Beethoven: Middle String Quartets

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mike D. Brownell
Like other genres from the piano sonata to the symphony, Beethoven's string quartets of his "Middle Period" were to forever change the genre. Gone were the quartets capable of performance by amateurs; by the Middle Period, Beethoven's quartets needed players of the highest caliber and were conceived as serious concert pieces rather than salon music. This Nimbus Alliance three-disc set features all five of these quartets as well as the rarely heard transcription of the "Op. 14, No. 1 Piano Sonata." While important as it is one of Beethoven's rare transcriptions, Op. 14 no. 1 offers little interest in comparison to the grandeur of the "Op. 59 Razumovsky Quartets," the ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Mike D. Brownell
Like other genres from the piano sonata to the symphony, Beethoven's string quartets of his "Middle Period" were to forever change the genre. Gone were the quartets capable of performance by amateurs; by the Middle Period, Beethoven's quartets needed players of the highest caliber and were conceived as serious concert pieces rather than salon music. This Nimbus Alliance three-disc set features all five of these quartets as well as the rarely heard transcription of the "Op. 14, No. 1 Piano Sonata." While important as it is one of Beethoven's rare transcriptions, Op. 14 no. 1 offers little interest in comparison to the grandeur of the "Op. 59 Razumovsky Quartets," the vitality of the "Op. 74 Harp Quartet," or the unbridled intensity of the "Op. 95 Serioso Quartet." Performing these indispensible works is the Czech Wihan Quartet. All six quartets were recorded live in a Prague Convent and are filled with spontaneity and excitement that can rarely be achieved in a studio recording. The Wihan plays with a great deal of vigor and excitement, reminiscent in sound and approach to the great but underappreciated recordings of the Canadian Orford String Quartet. Like the Orford Quartet, the Wihan Quartet has a very prominent, Haydnesque first violinist who still manages to blend nicely with the other members of the ensemble. The very present and close recording allows listeners the satisfaction of hearing the occasional string buzz, ferule click, and forceful breathing between the four members. Though technically not flawless, these performances are gratifyingly visceral and honest and are well worth the time to check out.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/13/2009
  • Label: Nimbus Records
  • UPC: 710357610929
  • Catalog Number: 6109
  • Sales rank: 180,660

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–4 String Quartet No. 7 in F major ("Rasumovsky 1"), Op. 59/1 - Ludwig van Beethoven & Wihan Quartet (40:00)
  2. 5–7 String Quartet in F major (arrangement of Piano Sonata No. 9 in E major, Op. 14/1), Hess 34 - Ludwig van Beethoven & Wihan Quartet (13:01)
Disc 2
  1. 1–4 String Quartet No. 8 in E minor ("Rasumovsky 2"), Op. 59/2 - Ludwig van Beethoven & Wihan Quartet (34:47)
  2. 5–8 String Quartet No. 9 in C major ("Rasumovsky 3"), Op. 59/3 - Ludwig van Beethoven & Wihan Quartet (30:35)
Disc 3
  1. 1–4 String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major ("Harp"), Op. 74 - Ludwig van Beethoven & Wihan Quartet (30:45)
  2. 5–8 String Quartet No. 11 in F minor ("Serioso"), Op. 95 - Ludwig van Beethoven & Wihan Quartet (20:58)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Wihan Quartet Primary Artist
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