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Beethoven: The Late String Quartets / Takács Quartet

Album Summary

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 12 in E flat major, Op. 127
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 15 in A minor ("Heiliger Dankgesang"), Op. 132
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 16 in F major, Op. 135
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 11 in F minor, Op. 95 "Serioso"
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 13 in B flat major, Op. 130
>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Grosse Fuge for String Quartet in B flat major Op. 133
Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

"The Takacs might play this repertoire better than any quartet of the past or present. What ultimately sets the Takacs apart is its ability to define the essential character in the Beethoven quartets, in which an enormous array of emotions, moods and compositional challenges are encapsulated." - The Cleveland Plain Dealer

The Guardian
It is impossible to exaggerate the beauty of the tone-colours that these four musicians achieve... If late Beethoven is the Holy Grail of quartet playing, then the Takács Quartet has found it

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
Interpreters of the late quartets have to convey what at times sounds like a stream of musical consciousness while respecting the many written markings. The Takács do better than most. For openers, they had access to the new Henle Edition and have made use of some textual changes - nothing too drastic but encouraging evidence of a good musical conscience. In Op 130 they take the long first-movement exposition repeat, using the Grosse Fuge as the rightful finale (Beethoven's original intention) which, in the context of their fiery reading of the fugue, works well.

Contemporary incredulity at the sheer scale and complexity of the fugue caused Beethoven to offer a simpler alternative finale, in which they again play the repeat, which helps balance the 'alternative' structure. The Takács evidently appreciate this music both as musical argument and as sound. Try their glassy sul ponticello at the end of Op 131's Scherzo, or the many instances where plucked and bowed passages are fastidiously balanced.

Attenuated inflections are honoured virtually to the letter, textures carefully differentiated, musical pauses intuitively well-timed and inner voices nearly always transparent. This set completes one of the best available Beethoven quartet cycles, possibly the finest in an already rich digital market, more probing than the pristine Emersons or Alban Bergs (live), more refined than the gutsy and persuasive Lindsays, and less consciously stylised than the Juilliards (and always with the historic Busch Quartet as an essential reference).



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Works Details

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 12 in E flat major, Op. 127
  • Ensemble: Takács String Quartet
  • Notes: St George's, Bristol, England (11/17/2003-11/20/2003)
  • Running Time: 34 min. 40 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1823-1824

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131
  • Ensemble: Takács String Quartet
  • Notes: St George's, Bristol, England (11/17/2003-11/20/2003)
  • Running Time: 37 min. 32 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1826

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 15 in A minor ("Heiliger Dankgesang"), Op. 132
  • Ensemble: Takács String Quartet
  • Notes: St George's, Bristol, England (11/17/2003-11/20/2003)
  • Running Time: 42 min. 10 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1825

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 16 in F major, Op. 135
  • Ensemble: Takács String Quartet
  • Notes: St George's, Bristol, England (11/17/2003-11/20/2003)
  • Running Time: 24 min. 3 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1826

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 11 in F minor, Op. 95 "Serioso"
  • Ensemble: Takács String Quartet
  • Notes: St George's, Bristol, England (11/17/2003-11/20/2003)
  • Running Time: 20 min. 36 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1810

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 13 in B flat major, Op. 130
  • Ensemble: Takács String Quartet
  • Notes: St George's, Bristol, England (11/17/2003-11/20/2003)
  • Running Time: 42 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1825-1826

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Grosse Fuge for String Quartet in B flat major Op. 133
  • Ensemble: Takács String Quartet
  • Notes: St George's, Bristol, England (11/17/2003-11/20/2003)
  • Running Time: 14 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1825

>Beethoven, Ludwig van : Quartet for Strings no 13 in B flat major, Op. 130
  • Notes: St George's, Bristol, England (11/17/2003-11/20/2003)
  • Running Time: 42 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1825-1826