 2018, 02:05:59 PM
I enjoyed this version of the Opus 131:


(http://www.concertport.com/image/data/file/thumbnail/name/2e12bced6693a1906368c8aafd13c542.jpg)

I like it too.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Brian on January 19, 2018, 02:35:58 PM
Would you be more or less or equally upset, Scarpia, if their playing was REALLY to your liking?
The correct answer has got to be more upset. Same reason silver medalists are sadder at the Olympics than bronze.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Baron Scarpia on January 19, 2018, 03:01:48 PM
The correct answer has got to be more upset. Same reason silver medalists are sadder at the Olympics than bronze.

Yes, the answer is more upset, but peeved is probably a better word. But, of course, it is more fun to get peeved or upset over an issue that isn't very important.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on January 19, 2018, 03:05:25 PM

And what's this silliness about having to record the quartet twice?

That's on the assumption that you'd play it differently, if you knew the GF was coming in the end, or just the Allegro.
Now I seem to remember: I think The Lindsays (2nd Cycle) did it that way.

Beethoven Cycle Survey (https://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/10/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Baron Scarpia on January 19, 2018, 03:08:04 PM
That's on the assumption that you'd play it differently, if you knew the GF was coming in the end, or just the Allegro.
Now I seem to remember: I think The Lindsays (2nd Cycle) did it that way.

Beethoven Cycle Survey (https://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/10/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html)

Well, you might want play that little movement that leads into the finale differently. I can't imagine you would play the bulk of the quartet differently.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: amw on January 19, 2018, 05:13:52 PM
The Lindsays recorded the cavatina twice (because of the way it is linked to both finales) but not the rest of the quartet. The Elias Quartet has recorded Op.130 twice, once with the Grosse Fuge and once with the replacement finale, but it is of course a live cycle, ostensibly.

The Mosaïques and Edding recordings of Op.130 leave out the replacement finale because of their view of historically informed performance and therefore trying to replicate the conditions under which the work was first performed (when the movement did not exist yet).
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Herman on January 20, 2018, 01:15:30 AM
I enjoyed this version of the Opus 131:


(http://www.concertport.com/image/data/file/thumbnail/name/2e12bced6693a1906368c8aafd13c542.jpg)

Playing a beautiful late Beethoven quartet as if it's hysterical Mahler sans brass and woodwinds; those awful sforzandi and drawnout tempi... Awful, tasteless and completely unnecessary.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on January 20, 2018, 01:29:00 AM
I think the evidence that Beethoven wanted to go with the GF as the finale of op.130 is strong; the suggestion that he threw a bone to his publisher by composing the B♭ Allegro seems pretty solid, too. There are many examples where Beethoven acquiesced to his publishers' wishes... or, for that matter, composed lesser works on demand.
I don't think this is true. To my recollection, except for Leonore/Fidelio there is no other case where Beethoven changed a whole movement in a work that had already been performed publicly. Other changes usually took place before performance or preparation of the final manuscript (e.g. the replacement of the andante favori by the introduction in op.53 or the change of the finale in op.23 and there are probably more cases of that type). So op.130/133 is a rather unique case. At least anecdotically there are also more cases of Beethoven trowing fits if asked to change anything than of him acquiescing to anybody. Of course, this has often been exaggerated and there are also a really odd suggestion in some letter about leaving out the fugue in op.106 because it was too difficult and switching the order of scherzo and adagio to perform it in 3 movements. So he was both stubborn and practical, depending on the context.

So I don't think that settles the question of the finale in any way. Neither can one claim that Beethoven really regretted the fugue final and preferred the final form nor is it plausible that he gave in so quickly to the publisher's wishes.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The new erato on January 20, 2018, 01:35:47 AM

The Mosaïques and Edding recordings of Op.130 leave out the replacement finale because of their view of historically informed performance and therefore trying to replicate the conditions under which the work was first performed (when the movement did not exist yet).
¨
That seems slightly misguided to me. The substitute movement was still an original Beethoven composition and it would be interesting to hear it played  as they thought it might originally have been played.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on January 20, 2018, 01:47:01 AM
It is also the officially final and published form of the piece. (So leaving it out is a little like playing the Waldstein with the Andante favori instead of the "Introduction" although as pointed out above this sonata was probably never played publicly with the Andante favori.)
While I have enough recordings so that the skipping of the later finale would not be a dealbreaker for me I definitely think that it should be included.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The One on January 20, 2018, 02:12:27 AM
I don't know if even this would help.

"Why did you decide not to record the second finale of op.130?
Christophe Coin (cellist of QM): Even though Beethoven did a magnificent job on this later alternative, and included elements present in the earlier movements according to his usual cyclic procedure, in our view it represents a compromise in the face of the lack of understanding of his contemporaries, who forced him to reconsider his score when they rejected the Große Fuge. We wanted to respect Beethoven’s initial choice.

The Große Fuge op.133 – like the fugue in the Cello Sonata op.102 no.2 – is still enigmatic for us today in its savage perfection, and any attempt to change the slightest note to ‘make it easier’ shocks the ear. We come to it when we’re already exhausted by the concentration the Quartet op.130 requires: this ‘great fugue’, like an ice-cold bath after a physical effort, gives us an incredible shot of energy."

