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Beethoven, Schumann: Piano Quartets / Ax, Stern, Laredo, Ma

Release Date: 06/14/1994 
Label:  Sony   Catalog #: 53339   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Robert SchumannLudwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Isaac SternJaime LaredoYo-Yo MaEmanuel Ax
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 53 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Sixteen recordings of Beethoven's Op. 16 in its original Mozart-inspired quintet version for piano and wind against only two for the piano quartet arrangement in which it rapidly re-emerged—that's the current Classical Catalogue listing. But this 1992 performance of the quartet from Isaac Stern and his eminent younger colleagues makes it hard to believe that it was conceived for any other combination than theirs—and what higher praise than that? The Andante cantabile, with its delicately embellished melodic strands, surely gains in expressive eloquence from the more personal inflexions of caressing strings. And with their bold dynamic contrasts and piquant accentuation, what drama all four players draw from the opening movement. As a Read more brilliant young pianist himself, Beethoven entrusted the pianist with a load of responsibility, at once arrestingly and effortlessly discharged here by Emanuel Ax. Listening late at night with headphones, I at first thought balance occasionally went against the strings. But with the more spacious acoustic of normal twin-speakers I revised my opinion the next day.

As for Schumann's Piano Quartet, no longer is it dwarfed in popularity by its immediate predecessor in the same key, the Piano Quintet: already it boasts nine recordings as against the Quintet's 14. This one will surely win it a host of new friends—and not only for the mercurial lightness and grace of the Mendelssohnian sprites in the Scherzo and the glowing but essentially unsentimentalized intimacy of the Andante cantabile (as dedicated a love-song as Schumann ever wrote). The performers' impulse in the two flanking movements is unflagging and I've rarely heard a more exhilarating response to Schumann's new-found contrapuntal mastery than in this finale. The overall impression is of spontaneous enjoyment—a group of friends making music together for their own delight rather than as just another professional engagement. The recording is as vibrant as the playing.

-- Joan Chissell, Gramophone [10/1994]
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Piano and Strings in E flat major, Op. 47 by Robert Schumann
Performer:  Isaac Stern (Violin), Jaime Laredo (Violin), Yo-Yo Ma (Cello),
Emanuel Ax (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1842; Germany 
Date of Recording: 03/1992 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 27 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Quartet for Piano and Strings in E flat major, Op. 16 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Yo-Yo Ma (Cello), Emanuel Ax (Piano), Jaime Laredo (Violin),
Isaac Stern (Violin)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1796; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1992 
Venue:  Manhattan Center Studios, New York City 
Length: 26 Minutes 12 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Piano Quartets of Beethoven and Schumann June 5, 2013 By T. Hollocher (Sudbury, MA) See All My Reviews "Musically and technically very good. Unfortunately, it lacks reference to Beethoven's very early piano quartets composed at age 15 or so." Report Abuse
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