Notes and Editorial Reviews
The Paizo Quartet brings a wonderfully heartfelt and deeply expressive quality to Beethoven's Op. 131. The barely discernible accent on the opening melody's fourth note (usually prominent in other interpretations, and quadruple underlined in Bernstein's Vienna Philharmonic version) at first gives the impression of a safe, uninvolved reading. But as the music progresses it becomes clear that this streamlining of phrases is part of an embracing commitment to unbroken line and fluidity of tempo. In the Presto fifth movement the rubato sounds natural and instinctive in the Paizo's hands, contrasted with the Emerson Quartet's rather self-consciously mechanical style. The Juilliard Quartet's depth of experience and thorough mastery of the score
brings an earthy humanity to the proceedings, while the Kodaly's offer a finely polished if less audacious reading.
But the Paizo also firmly grasps the measure of the music's vertical dimension: listen to the marvelous delineation of voices in the fourth-movement variations, especially to the carefully crafted ensemble balance in the sweetly singing viola/cello duet. This, combined with the Paizo's rhythmic alacrity and breathtaking dynamic contrasts makes this Op. 131 seem as if it were a new creation.
Paizo slackens not one wit for the early C minor quartet. Here, the vibrant energy is married to a strongly insistent rhythmic pulse that reveals Beethoven's early mastery in this medium. This is most telling in the finale, where the players revel in the music's stirring energy and contrapuntal brilliance. The recording presents the ensemble in an ideal acoustic setting with just enough reverb to convey a solid, three dimensional sense of space, with satisfying dynamic impact. Even with the seeming torrent of Beethoven Quartet releases currently upon us, this release deserves a serious listen.
--Victor Carr Jr, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Quartet for Strings no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Paizo String Quartet
Quartet for Strings no 4 in C minor, Op. 18 no 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Paizo String Quartet
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