Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, Budapest String Quartet|
Beethoven The Middle Quartets in Concert at the Library of Congress 1940-1960
Genres: Special Interest, Classical
The Budapest Quartet was formed in 1917 by three Hungarians and a Dutchman. When the group arrived in America in 1934, all four players were Russians. The Budapest became this country's first string quartet able to live en... more »
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The Budapest Quartet was formed in 1917 by three Hungarians and a Dutchman. When the group arrived in America in 1934, all four players were Russians. The Budapest became this country's first string quartet able to live entirely on performing; it owed its meteoric rise to fame in part to the nationwide broadcasts of its concerts. The players were also the first to hold residencies, one at the University of Buffalo, where they established an annual Beethoven cycle, and one lasting 22 years at the Library of Congress, where these three discs were recorded in live performance. Their style, which long set the standard for quartet playing and influenced generations of chamber musicians, was distinguished by its immaculate perfection of technique, tone, and ensemble, and by its aristocratic elegance and moderation. All these qualities are fully in evidence here: the scrupulous observance of Beethoven's markings; the beauty and purity of the individual and collective sound; the balance, clarity, and uncannily smooth taking over of voices; the supple steadiness of the rhythm. Their contrasts are subtle, they take almost no liberties, and they avoid outward effects, such as slides, and all extremes of tempo and dynamics. Their playing is noble, austere, and restrained, with a certain cool, impersonal detachment, but they can also get involved and carried away. The slow movements have great warmth, depth, and intensity of expression. The Scherzo of Op. 74 is tempestuous and sweeping, Op. 95 is headlong and menacing, the fast Codas take off like the wild wind. --Edith Eisler
The Library Recordings vs The Studio Recordings
Shawn Williams | Gary, IN USA | 12/27/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"As much as I love the Budapesters I couldn't get past the quality of the library recordings. You cannot hear the instruments articulate very well in some parts. I don't know if this is because the library has poor acoustics or the microphones where placed incorrectly. You loose some notes and even whole phrases at times in a blurr. The studio recordings are far superior in sound quality. If you already have these quartets in a modern recording and just want to add the superiority of the Budapesters then I would recommend this set so long as you know that there are sound limitations. If this is your first buy of these quartets I recommend buying the scattered and incomplete Sony Essential Classics recordings of the Budapesters playing these pieces. I know the CD generation will not like the library recordings, but if you are used to listening to music with a grain of salt for the quality of the recording then you can enjoy the library recordings."
Thoroughly enjoyed this collection.
D. Bonds | Jacksonville, AR USA | 12/31/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Honestly, I had never heard of The Budapest before, I love classical music more and more these days and was searching for some options here on Amazon. This was one of the selections highlighted on my recommendations page and I listened to it and decided I would like it for Christmas. I recieved it and I have fallen in love with the Quartet...they play Beethoven so beautifully. I can't hear it enough, I find their playing to be very uplifting and relaxing at the same time. I also like how the interviews with the members of the Budapest....it gives great historical insight on the quartet and this time itself in history. I would recommend this CD to anyone who likes classical music in more simplistic settings. You feel as if you are sitting in on one of the concerts at the Library itself. Very authentic sound and ambience. Will always be a favorite of mine."
Sets the standard
Cellist | Hanover, NH | 08/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"These middle quartets of Beethoven, recorded here by the great Budapest Quartet between 1940 and 1960, in my opinion set the standard of playing for the middle quartets (as do their other recordings for the early and late quartets). The playing here is clean and incredibly precise, thus leaving the listener with a very satisfied feeling. Despite the fact that the sound quality is not quite up to the level of recordings being made today, one can still quite certainly tell that artistically and musically speaking, the recording is maybe the finest ever, due to the Budapest Quartet's musical intelligence and overall immaculate playing. I am happy to recommend this recording as the definitive set of the middle quartets, played by true champions of Beethoven."