- String Quartet No. 9 in C major ("Rasumovsky 3"), Op. 59/3
- String Quintet in C major ("Storm"), Op. 29
"What we shared was astonishment -- and joy," wrote violinist Sigiswald Kuijken in his introductory note to this disc coupling Beethoven's "C major String Quartet, Op. 59/3," and "C major String Quintet, Op. 29." The "we" referred to are this disc's two generations of string-playing Kuijkens: violinist Sigiswald, cellist Wieland (Sigiswald's brother), violist Marleen Thiers (Sigiswald's wife), violinist Veronica, and violist Sara (Marleen and Sigiswald's daughters). And the "joy" referred to is immediately apparent in their playing. Though best known for performing on period instruments, the Kuijkens perform here on modern instruments with tremendous energy and vivacity, though with only a discrete touch of vibrato. Indeed, it is this quality of joy, of the sheer pleasure in making music together, that most distinguishes the Kuijkens' performances from all others. Their technique is superlative as exemplified by the lightness, depth, and ease of their ensemble. But the generous warmth of the quintet's central Adagio molto espressivo or the giddy enthusiasm of the quartet's closing Allegretto molto show the players to be far more than technically adept: they are really enjoying themselves. Recorded in immediate and evocative super audio sound by Bert van der Wolf for Channel Classics, this disc is a strong pick for any fan of Beethoven's chamber music.