Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Ludwig van Beethoven, Alban Berg Quartet|
Beethoven: String Quartets Nos.14 & 15
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Michael Alexander | New Haven, CT United States | 12/22/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I've heard several performances of late Beethoven, but nobody has come even close to what the Alban Berg Quartet does with these pieces. To me, they're the Pollini of string quartets: staggeringly good at the technical aspects of everything they touch, and much more emotionally deep than some people give them credit for. Their 131 is simply the definitive version, with utterly stunning attack and sense of rhythm, a deep lyricism and a VITALITY that sleepwalkers like Guarneri just miss completely. This is one to turn up so loud your ears bleed, lie on the floor in the dark and BASK to. They're no slackers on 132 either, and its third movement always leaves me tingling from head to toe. Recording is lovely as well, warm and excellent at capturing the quartet's glorious tone.
On the strength of this, I intend to buy the complete Berg quartets, and I expect it to be the best set I've ever purchased."
Pretty damn good for the price
Nicolas Mitchell | Los Angeles, CA | 08/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This album is great in several ways. If you are looking for the essence of late Beethoven and the harmonic and thematic battles the composer was waging, this is an essential album. The Berg Quartet plays in a clean, Beethovenian style. I have heard recordings of the late quartets in which the performers try to turn Beethoven into Brahms. The Berg Quartet does an outstanding job at capturing the essence of early romanticism without moving outside the style of Beethoven. You won't hear a better Heileger Dankesang for the price. I highly recommend this recording."
Exquisite playing but there is something missing
Nicolas Mitchell | 02/27/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The Alban Berg attack these two late Beethoven masterpieces with their customary intensity and technical polish. I particularly admire their scrupulous attention to dynamics and intonation. Follow the Alban Berg's playing with a score, and you will be amazed at how they observe every sforzando, crescendo, and accent (they also observe repeats, thank God). Few quartets that I've heard can match the hushed intensity that the Alban Berg attains while playing pianissimo. With all of the "raw ingredients" in place, one would expect consistently great performances. Unfortunately, these performances are sometimes less than the sum of their parts, particularly in Opus 132. The quartet's famed precision is partly to blame, since it occasionally seems to get in the way of rhythmic flexibility. They observe an unrelenting metronomic beat, which makes for good playing measure-by-measure but makes it more difficult to shape those measures into phrases, sections, and movements. The beautiful slow movement of Opus 132 seems to end in the middle of nowhere, without a proper resolution. In the last movement, the first violin's opening "recitative" lacks the declamatory quality that it should have. What should sound momentous (and on other recordings, like the Juilliard and Concord quartets, it does!) comes across as perfunctory or, as an earlier reviewer put it, "sterile." Somehow, of the two quartets featured on this CD, the Alban Berg seem to respond much better to Opus 131, where they play with a warmth and lyricism that is missing from Opus 132. If I were to rate the two performances separately, I'd give five stars to Opus 132 and three stars to Opus 131."