I called Mr Coin and told them how misguided they were.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: amw on January 20, 2018, 02:18:36 AM
It is also the officially final and published form of the piece. (So leaving it out is a little like playing the Waldstein with the Andante favori instead of the "Introduction" although as pointed out above this sonata was probably never played publicly with the Andante favori.)
I would honestly listen to a recording that restored the Andante favori (although leaving out the introduction is probably a mistake). I guess I do generally prefer the first conception of compositions though, except maybe Bruckner 8 and Mahler 6.

We wanted to respect Beethoven’s initial choice.
Basically. I think after a performance of Op.130/133 the replacement finale can be played as an encore, but on CD it's always optional, imo. (Though it is in its own way a radically destabilising piece, with a much more open ending than the Grosse Fuge, showing what Beethoven had learned from composing Op.131 and 135 in the meanwhile.)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Jo498 on January 20, 2018, 03:04:02 AM
My point was that the arguments for initial vs. final published form are usually equally good/bad if they mainly stress "first" vs. "last". The very fact that it was either the first or last conception does not really provide a good argument.
 
And Beethoven very rarely did revisions like this after public performances had taken place (unlike Handel, Schumann, Bruckner and others), so there are no clear parallel cases but we know that he did not change his mind easily and the rather modest additional compensation from the publisher can hardly have been what made him do the revision (I think Kerman writes that it was a sum roughly corresponding to Beethoven's typical monthly expenses, so not a lot of money.) A better case could probably be made that he hoped to reach a wider audience more easily in the revised version. But apparently he also took great care to make sure that the fugue was published, also in the 4hand version.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on January 20, 2018, 03:31:46 AM
The Lindsays recorded the cavatina twice (because of the way it is linked to both finales) but not the rest of the quartet. The Elias Quartet has recorded Op.130 twice, once with the Grosse Fuge and once with the replacement finale, but it is of course a live cycle, ostensibly.

The Mosaïques and Edding recordings of Op.130 leave out the replacement finale because of their view of historically informed performance and therefore trying to replicate the conditions under which the work was first performed (when the movement did not exist yet).

Thanks for filling in the blanks!

... So he was both stubborn and practical, depending on the context.

So I don't think that settles the question of the finale in any way. Neither can one claim that Beethoven really regretted the fugue final and preferred the final form nor is it plausible that he gave in so quickly to the publisher's wishes.

Correct by all means. And that was my humble goal: To point that the question is decidedly not settled. And that therefore the decision of the Eddings or Mosaiques or other quartets might give cause for personal lament -- but are hardly egregious.  :)

My point was that the arguments for initial vs. final published form are usually equally good/bad if they mainly stress "first" vs. "last". The very fact that it was either the first or last conception does not really provide a good argument.

Also a very good point. It just serves as argumentative fodder for our own preferences. I.e. in Mahler... where I happen to think that Mahler's second thoughts were absolutely wrong... and use early Mahler against later Mahler because I happen to prefer it Scherzo-Andante.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Cato on January 20, 2018, 05:48:07 AM
So, when all is said and done, we have two excellent choices for the finale in question!

It is quite possible that one will choose the Grosse Fuge for a while, but then suddenly decide that the alternate Finale fits the mood.  This process could take decades! 

As the Scarecrow says in The Wizard of Oz, "Of course, some people go both ways!"  Perhaps one will want to play both endings for an ultimate slam-dunk ending!  8)

Concerning the Bernstein/Vienna Philharmonic version of the Opus 131:

Playing a beautiful late Beethoven quartet as if it's hysterical Mahler sans brass and woodwinds; those awful sforzandi and drawnout tempi... Awful, tasteless and completely unnecessary.

None of that occurred to me, but...ears can be quite different!  8)

The recording Lenny professed being most proud about, if I don't misremember.

Given his output, that is quite a statement!  0:)
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The One on January 20, 2018, 06:51:40 AM
The recording Lenny professed being most proud about, if I don't misremember.
:D :) :D

Did you mean "...if I am not making it up right now" ?

Edit: This ended with embarresment for me. "Hail JFL's Brain!"
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: SurprisedByBeauty on January 20, 2018, 07:34:03 AM
:D :) :D

Did you mean "...if I am not making it up right now" ?

That's not completely out of the question, though I really do think it's more than that, in this case. I know it's one reason I bought this CD (which is not the same as saying it's true - only that I believed it to be true). But I think I've seen something along those lines mentioned since.

Via Hurwitzer, I found a reference (not the one I thought I had seen... but perhaps good enough?)

Quote
In Jonathan Cott’s book Dinner with Lenny, which contains Bernstein’s last interview, the conductor identifies two recordings as his favorites: Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and his string orchestra version of Beethoven’s Quartet in C sharp minor, Op 131.
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: Mandryka on January 20, 2018, 07:44:38 AM
His daughter says

Quote
I know for a fact that of all his recordings, he was most proud of Beethoven’s “Opus 131” with The Vienna Philharmonic strings. That piece, one of the very late quartets, challenges any chamber ensemble with wild meter and tempo changes, and sudden mood swings. For a full orchestral string section to sound as tight as a group of four is truly a dazzling accomplishment. And the effect is thrilling.

 https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/leonard-bernsteins-99th-conversations-with-jamie_us_599ee5bde4b0a62d0987ad3f
Title: Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
Post by: The One on January 20, 2018, 07:46:14 AM
That's not completely