- String Quartet No. 4 in C minor, Op. 18/4 - Ludwig van Beethoven - Alain Lanceron - Artemis Quartet
- String Quartet No. 8 in E minor ("Rasumovsky 2"), Op. 59/2 - Ludwig van Beethoven - Alain Lanceron - Artemis Quartet
Hearing the Artemis Quartet play Beethoven's "C minor Quartet, Op. 18/4," and "E minor Quartet, Op. 59/2," is like hearing them for the first time, even if you've heard them many times before. As was true of the 2005 recordings of the Opus 95 and Opus 59 works, these are extremely muscular, expressive, and intense readings that reveal far more of Beethoven's inner world than any more "respectful" reading of the piece could ever hope to do. If your tastes run toward more traditional readings of these pieces, the Artemis Quartet's searing, slashing, remorseless, heart-on-sleeves approach may prove too much, especially in the slow movements. But for others, especially those who like their Beethoven stormy and un-Romantic, these blood and guts interpretations will be just the antidote for too many elegant versions. Virgin Classics' sound is a bit close, but very evocative and undeniably realistic.