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Beethoven – The Late String Quartets

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Orchestras / Ensembles
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Periods
Conductors
Label
Catalogue numberBIS-1096 CD
Release date2013-12-10
Discs3
Orig. sample rate44100Hz

33% Discount

Like few other works, Beethoven's late string quartets have gained an almost undisputed standing as the very apex of their genre. Not many of Beethoven's contemporaries would have accorded them this: the composer Louis Spohr called them 'indecipherable, uncorrected horrors' and the quartets were widely regarded as the monstrous products of a madness which at best could be excused by the composer’s deafness. One of the first to recognize them for the masterpieces that they are was Franz Schubert, who after having heard a performance of Quartet No.14 in C sharp minor is reported to have said 'After this, what is left for us to write?' Composers after Schubert have been as awestruck by this music, with Stravinsky famously describing the Große Fuge as 'an absolutely contemporary piece of music that will be contemporary forever.' The feeling that Beethoven in these works was giving form to a universal music which transcends genre conventions have also inspired many to adapt various of the quartets for larger forces, including the conductors Dmitri Mitropoulos and Arturo Toscanini. On the present recordings, originally released by the Altara label in 2006, it is the Norwegian violinist Terje Tønnesen’s adaptations we hear, performed by himself and his Swedish string ensemble Camerata Nordica. Besides providing the greater dynamic spectrum that a larger ensemble can bring to the music, Tønnesen’s main aim has been to strengthen the contrasts between intimate passages and fuller textures by employing solo players in certain passages, as in a concerto grosso. He and Camerata Nordica has also reinstated the Große Fuge in its proper context: that amazing 15 minute monolith was originally intended as the finale of Op.130, but proved indigestible to contemporary audiences and critics – one of whom described it as ‘as incomprehensible as Chinese’ – and was replaced by an easy-going rondo following a request from Beethoven’s publisher.
 
Extra material for download
 
 
Disc 1
 
  Composer: Beethoven, Ludwig van
  String Quartet No.12 in E flat major, Op.127 38:09
01 I. Maestoso — Allegro 06:14 $ 0.62 USD
02 II. Adagio, ma non troppo e molto cantabile 18:09 $ 1.82 USD
03 III. Scherzando vivace 06:38 $ 0.66 USD
04 IV. Finale. Allegro – Allegro comodo 07:08 $ 0.71 USD
 
 
  Composer: Beethoven, Ludwig van
  String Quartet No.14 in C sharp minor, Op.131 37:53
05 I. Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo 06:37 $ 0.66 USD
06 II. Allegro molto vivace 03:00 $ 0.30 USD
07 III. Allegro moderato – Adagio 00:51 $ 0.09 USD
08 IV. Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile – Più mosso
– Andante moderato e lusinghiero – Adagio –
Allegretto – Adagio, ma non troppo e semplice –
Allegretto
13:25 $ 1.34 USD
09 V. Presto 05:17 $ 0.53 USD
10 VI. Adagio quasi un poco andante 02:09 $ 0.22 USD
11 VII. Allegro 06:34 $ 0.66 USD
 
 
Disc 3
 
  Composer: Beethoven, Ludwig van
  String Quartet No.15 in A minor, Op.132 40:42
01 I. Assai sostenuto – Allegro 09:38 $ 0.96 USD
02 II. Allegro ma non tanto 06:34 $ 0.66 USD
03 Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit 15:52 $ 1.59 USD
04 Alla Marcia, assai vivace - Piu allegro 02:07 $ 0.21 USD
05 Allegro appassionato - Presto 06:31 $ 0.65 USD
 
  String Quartet No.16 in F major, Op.135 23:01
06 Allegretto 05:58 $ 0.60 USD
07 Vivace 03:30 $ 0.35 USD
08 Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo 06:40 $ 0.67 USD
09 Grave, ma non troppo tratto 06:53 $ 0.69 USD
 
  Album total 03:05:36
ComposerBeethoven, Ludwig van
ConductorTonnesen (Tønnesen), Terje
StringsCamerata Nordica
EnsembleCamerata Nordica

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