Author Topic: Beethoven's String Quartets  (Read 208921 times)

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Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #980 on: March 03, 2020, 04:15:34 AM »
Gurn et al - as shown previously, I have just the Op 18 works by the Q. Mosaïques - the later quartets by this group shown below pique my interest - a steep $32 USD @ Amazon USA (maybe cheaper elsewhere?) - would like opinions of those that may own this set - thanks.  Dave :)


I think it's EXCELLENT: https://www.forbes.com/sites/jenslaurson/2017/12/13/the-10-best-classical-recordings-of-2017/#4890f3b3ebca

Wow, it is going for cheap now, the QI. Damn. Last I checked it was going for more than that. I'm sure that is a fantastic set too.

It's like butter on glass. https://ionarts.blogspot.com/2017/10/a-survey-of-beethoven-string-quartet.html

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At least in Europe, this was one of the great, popular Beethoven String Quartet cycles to come along in the modern era... successors in fame, perhaps, to the Amadeus' cycle. It's always been around on CD in some form or another and Pentatone even re-issued the Razumovsky quartets on SACD to give listeners with the corresponding set-up the possibility to enjoy them in Philip's pioneering if largely ignored quadrophonic sound. The Quartetto Italiano are perhaps the premiere beauticians among Beethoven-playing quartets...

Jens,

I had heard a rumor that the Mosaiques would be releasing an Opus 59 set. Had you heard anything about that? That would be wonderful!

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Yes, that is forthcoming.

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #981 on: March 03, 2020, 06:56:00 AM »
Gurn et al - as shown previously, I have just the Op 18 works by the Q. Mosaïques - the later quartets by this group shown below pique my interest - a steep $32 USD @ Amazon USA (maybe cheaper elsewhere?) - would like opinions of those that may own this set - thanks.  Dave :)



I own (and love) it. Jens has a review of it linked here, I would recommend you check that out. IMHO, $32 is cheap for that 3 disk box. :)

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Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #982 on: March 03, 2020, 07:00:31 AM »

Yes, that is forthcoming.

Good news, thanks.

Per the earlier discussion on the QI: I have their box of the Late Quartets. "Butter on Glass" sums it up nicely. Where one has to consider that a downside is if you don't WANT that smoothness. Some of us like it a little rough, you know! ;)

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #983 on: March 03, 2020, 07:12:51 AM »
Gurn et al - as shown previously, I have just the Op 18 works by the Q. Mosaïques - the later quartets by this group shown below pique my interest - a steep $32 USD @ Amazon USA (maybe cheaper elsewhere?) - would like opinions of those that may own this set - thanks.  Dave :)



They omit the Op 130 finale and only include the grosse fuge. The last, brilliant, movement for string quartet written by Beethoven and they don't condescend to play it because they think the grosse fuge is the proper finale for the movement.
« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 10:41:47 AM by Baron Scarpia »

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #984 on: March 03, 2020, 07:17:44 AM »
Per the earlier discussion on the QI: I have their box of the Late Quartets. "Butter on Glass" sums it up nicely. Where one has to consider that a downside is if you don't WANT that smoothness. Some of us like it a little rough, you know! ;)

I've never considered my statement to be a compliment.  ;D

Offline Brian

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #985 on: March 03, 2020, 07:50:04 AM »
They omit the Op 130 finale and only include the grosse fuge. The last, brilliant, movement for string quartet written by Beethoven and they don't condescend to pay it because they think the grosse fuge is the proper finale for the movement.
Just wait 'til they record the Bruckner symphonies!

Offline Gurn Blanston

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #986 on: March 03, 2020, 08:42:56 AM »
I've never considered my statement to be a compliment.  ;D

I should hope not!! :o :o   :D   (Thousands do though, I reckon).

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #987 on: March 03, 2020, 09:00:19 AM »
They omit the Op 130 finale and only include the grosse fuge. The last, brilliant, movement for string quartet written by Beethoven and they don't condescend to pay it because they think the grosse fuge is the proper finale for the movement.

This is a total mischaracterization of their decision. I think Coin has a different perspective on it which I appreciate:
Quote
Why did you decide not to record the second finale of op.130?
Christophe Coin. - 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 think that's a fair basis for their decision. Beethoven was surrounded by people who didn't have a clue, so he felt compelled to make them happy too.  FWIW, no matter who is playing (even the QI :) ) I always cue it up so the GF is the finale anyway. The alternate finale is just a Quartettsatz, IMO.  :)

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #988 on: March 03, 2020, 10:41:23 AM »
This is a total mischaracterization of their decision. I think Coin has a different perspective on it which I appreciate:

Quote
Why did you decide not to record the second finale of op.130?
Christophe Coin. - 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 think that's a fair basis for their decision. Beethoven was surrounded by people who didn't have a clue, so he felt compelled to make them happy too.  FWIW, no matter who is playing (even the QI :) ) I always cue it up so the GF is the finale anyway. The alternate finale is just a Quartettsatz, IMO.  :)

8)

With all due respect, I did not misrepresent anything.

