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Beethoven: String Quartets Op 59, Op 74 / Takács Quartet

Album Summary

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 7 in F major, Op. 59 no 1 "Razumovsky"
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 10 in E flat major, Op. 74 "Harp"
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 8 in E minor, Op. 59 no 2 "Razumovsky"
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 9 in C major, Op. 59 no 3 "Razumovsky"
Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The Takacs Quartet thrilled the critics with their Bartok quartet cycle released in 1998. The set won a Gramophone Award and was nominated for a Grammy. Now the Takacs have embarked on Beethoven's Complete String Quartets. This first set to be released is the Middle Quartets (Op. 59 and Op. 74), to be followed by the Early Quartets (in April 03) and the Late Quartets (in September 04).

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
The Takács do a fine job here: controlled, well paced and impeccably balanced.

They manage to balance the music's vertical and horizontal aspects beautifully, long-breathed contrapuntal lines gliding serenely above a sharp, occasionally dramatic accompaniment - masterful playing indeed and typical of this first lap of the Takács' projected Beethoven cycle.

The Takács hold both line and rhythm in Op 59 No 1 with imposing control. Their manner of badinage in the mischievously hocketing second movement is more intense than the rival account by The Lindsays, and their tempos consistently swifter. In Op 59 No 3 the Takács approximate the Busch in a broad, soulful Andante con moto. And in the fugal finale they're almost on a par with the Emersons, whose demonic DG account is one of the most viscerally exciting quartet recordings around. The finale of Op 59 No 2 is a tautly braced canter whereas in the Scherzo of the Harp, Op 74, taken at a hair-raising lick, the Takács make obsessive music of the dominating four-note idea - and there's absolutely no let up in tension for the cello-led trio. Indeed, the Takács' Harp is one of the finest ever recorded, with fiery reportage of the first movement's central development and a delightfully playful account of the finale, the 'tipsy' first variation especially.

The jewel, then, is Op 59 No 2, though you'd be hard pressed to find a rival digital set of Opp 59 and 74 that's better overall. Andrew Keener's recording (St George's, Bristol) reports a realistic 'edge' within a sympathetic acoustic. You won't find a finer quartet recording anywhere.



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Works Details

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 7 in F major, Op. 59 no 1 "Razumovsky"
  • Ensemble: Takács String Quartet
  • Notes: St. George's, Bristol, England (11/19/2001-11/22/2001)
  • Running Time: 39 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1806

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 10 in E flat major, Op. 74 "Harp"
  • Ensemble: Takács String Quartet
  • Notes: St. George's, Bristol, England (11/19/2001-11/22/2001)
  • Running Time: 31 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1809

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 8 in E minor, Op. 59 no 2 "Razumovsky"
  • Ensemble: Takács String Quartet
  • Notes: St. George's, Bristol, England (07/16/2001-07/19/2001)
  • Running Time: 39 min. 53 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1806

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 9 in C major, Op. 59 no 3 "Razumovsky"
  • Ensemble: Takács String Quartet
  • Notes: St. George's, Bristol, England (07/16/2001-07/19/2001)
  • Running Time: 31 min. sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1806