- String Quartet No. 12 in E flat major, Op. 127
- String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131
- String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major ("Lieb"), Op. 130
- Fugue for string quartet in B flat major ("Grosse Fuge"), Op. 133
- String Quartet No. 15 in A minor ("Heiliger Dankgesang"), Op. 132
- String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135
Originally released in the late '60s and early '70s, the Yale String Quartet's recordings of Beethoven's late quartets were the special favorites of the cerebral set. Renown for their acuity, austerity, and asceticism, the Yale's recordings were equally praised for their warmth, wit, and humanity. In their time, the Yale's performances were said to be on the same level as the Amadeus Quartet's sweetly lucid performances, the Quartetto Italiano's tonally beautiful performances, and even the Quatour Végh's sublimely spiritual performances. But while those groups' recordings have remained in print more or less continuously down through the digital era, the Yale Quartet's recordings returned again only briefly on CD, then departed almost as quickly. In this superb 2006 reissue, the Yale Quartet's late quartets have once more come back into print -- and they sound every bit as good as their reputation. From the simple serenity of the "Cavatina" to the intellectual vigor of the "Grosse Fuge" or the ecstatic rapture of the "Heiliger Dankgesang," the Yale Quartet is wholly as one with every aspect of the music and expresses it all in waves of overwhelming intensity. Anyone who loves the late quartets should hear these performances. Fine in its time, Vanguard's stereo recording sounds crisper and deeper on CD. Possibly it's the loss of all that surface noise.