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Beethoven: String Quartets Op. 18 no 1-6 / Tokyo SQ

Album Summary

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 1 in F major, Op. 18/1
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 2 in G major, Op. 18 no 2
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 3 in D major, Op. 18 no 3
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 4 in C minor, Op. 18 no 4
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 5 in A major, Op. 18/5
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 6 in B flat major, Op. 18 no 6
Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The 'Six Quartets of Opus 18,' his first published essay in the genre, confirmed the young lion's position as a powerful new presence on the Viennese musical scene. In the hands of the world-renowned Tokyo String Quartet, playing with fresh vigor in the latest formation, these early masterpieces receive a performance of potent eloquence and panache. "These are distinguished readings: Technically impeccable, beautifully balanced..." -International Record Review

The Strad
The Tokyo Quartet here produce a sumptuous, beautifully blended sonority and perform with outstanding music insight, unanimity and polish.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Enjoyable as other digital recordings of Beethoven's first quartets by (for example) the Takács and Lindsay Quartets are, this new Tokyo set just about pips all rivals to the post. The reason is primarily one of balance, not only within the group itself but also in terms of overall musical judgement - whether relating to tempo, dynamics or emphases, or simply the way the players combine a sense of classical style with an appreciation of Beethoven's startling originality. Even as early as No 1's pensive opening, you notice how skilfully rests are being gauged, contrasts in colour and inflection, too: the way the clipped first motif leads into its sweetly imploring extension a couple of bars later. The Scherzo's skipping gait, incisive but lightly dispatched, is another source of pleasure, and so is the seemingly effortless swirl of the closing Allegro. The old quartet cliché about 'leaning together' is here a principal attribute.

At times it could be just one person playing. The qualifying ma non tanto of the C minor's opening Allegro is pointedly observed: dramatic impact is sustained while composure is maintained.

The crispness of the Andante scherzoso and the cannily calculated crescendi at the start of the finale is oustanding. Few ensembles have characterised the A major's cantering first idea as happily as the Tokyos do here, while the ethereal and texturally variegated middle movements anticipate the very different world of Beethoven's 'late' quartets. Beautifully blended recordings, too: if you're after a top-ranking digital set of Op 18, you couldn't do better.



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Works Details

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 1 in F major, Op. 18/1
  • Notes: Composition written: 1798-1800.
  • Running Time: 27 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1798-1800

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 2 in G major, Op. 18 no 2
  • Running Time: 22 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1798-1800

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 3 in D major, Op. 18 no 3
  • Notes: Composition written: 1798-1800.
  • Running Time: 21 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1798-1800

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 4 in C minor, Op. 18 no 4
  • Notes: Composition written: 1798-1800.
  • Running Time: 22 min. 38 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1798-1800

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 5 in A major, Op. 18/5
  • Notes: Composition written: 1798-1800.
  • Running Time: 26 min. 45 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1798-1800

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 6 in B flat major, Op. 18 no 6
  • Notes: Composition written: 1798-1800.
  • Running Time: 22 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1798-1800