beethoven the complete string quartets
ALEXANDER STRING QUARTET
LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN
THE COMPLETE STRING QUARTETS
9 Disc CD Set FCL 2005
"The performances are unfailingly fresh and musically compelling. The interpretations are crisp and polished, full of perceptively observed detail; alert to the smallest change of accent and nuance. Tempos are never over-forced and neither are the dynamic contrasts. At the same time they are never afraid of imparting a vigorous bite to the Scherzos. Especially impressive is their superb intonation and immaculate ensemble whilst each player remains a solidly characterised individual....To summarize: the ASQ provide a most natural feel to their interpretations. I admired their splendidly matched phrasing together with an intuitive grasp of structure. The dynamics are rarely overstated and their choice of tempi feels just right. The exceptionally clear and dry sound is closely caught. I loved the quite exceptional essays from musicologist Eric Bromberger. These add appeal to the overall presentation. The ASQ can take considerable credit from these superb interpretations. Their dedication and insight has paid off as this set is one of the very finest available.…This Foghorn set is unquestionably one of my ‘Records of the Year’ for 2009.” — Michael Cookson, MusicWeb International
Excerpt from liner notes by Eric Bromberger
Beethoven made his early reputation in Vienna as a pianist of extraordinary virtuosity, with a remarkable ability to improvise. But Beethoven was also a string-player, and stringed instruments and the music composed for them remained important to him throughout his life. As a boy he had taken violin and viola lessons from Franz Georg Rovantini, who lived with the Beethoven family in Bonn, and as a teenager he played viola in the electoral and opera orchestras in Bonn; in the latter he played in performances of The Marriage of Figaro and Don Giovanni while Mozart was still alive.
Soon after his arrival in Vienna in November 1792, Beethoven met the violinist Ignaz Schuppanzigh, six years his junior, and already one of the most famous violinists in Vienna: Schuppanzigh would later lead the quartets maintained by Prince Carl Lichnowsky (at age 20) and by Count Andreas Razumovsky. Beethoven’s friendship with Schuppanzigh would last until the end of the composer’s life, and Schuppanzigh’s quartet — in its various permutations — would be the first to perform many of his quartets.
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EARLY QUARTETS (FCL 1996)
String Quartet in F Major, Op. 18 No. 1
String Quartet in G Major, Op. 18 No. 2
String Quartet in D Major, Op. 18 No. 3
String Quartet in C Minor, Op. 18 No. 4
String Quartet in A Major, Op. 18 No. 5
String Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 18 No. 6
MIDDLE QUARTETS (FCL 1999)
String Quartet in F Major, Op. 59 No. 1, "Rasumovsky"
String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59 No. 2, "Rasumovsky"
String Quartet in C Major, Op. 59 No. 3, "Rasumovsky"
String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 74, "Harp"
String Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95, "Serioso"
LATE QUARTETS (FCL 2002)
String Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 127
String Quartet in C-sharp Minor, Op. 131
String Quartet in B-flat Major, Op. 130
Grosse Fuge in B-flat Major, Op. 133
String Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132
String Quartet in F Major, Op. 135