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Britten: String Quartets, etc / Belcea Quartet

Album Summary

>Britten, Benjamin : Quartet for Strings no 1 in D major, Op. 25
>Britten, Benjamin : Quartet for Strings no 2 in C major, Op. 36
>Britten, Benjamin : Quartet for Strings no 3, Op. 94
>Britten, Benjamin : Divertimenti (3), for string quartet
Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Although we may not have the complete oeuvre for string quartet of Benjamin Britten here, the officially numbered three quartets played in this new EMI Classics recording undoubtedly form the core of his achievement in the genre. The Belcea Quartet has gained and enviable reputation as one of the leading quartets of the new generation. They continue to take the international chamber music circuit by storm, consistently receiving impressive critical acclaim for their performances.

Gramophone Classical Music Guide
The Belcea Quartet have become prominent players on the chamber-music scene. In the concert hall, their rather balletic style of performance can be alienating, but in these Britten recordings you can appreciate their high level of technical accomplishment without the risk of visual distraction.

Collectors familiar with any of the earlier sets of the quartets may not warm immediately to the Belcea's exceptionally dramatic way with the music's contrasting materials. But almost nothing is forced or eccentric here. The hell-for-leather tempo adopted for the First's finale is genuinely exciting, not a scramble, and although there are a few obtrusive, fussy details in the outer movements of No 2 the overall impression is powerfully convincing. No 3 is even better, at least in the earlier movements, bringing a sense of barely suppressed anger to some of Britten's most personal and allusive music. In the last movement the phrasing is occasionally over-pointed: yet, despite tempi that make this account significantly faster than the excellent Magginis and considerably faster than the stately Brodskys, the effect reinforces the true consistency of tone and character which underpins this notably diverse score. This is one of the best-engineered quartet discs you might hope to hear.

BBC Music Magazine
... for all-round excellence, the Belcea's becomes the new benchmark for these works, surpassing even my previously favoured Amadeus in No. 2 (Decca), and they finish with a spirited account of the Three Divertimenti of 1936.



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Works Details

>Britten, Benjamin : Quartet for Strings no 1 in D major, Op. 25
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (06/28/2004-07/03/2004)
  • Running Time: 26 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1941

>Britten, Benjamin : Quartet for Strings no 2 in C major, Op. 36
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (06/28/2004-07/03/2004)
  • Running Time: 31 min. 6 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1945

>Britten, Benjamin : Quartet for Strings no 3, Op. 94
  • Running Time: 25 min. 11 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1975

>Britten, Benjamin : Divertimenti (3), for string quartet
  • Notes: Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, England (06/28/2004-07/03/2004)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 29 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Form: Chamber Music
  • Written: 1933