Author Topic: Beethoven's String Quartets  (Read 222747 times)

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Offline Holden

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1020 on: September 11, 2021, 10:09:25 PM »
My go to headphones at the moment are the Audeze LCD1 and spatially, they really separate the instruments in the soundstage. However, on a hunch, I've pulled out my beloved Sennheiser HD580s to listen to the Vegh LvB SQs. While they don't go as deep in the lower end as the LCD1s there is a wealth of tone and timbre that imparts something to the music that I haven't heard before. Like with the Audeze's, the instruments are sitting in their own space and there is a sense of liquidity that really makes this glorious music. I'm listening to Op 130 at the moment and will move on to Op 132. I might make the 580s my SQ listening cans.

Something tells me I should start listening to these via my HiFi set up.
Cheers

Holden

Offline Raymond

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1021 on: September 20, 2021, 06:51:18 AM »
Iv'e not noticed any comments on the Quatuor Ebene's complete quartets, the performances they gave in various cities.  It had good reviews, but I'm suspicious about no comments. Or have I missed them?

Offline Brian

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1022 on: September 20, 2021, 07:07:52 AM »
Iv'e not noticed any comments on the Quatuor Ebene's complete quartets, the performances they gave in various cities.  It had good reviews, but I'm suspicious about no comments. Or have I missed them?
Hmm, I'm not sure what thread it's in but there was quite a passionate multipage discussion about the Ebene, with people who are strongly in favor and people who are strongly opposed.

Offline T. D.

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1023 on: September 20, 2021, 09:59:30 AM »
Hmm, I'm not sure what thread it's in but there was quite a passionate multipage discussion about the Ebene [Beethoven], with people who are strongly in favor and people who are strongly opposed.

I also recall the discussion (maybe more than one) but forget the thread(s).
Among other places, here? https://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php?topic=29935.0
I'm pretty sure the "brickwalling" was discussed in additional threads, maybe "recordings you are considering". Someone posted informative graphics.
I was close to purchasing the set, but the frequency compression turned me off.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2021, 10:02:17 AM by T. D. »

DavidW

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1024 on: September 20, 2021, 10:25:02 AM »
I agree with Herman that the Artemis Q recordings are just amazing.  And having Prazak, Gewandhaus and Takacs I have so many wonderful choices that I haven't sought anything else out.  I think I want to here Leipzig and Ebene.

Online Spotted Horses

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1025 on: September 20, 2021, 11:55:14 AM »
I agree with Herman that the Artemis Q recordings are just amazing.  And having Prazak, Gewandhaus and Takacs I have so many wonderful choices that I haven't sought anything else out.  I think I want to here Leipzig and Ebene.

The Artemis does not record Beethoven's replacement finale for Op 130. If that is your only set you don't have a recording of the last complete movement that Beethoven wrote for string quartet. (And it is a brilliant piece of music, whether or not you prefer it to the Grosse Fugue as the finale of Op 130.)

Offline hvbias

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1026 on: September 20, 2021, 02:51:19 PM »
Iv'e not noticed any comments on the Quatuor Ebene's complete quartets, the performances they gave in various cities.  It had good reviews, but I'm suspicious about no comments. Or have I missed them?

They have some live recordings on Youtube and there used to be a live cycle available on arte.tv for free, I downloaded all of them and my preference is for that live video cycle over the CD in terms of interpretations. Combined with the compression in mastering caused me to skip the CD cycle. I don't think either the video or CD are top tier in the late quartets.

My full breakdown: https://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,20.msg1382519.html#msg1382519
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline JBS

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1027 on: September 20, 2021, 04:10:13 PM »
Iv'e not noticed any comments on the Quatuor Ebene's complete quartets, the performances they gave in various cities.  It had good reviews, but I'm suspicious about no comments. Or have I missed them?

I'm glad I have the set. It's a crowded field, so I won't be silly enough to say it's superior to all those other alternatives.
The sonics gave me no problem, but I have a cheap CD player which is beneficial in this situation: only real bad sonics are obvious when I use it.

Hollywood Beach Broadwalk

Offline Brian

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1028 on: September 20, 2021, 04:24:46 PM »
Also the compressed dynamic range is really great if you want to pack some CDs in the car on a road trip. Crank it up enough to cover road noise, and you'll never have to touch the dial.

Offline aukhawk

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1029 on: September 21, 2021, 01:39:58 AM »
Iv'e not noticed any comments on the Quatuor Ebene's complete quartets, the performances they gave in various cities.  It had good reviews, but I'm suspicious about no comments. Or have I missed them?

This discussion, where several people share their opinions of the sound quality, has already been referenced above:
https://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,29935.0.html

There is also this, which is more performance-led and overall more positive:
https://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,30443.0.html

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1030 on: September 21, 2021, 04:04:40 AM »
So I finally picked up recordings of the late quartets recently. I didn't realise until I got home that one of them was 1940s mono recordings but it is what it is.

