Beethoven Around the World: The Complete String Quartets

Beethoven Around the World: The Complete String Quartets

by Quatuor EbèneQuatuor Ebène

CD

$44.99
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Wednesday, August 11

Overview

The Quatuor Ébène timed this round-the-world Beethoven cycle to coincide with Beethoven's 250th birthday in 2020, beginning a worldwide tour and fortunately completing it before the outbreak of the pandemic in that year. The cycle was recorded in Philadelphia, Vienna, Tokyo, São Paolo, Melbourne, Nairobi, and finally Paris. CD buyers get a combination of travelogue and set of work descriptions, but it's not clear that the performances were influenced in any way by the globetrotting. This is, however, a very strong Beethoven set, with full-blooded performances perhaps unexpected from a group that made its name with French quartet music. Credit, first of all, goes to mastering engineer Fabrice Planchat, who followed the group around the world with a portable studio, recording, according to the ambiguous note, "live and in rehearsal" (there is no audience noise). The sound retains some of its original characteristics, including in an acoustically inferior Alliance Française Auditorium in Nairobi, but is stitched together into a coherent whole. The Quatuor Ébène generally offers high-intensity readings that relax at times into passages of passionate rather than delicate lyricism. In the "String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131," the Allegro molto vivace of the second movement may seem to leave no room for the Presto of the fifth, but the group makes it happen. The late quartets as a whole are extremely compelling, with the group catching the odd mixture of comedy and existential dread in the "String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135," and delivering a heartfelt "prayer of thanks of one who has recovered to the Godhead" in the slow movement of the "String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132." An unusual feature among the late quartets is that the "String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major, Op. 130," concludes with the "Grosse Fuge, Op. 133," the work's original finale, rather than the finale on which Beethoven eventually settled. The early quartets get weighty readings that place them at the forefront of Beethoven's stylistic development rather than in Haydn's orbit; listen to the alternatively lovely and grim "La Malinconia" finale of the "String Quartet No. 6 in B flat major, Op. 18. No. 6." Curiously, two of the three "Op. 59 Razumovsky" quartets are placed together on a single disc rather than being evenly distributed, but these too follow the pattern of fast tempos and high-energy readings. It may be that the Quatuor Ébène did not need to travel the globe to accomplish this, but the group's Beethoven cycle compels attention.


Related collections and offers

Product Details

Release Date: 05/15/2020
Label: Erato
UPC: 0190295339814
catalogNumber: 533981
Rank: 19042

Tracks

Disc 1

  1. String Quartet No. 1 in F major, Op. 18/1

    1. I. Allegro con brio
    2. II. Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato
    3. III. Scherzo: Allegro molto
    4. IV. Allegro
  2. String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131

    1. I. Adagio, ma non troppo e molto espressivo -
    2. II. Allegro molto vivace -
    3. III. Allegro moderato - Adagio
    4. IV. Andante, ma non troppo e molto cantabile - Più mosso - Andante moderato e lusinghiero - Adagio
    5. V. Presto - Molto poco adagio -
    6. VI. Adagio quasi un poco andante -
    7. VII. Allegro

Disc 2

  1. String Quartet No. 7 in F major ("Rasumovsky No. 1"), Op. 59/1

    1. I. Allegro
    2. II. Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando
    3. III. Adagio molto e mesto -
    4. IV. Thème russe: Allegro
  2. String Quartet No. 8 in E minor ("Rasumovsky No. 2"), Op. 59/2

    1. I. Allegro
    2. II. Molto Adagio (Si tratta questo pezzo con molto di sentimento)
    3. III. Allegretto - Maggiore (Thème russe)
    4. IV. Finale. Presto

Disc 3

  1. String Quartet No. 9 in C major ("Rasumovsky No. 3"), Op. 59/3

    1. I. Introduzione: Andante con moto - Allegro vivace
    2. II. Andante con moto quasi Allegretto
    3. III. Menuetto: Grazioso - Trio
    4. IV. Allegro molto
  2. String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major, Op. 130

    1. I. Adagio ma non troppo - Allegro
    2. II. Presto
    3. III. Andante con moto, ma non troppo (Poco scherzando)
    4. IV. Alla danza tedesca: Allegro assai
    5. V. Cavatina: Adagio molto espressivo
  3. Fugue for string quartet in B flat major ("Grosse Fuge"), Op. 133

Disc 4

  1. String Quartet No. 6 in B flat major, Op. 18/6

    1. I. Allegro con brio
    2. II. Adagio ma non troppo
    3. III. Scherzo: Allegro
    4. IV. La Malinconia: Adagio - Allegretto quasi Allegro
  2. String Quartet No. 12 in E flat major, Op. 127

    1. I. Maestoso - Allegro
    2. II. Adagio, ma non troppo e molto cantabile - Andante con moto - Adagio molto espressivo - Tempo I
    3. III. Scherzando: Vivace
    4. IV. Allegro - Allegro comodo

Disc 5

  1. String Quartet No. 2 in G major ("Compliments"), Op. 18/2

    1. I. Allegro
    2. II. Adagio cantabile - Allegro - Tempo I
    3. III. Scherzo: Allegro
    4. IV. Allegro molto, quasi Presto
  2. String Quartet No. 11 in F minor ("Serioso"), Op. 95

    1. I. Allegro con brio
    2. II. Allegretto ma non troppo -
    3. III. Allegro assai vivace ma serioso - Più allegro
    4. IV. Larghetto espressivo - Allegretto agitato - Allegro
  3. String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major ("Harp"), Op. 74

    1. I. Poco adagio - Allegro
    2. II. Adagio ma non troppo
    3. III. Presto - Più presto quasi prestissimo
    4. IV. Allegretto con Variazioni

Disc 6

  1. String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18/4

    1. I. Allegro ma non tanto
    2. II. Andante scherzoso quasi Allegretto
    3. III. Menuetto: Allegretto
    4. IV. Allegro - Prestissimo
  2. String Quartet No. 5 in A major, Op. 18/5

    1. I. Allegro
    2. II. Menuetto
    3. III. Andante cantabile
    4. IV. Allegro
  3. String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135

    1. I. Allegretto
    2. II. Vivace
    3. III. Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo
    4. IV. Der schwer gefasste Entschluss: Grave, ma non troppo tratto (Muss es sein?) - Allegro (Es muss

Disc 7

  1. String Quartet No. 3 in D major, Op. 18/3

    1. I. Allegro
    2. II. Andante con moto
    3. III. Allegro
    4. IV. Presto
  2. String Quartet No. 15 in A minor ("Heiliger Dankgesang"), Op. 132

    1. I. Assai sostenuto - Allegro
    2. II. Allegro ma non tanto
    3. III. Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart: Molto adagio - N
    4. IV. Alla marcia, assai vivace - Più allegro -
    5. V. Allegro appassionato - Presto

Album Credits

Customer Reviews