The Guarneri Quartet has forgotten more about the late quartets of Beethoven than most other ensembles will ever know. They understand the profound lyrical impulse behind this quartet (every note in their reading of the first movement is “sung”) and they manage the paradoxical feat of imparting both a sublime sense of flow and inevitability to the music, and achieving spontaneity at the same time. The recording for Philips, made in 1988, is marginally brisker across the board than the group’s late 1960’s account for RCA, and is more probing as well, putting the pathos and whimsy of Beethoven’s writing in slightly higher relief. Both interpretations serve the music admirably, though the sound of the earlier one is somewhat veiled inRead more comparison with the crystalline clarity and greater richness of the Philips recording. – Ted Libbey, author of
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Life-changing BeethovenJanuary 30, 2015By David Levy (Chicago, IL)See All My Reviews"To put it bluntly, the first violinist makes or breaks the quartet. The other instruments enhance or detract in subtle or not so subtle ways from the potential greatness of the performance. As a long-time violist I always felt the soul had a chance for redemption in my string quartet performances but it wasn't until a promising young violinist joined our group did I feel I could ignore the sounds coming from the 2nd violin and cello. In these performances the Guarneri Quartet has the best group of musicians around, bar none: Arnold Steinhardt possesses the finest tone and technique anywhere, and the other players' emphasis, phrasing and tones are so profoundly perfect that I truly believe that any agnostic who listens to this performance of opus 131 will find heaven. The opus 74 is a wonderful appetizer."Report Abuse
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