Offline hvbias

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1031 on: June 17, 2022, 04:28:34 PM »
I revisited Pražák Quartet and did some back and forth through about a third of the quartets with Auryn Quartet. Pražák impressed me a lot more this time around. I was listening to too much Talich, Végh II, Budapest, etc when I got Pražák in and I needed some distance from them. They do something very interesting I haven't heard in any other group, their tempi are slightly on the brisk side in slow movements but even in the early quartets they display some of that elevated, reaching late Beethoven with their phrasing. I usually equate this with taking those movements a bit slower. Auryn Quartet I'm not finding too much to my taste. The biggest detractor to me is they are a tonally grey, especially compared to Pražák (particularly Vacláv Remeš and his singing tone). So far the only thing I've heard from them that has really impressed me and made my default cycle is their Haydn which is quite expressive, and strangely sounds a bit less period influenced (more tenderness, with vibrato) than the Beethoven. I ordered their Schumann cycle as I found a cheap copy and I only had this from Italiano and I think Alban Berg.

Updated below

Agreed, this is why I don't feel guilty about adding cycles. Also from the rather lackluster 2020 with all the piano sonata cycles as well as individual sonata discs I've grown increasingly skeptical and weary of recordings of these (last truly exceptional cycle I heard was Andrea Lucchesini) but I don't feel that about the string quartets which somehow still come across as sounding "genuine" (hard to explain).

Went through what I have or made copies of and gave away. Bolds are favorites and ranked somewhat in order (I wouldn't place much weight on the order). Italics falling somewhere in between followed by the rest.

Vegh II
Budapest Columbia I
Petersen incomplete
Busch Quartet late
Hungarian I
Pražák
Italiano (first cycle I ever heard attached to some good memories, I think I can still be objective about this. Fabulous performances in their earlier EMI years as well)
Artemis
Juilliard I


Talich
Suske
Yale late
Alban Berg I

Mosaiques late
Endellion
Takacs
Alban Berg II
Gewandhaus
The Lindsays I

Unfamiliar with:
Emerson, have it from the complete DG box, mostly only heard in background listening. Same with Goldner Quartet.

Curious about - Smetana complete cycle from late 70s/early 80s.

Want more from - Arditti, exceptional performance of Grose Fuge; you'd think it would be super modern but it just sounds really balanced.

I didn't mind Ebene as much as some others, I'd have added it if it weren't for the compression. I view this as analogous to Levit's Beethoven cycle. Mannered but some interesting things even if you're not going to be ringing your mom up in the middle of the night raving about either of them. Kuss Quartet might be the cycle that is the Fazil Say equivalent :D Hard pass on both.
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline DavidW

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1032 on: June 17, 2022, 05:42:29 PM »
Yeah the Prazak set was one of my two keepers (Vegh 2 is the other).  But there are so many great recordings of these works out there!

Offline Jo498

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1033 on: June 17, 2022, 11:09:04 PM »
I don't think ABQ ever recorded the Schumann Qts (only the piano quintet?), have not heard the Auryn. I think the best of the Auryn might be the Schubert cplt, especially the early works although the Leipzig is tonally more luxurious (and now also cheap, I think, Leipzig/MDG used to be very expensive when both cycles were recentish about 20 years ago).
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1034 on: June 26, 2022, 12:33:02 AM »
I've wound up with a mixed SQ cycle.

1-6, 14, 15 - Alban Berg Quartett

7-11 - Kodály Quartet

12-13, 16 - Quartetto Italiano

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1035 on: June 26, 2022, 07:01:35 AM »
Anyone else seen the "Compliments" nickname for SQ Op. 18/2 in the wild? WMP has it as the nickname. I didn't even know it had a nickname.

Offline Jo498

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1036 on: June 26, 2022, 08:20:42 AM »
Yes, I have seen "Komplimentierquartett", also for Haydn's op.77/1. It seems a rather old-fashioned nickname, the verb is basically obsolete in German ("ein Kompliment machen" is still common but "komplimentieren" I only know ironically as "hinauskomplimentieren" which means to make someone leave who overstays their welcome).
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline hvbias

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1037 on: June 26, 2022, 01:35:54 PM »
Anyone else seen the "Compliments" nickname for SQ Op. 18/2 in the wild? WMP has it as the nickname. I didn't even know it had a nickname.

Compliments to Beethoven for one of his very best early works ;D
"I feel very strongly about Chopin — I just love him" - Fou Ts'ong

Offline Jo498

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1038 on: June 26, 2022, 10:13:44 PM »
The name is supposed to refer to the "gallant" flourishes and figures at the beginning. Apparently like curtseys or whatever; as I said, it's so old-fashioned a verb/notion that at least to me the connection is not entirely clear. I also like it a lot, it seems to me among the underrated Beethoven quartets (e.g. compared to the weak c minor).
« Last Edit: June 26, 2022, 10:57:26 PM by Jo498 »
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline Maestro267

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #1039 on: June 26, 2022, 10:36:38 PM »
I've started listening to the Op. 18 quartets for the first time (even though I've had the set for ages) and I'm really enjoying them. Thankfully even in this early music there are signs of the rebellious ground-breaking Beethoven in terms of how he broke from tonal form or movement order. Like No. 3's slow movement being in B flat in a D major work. B flat major and D major inhabit different musical worlds for me and the transition between the two is magical. See especially when it happens in the same movement, such as in the slow movement of Beethoven's Symphony No. 9. Basically, I couldn't imagine Mozart or Haydn writing a movement in a key "that" remote from the home key.

Also interesting even though I haven't got to them yet is the lack of slow movement in SQ No. 4, foreshadowing what he would do especially in the 7th and 8th Symphonies. And the swapping round of minuet and slow movement in SQ No. 5. Even now, before the 19th century began he was paving the way for the expansion and breakup of classical tradition and giving this music life!