Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Johannes Brahms, Antonin Dvorak, Alban Berg Quartet|
Brahms: The String Quartets; Dvorák: String Quartet Op. 106
The three string quartets of Brahms are really problematic works. Like Mozart's late quartets, they tend to be overwritten. The composer worked so hard trying to establish an absolute equality of discourse among the parts ... more »
The three string quartets of Brahms are really problematic works. Like Mozart's late quartets, they tend to be overwritten. The composer worked so hard trying to establish an absolute equality of discourse among the parts that the pieces tend to sound thick and heavy. In his string quintets and sextets (again like Mozart), the presence of an extra player or two allowed Brahms to indulge in his love of rich textures without forcing. This means the great performances of the quartets need to keep the textures open and light, and the rhythm firm. The Alban Berg Quartet understands this problem well, and offers propulsive, committed renditions that make the best possible case for the music. --David Hurwitz
Brahms' Quartets Among His Most "Modern" Works
Karl Henzy | 02/15/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"There's no "problem" here, unless the listener is timid. These are gorgeous quartets. Unlike Schubert's beautiful late quartets, the melodic lines in Brahms' quartets are not clean and sharp, but they make up for it with a harmonic richness that is simply intoxicating. In fact, Brahms' innovativeness in the "vertical" element of harmony makes these quartets his most "modern" works, a short step from the early quartets of Bartok and Schoenberg. Such company may put some listeners off, but for me, these Brahms quartets rival Beethoven's."
Excellent CD, no liner notes :(
W. Morris | Pensacola, FL USA | 02/05/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"To the best of my knowledge this 2 CD set of the Brahms string quartets done by the Alban Berg Quartett is of the finest currently available. The players show a balance and timbre that is gorgeous and sumptuous without being overbearing. True panache and class are quite radiant in this recording. For the virtuosic playing it's worth the very reasonable price.
My only reason for a 4-star rating is that the CD set comes without liner notes: a very minor thing when just taking the time to enjoy the music. But for some of us who feel that they need a little background info as to what was going on in the composer's life or perhaps his actual reason for writing the music, it is completely lacking.
Like I said though, it's worth the money you spend for it and I still highly recommend it. You'll just have to find another source to retrieve background info.
Now if only Sony would re-release the Juilliard Quartet performing these same string quartets."
An intimate utterance of genius
smg | ny, ny | 11/22/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Brahm's 1st quartet is among the most beautiful, and intimate, works for string quartet. It is markedly distinct from those of Schubert and Beethoven in certain respects, and it is in this that makes it successful. The mood is distilled Brahms, yet we do not find the elemental forces at work here. Instead we find the reflective, particularly in the 3rd movement which is immediately involving and essentially transcendent if you permit my use of such a vague term. The Alban Berg Quartet are very successful in interpreting Brahms here, and they can be recommended without reservation, as can the quartets for any who long for the tranquil genius of Brahms not to be found in his symphonic output."