Beethoven: String Quartets Op. 18

Beethoven: String Quartets Op. 18

by Takács String Quartet
     
 

The Takács Quartet waited several years after their much-acclaimed recording of Beethoven's "Middle Period" quartets to record the earlier Op. 18 set. It was worth the wait. Here, the musicians present us with the composer as a young upstart, diving into the rough and tumble of the First QuartetSee more details below

Overview

The Takács Quartet waited several years after their much-acclaimed recording of Beethoven's "Middle Period" quartets to record the earlier Op. 18 set. It was worth the wait. Here, the musicians present us with the composer as a young upstart, diving into the rough and tumble of the First Quartet's opening allegro con brio with tremendous zest. The tempo zips along, accents are punchy, and there is a sense of both seriousness and fun. And although all six works are given with similar gusto, each also has its own personality. In the Third Quartet, there is abundant grace and warmth, for instance, while the Fourth (the only quartet in the set that's in a minor key) is played with a lean tone and edgy energy. The Takács also remind us how much sweet lyricism there is in the slow movements, singing the melodies elegantly -- as befits music that still has at least one foot in the 18th century. Decca's recording is top-notch, capturing every strand of the musical texture as well as the beautiful tone of the musicians' instruments. Now the challenge is waiting for the final volume!

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Leonard
Vigorous and expressive but not especially sentimental and clearly in favor of direct rather than sober reflection, the Takács Quartet's 2003 recording of Beethoven's "String Quartets, Op. 18," is a fine addition to the catalog. The Takács plays with accuracy, strength, and enthusiasm, if not much subtlety, nuance, or lyricism. Its tone is not so much beautiful as muscular. Its rhythm is not so much graceful as driven. Its interpretations are not so much thoughtful but impetuous. For the Takács Quartet, Beethoven's first set of string quartets from 1799 -- 1800 is grand, dramatic, and almost heroic. For more profoundly beautiful performances, try the Quartetto Italiano. For more deeply introspective interpretations, try the Alban Berg Quartet. For more individualistic but nevertheless completely compelling interpretations, try the Vegh Quartet. But for another set of the Op. 18, if you have already heard all these, try the Takács Quartet. Decca's sound is huge, which may not be the best thing for a chamber music recording.
Gramophone
The Takács meet Beethoven the young Turk, bursting with ideas, and we are the better infromed for listening in.
Philadelphia Inquirer - Peter Dobrin
If a more unified and warmly conceived interpretation of the Opus 18 Beethoven string quartets exists on disc, I have not heard it. The Takács Quartet has a firm philosophy: find the drama and exploit it (in a good way) to the fullest extent possible.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/13/2004
Label:
Decca
UPC:
0028947084822
catalogNumber:
000186402
Rank:
10969

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. String Quartets (6), Op. 18  - Ludwig van Beethoven  -  Takács String Quartet  - Mark Millington

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