Did I read in my history books that when audiences complained that Beethoven's 3rd symphony was too long and too loud, that Beethoven was mortified, withdrew it, and reverted to the witty style of Haydn for his symphonies 4-117? No. It was Beethoven who said “What do I care about your damned fiddle when the Spirit seizes me?” It was Beethoven who said, "I am writing music for another age." You can argue that the Grosse Fuge finale represents Beethoven's original intention. But if Beethoven agreed to designate the Grosse Fuge as an independent piece and write a new finale for his B-flat string quartet it can also be argued that it was because Beethoven came to see the Grosse Fuge as a substantial piece standing on its own.

I think that it is equally valid to listen to the B-flat quartet with either finale. I have come to marginally prefer the replacement finale. Almost every quartet records both, usually arranging the track order to facilitate the Grosse Fuge final and placing the alternate as a "quartettsatz." This allows the listeners to experience the work either way by programming their player as they prefer. That shows respect for Beethoven and for the listener.

When I saw that the Op 130 finale was missing from the QM recording (after I had purchased it) it came as something of a relief that the performances were crap. :)

FWIW, my favorite recording of the Grosse Fuge is probably Klemperer. (marginally preferred over Furtwangler/WPO). Wouldn't it be nice if someone like Schoenberg or Webern had transcribed it for full orchestra. They revered it too much to dare touch it, I suppose. :)



« Last Edit: March 03, 2020, 10:44:43 AM by Baron Scarpia »

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #989 on: March 03, 2020, 11:21:27 AM »
There is an op.133 arrangement by Gielen that while only using strings, uses them in "modern" fashion with full string orchestra vs. smaller groups and some Bartok-like effects (playing close to the bridge or whatever, I not sure about the details).
I can only find the download version right now, but I have it on normal CD
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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #990 on: March 03, 2020, 12:22:02 PM »
There is an op.133 arrangement by Gielen that while only using strings, uses them in "modern" fashion with full string orchestra vs. smaller groups and some Bartok-like effects (playing close to the bridge or whatever, I not sure about the details).

I have another recording along those lines, I forgot the ensemble, "Nordic something-or-another." Introducing a contrast between string sections and solo string instruments. Doesn't really appeal to me. I'm imagining something like what various chamber ensembles did with Bach's AoF, assigning the voices to various instruments, not necessarily strings. In any case, perhaps it is not wise to tamper too much with what Beethoven left us. I don't usually like string quartet->string orchestra transcriptions, but in the case of the Grosse Fuge it seems to bring out something different in the music.

Offline The new erato

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #991 on: March 03, 2020, 01:32:06 PM »
This is a total mischaracterization of their decision. I think Coin has a different perspective on it which I appreciate:
I think that's a fair basis for their decision. Beethoven was surrounded by people who didn't have a clue,
Are you sure that isn't also the case today?

Offline amw

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #992 on: March 03, 2020, 02:58:21 PM »
To be honest at this point I like the second finale better as a piece of music, but prefer the first finale as part of Op. 130. So I guess I agree somewhat with the decisions of the Mosaïques, Hagen & Artemis Quartets (& probably others) but it still would have been nice if they had also recorded the second finale. Can't have everything, I guess.

Offline SurprisedByBeauty

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #993 on: March 09, 2020, 11:31:55 AM »
To be honest at this point I like the second finale better as a piece of music, but prefer the first finale as part of Op. 130. So I guess I agree somewhat with the decisions of the Mosaïques, Hagen & Artemis Quartets (& probably others) but it still would have been nice if they had also recorded the second finale. Can't have everything, I guess.

Precisely. I have plenty recordings of either; I just don't care which way any quartet goes... except I want them to do what they believe in. That's good enough for me.

Offline George

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #994 on: March 09, 2020, 02:38:30 PM »
Precisely. I have plenty recordings of either; I just don't care which way any quartet goes... except I want them to do what they believe in. That's good enough for me.

Well said, Jens!
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Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #995 on: March 09, 2020, 03:19:21 PM »
Man, the Kodály Quartet Beethoven recordings on Naxos are just phenomenal. Naxos royally screwed up by not releasing them as a complete box set, and I doubt I'll ever complete their cycle, but the individual recordings I have contain some of my favorite performances. Great, lively ensemble playing; very good, clear, but warm digital sound.

Do the Kodálys have any other admirers here? I love their Haydn too.

Offline San Antone

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #996 on: March 09, 2020, 03:20:28 PM »
Man, the Kodály Quartet Beethoven recordings on Naxos are just phenomenal. Naxos royally screwed up by not releasing them as a complete box set, and I doubt I'll ever complete their cycle, but the individual recordings I have contain some of my favorite performances. Great, lively ensemble playing; very good, clear, but warm digital sound.

Do the Kodálys have any other admirers here? I love their Haydn too.

I am a fan.  I can't help but think that because they are on Naxos some people do not take them seriously.

Offline Mandryka

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #997 on: March 09, 2020, 08:57:13 PM »
I can't help but think that because they are on Naxos some people do not take them seriously.

Those people must be fools! Well done you for not being foolish like them. I haven’t heard their Beethoven myself.
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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #998 on: March 09, 2020, 09:17:37 PM »
I am a fan.  I can't help but think that because they are on Naxos some people do not take them seriously.

I enjoyed their Haydn, I’ve not heard the Beethoven. I guess I should.

Offline Herman

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Re: Beethoven's String Quartets
« Reply #999 on: March 10, 2020, 03:05:31 AM »

Do the Kodálys have any other admirers here? I love their Haydn too.

Not much. I used to think they were typically a group that made their living routinely playing gigantic oeuvres for the record.