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Beethoven: String Quartets, Volume 2
The Classical Shop
release date: April 2004
Originally recorded in 2003
Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory, Moscow
Total Time - 77:53
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LUDVIG VAN BEETHOVEN
Select Complete Single Disc for
String Quartets, Volume 2
String Quartet, Op. 59 No. 2
in E minor - in e-Moll- en mi mineur
String Quartet, Op. 74 'Harp'
in E flat major - in Es-Dur - en mi bémol majeur
Poco adagio - Allegro
Adagio ma non troppo
Presto - Più presto quasi prestissimo
Allegretto con variazioni
Chandos is proud to present the second volume in its complete series Beethoven String Quartets. The quartets contain some of the greatest, most enigmatic music ever written, played here by one of the world’s finest ensembles.
The Borodin Quartet was formed in 1945 in Moscow. Cellist Valentin Berlinsky has been with the Quartet since its earliest days and violinist Andrei Abramenkov joined in 1974. Igor Naidin learnt the art of quartet playing from several of the Borodins including the Quartet’s violist, Dmitri Shebalin, whom he eventually replaced. Leader Ruben Aharonian has won prizes at several international competitions including the Enescu, Montréal and Tchaikovsky competitions.
The Borodin Quartet celebrates its sixtieth anniversary season in 2004–5 with performances of the complete Beethoven quartet cycle at the Amsterdam Concertgebouw,Vienna Musikverein and at the City of London Festival.
Following close on the heels of the mighty F major Quartet (featured in the first volume of this series along with Op. 59, No. 3), Beethoven’s Quartet in E minor, Op. 59 No. 2 could not be more different. Where the F major Quartet pursues its course with a leisurely breadth, the cries of the opening chords of the E minor and the whispers that follow confront a void. The real release comes only in the slow movement, which was clearly a significant piece for the composer, judging by his instruction ‘this piece is to be played with great feeling’. The battle of E minor and E major continues in the scherzo: its fractured waltz comes out into the light of the trio with one of the Russian themes Beethoven promised Count Rasumovsky he would insert into each of the quartets.
Beethoven dedicated his Quartet in E flat major,Op. 74 to Prince Lobkowitz – none other than the nobleman who had commissioned his first set of six quartets, Op. 18. The circumstances leading up to the composition of the quartet were far from happy. Vienna had just endured one occupation by the French when Beethoven set about his Rasumovsky Quartets under relatively settled circumstances in 1806; the early summer of 1809 was far worse. This time, Napoleon’s bombardment and occupation brought, in the words of Beethoven, ‘misery in a most concentrated form’. The equivocal mood of the period is surely hinted at in this demanding work which affirms the questing spirit of the three Rasumovsky quartets that preceded it.
This redoubtable Russian group plays with all the powerful, focused tone youd expect and brings out the entire wealth of Beethovens colour in these fiery performances.
Classic FM Magazine
'This redoubtable Russian group plays with all the powerful, focused tone you'd expect and brings out the entire wealth of Beethoven's colour in these fiery performances.'
Classic FM Magazine
'Its [The Razumovsky] first movement unfolds with exceptional breadth and the decision to include both of its repeats may well make it the longest account on disc. But timings are often misleading. From the two opening chords - forceful and slashing - it is clear that this is to be a reading of tremendous power and conviction.'
International Record Review
'But though I'd quarrel with some aspects of these interpretations, there's no doubt as to the quality of the sound, or the strong character and committment of the performances.'
its [The Razumovsky] first movement unfolds with exceptional breadth and the decision to include both of its repeats may well make it the longest account on disc. But timings are often misleading. From the two opening chords - forceful and slashing - it is clear that this is to be a reading of tremendous power and conviction.
International Record Review
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