In Jonathan Cott’s book Dinner with Lenny, which contains Bernstein’s last interview, the conductor identifies two recordings as his favorites: Shostakovich’s Leningrad Symphony with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and his string orchestra version of Beethoven’s Quartet in C sharp minor, Op 131. Bernstein praises the amazing unanimity of the Vienna Philharmonic strings, their remarkable sensitivity and wealth of nuance. He was certainly correct: the scherzo fifth movement, for example, is a miracle of accurate intonation and rhythmic precision from an orchestra whose special sound is often thought to stem, at least in part, from a certain comfortable, casualness of ensemble (sound clip).
Be that as it may, the entire groupRead more seems to have enjoyed itself thoroughly with the challenge of imitating convincingly a chamber-music sonority, only more so. The long central Andante also has amazing concentration and subtlety, while the concluding allegro has a physical impact that quartet performances can only imagine. Bernstein and the orchestra repeat the same trick with F major Quartet, Op. 135, although the digital sonics aren’t quite as warm as those for the analog Op. 131. It’s easy to understand, in short, why Bernstein regarded this recording as something very special. It is.
Quartet for Strings no 16 in F major, Op. 135by Ludwig van Beethoven Conductor:
Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
Written: 1826 Date of Recording: 09/1989 Venue: Live Grosser Saal, Musikverein, Vienna Length: 31 Minutes 20 Secs. Notes: This selection is a DDD recording.
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C-sharp minor QuintetSeptember 27, 2012By Tom C. See All My Reviews"I heard the orchestral version of Beethoven's C-sharp minor Quintet on my wi-fi radio tuned to WCRB, Boston one night recently, and was completely blown away. I checked the WCRB playlist for the title and label for this performance. Purchased from ArkivMusic through Amazon.com. My copy arrived in just three days. I am delighted with the recording and the service from ArkivMusic. Would certainly buy from them again."Report Abuse