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Beethoven: Complete String Quartets / Alban Berg Quartett


Release Date: 11/16/1999 
Label:  Emi Classics   Catalog #: 73606   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Gerhard SchulzHatto BeyerleValentin ErbenGünter Pichler,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Number of Discs: 7 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 8 Hours 8 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

7 CD SET!


It seems that the price of the Alban Berg Quartett's late-'70s/early-'80s Beethoven cycle goes down each time it's reissued. This time around, the seven discs are housed in an attractive, space-saving box, with no skimping on annotations. Although the booklet credits these transfers as the same 1985 digital remasterings that have appeared at least twice before, my ears detect slightly more emphasis on the upper transients. Maybe I'm hallucinating. More to the point, the past 20 years have seen more distinguished Beethoven quartet recordings than at any other time in the phonograph's history. None, however, are consistently so accomplished as the Alban Berg Quartett's.
Read more They play with whirling vitality and tender sophistication, and handle Beethoven's often stressful contrasts of dynamics and phrasings with meaningful finesse. Melodies and accompanying sequences are equally projected with pinpoint delineation and beauty, yet never at the expense of the composer's underlying nervous energy. And what ravishingly colored pianissimos, particularly bone-chilling in the slow movements of Op. 127, Op. 135, and the Cavatina in Op. 130.

You won't find a trace of the occasional finicky phrasal adjustment or looser-limbed ambiance marking the ensemble's live 1989 remakes, nor the heavy intakes of breath peppering the Vegh Quartet's seasoned and stylish cycle, or the Emerson Quartet's eager overphrasing. If I could tame the engineering's resonance just the tiniest hair, I'd quash my sole reservation about this absurdly cheap, and profoundly uplifting Beethoven Quartet cycle. And to think all this amazing music, so intelligently and sensitively performed, costs less than dinner and a movie!
--Jed Distler Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Quartet for Strings no 1 in F major, Op. 18 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Gerhard Schulz (Violin), Hatto Beyerle (Viola), Valentin Erben (Cello),
Günter Pichler (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
2. Grosse Fuge for String Quartet in B flat major Op. 133 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Günter Pichler (Violin), Valentin Erben (Cello), Thomas Kakuska (Viola),
Gerhard Schulz (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1825-1826; Vienna, Austria 
3. Quartet for Strings no 2 in G major, Op. 18 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Hatto Beyerle (Viola), Valentin Erben (Cello), Gerhard Schulz (Violin),
Günter Pichler (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
4. Quartet for Strings no 3 in D major, Op. 18 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Gerhard Schulz (Violin), Hatto Beyerle (Viola), Günter Pichler (Violin),
Valentin Erben (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
5. Quartet for Strings no 4 in C minor, Op. 18 no 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Günter Pichler (Violin), Valentin Erben (Cello), Hatto Beyerle (Viola),
Gerhard Schulz (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
6. Quartet for Strings no 5 in A major, Op. 18 no 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Günter Pichler (Violin), Valentin Erben (Cello), Hatto Beyerle (Viola),
Gerhard Schulz (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1798/1800 
7. Quartet for Strings no 6 in B flat major, Op. 18 no 6 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Valentin Erben (Cello), Hatto Beyerle (Viola), Gerhard Schulz (Violin),
Günter Pichler (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
8. Quartet for Strings no 7 in F major, Op. 59 no 1 "Razumovsky" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Günter Pichler (Violin), Valentin Erben (Cello), Hatto Beyerle (Viola),
Gerhard Schulz (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Written: 1805-6 
9. Quartet for Strings no 8 in E minor, Op. 59 no 2 "Razumovsky" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Valentin Erben (Cello), Günter Pichler (Violin), Gerhard Schulz (Violin),
Hatto Beyerle (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1805-1806; Vienna, Austria 
10. Quartet for Strings no 9 in C major, Op. 59 no 3 "Razumovsky" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Gerhard Schulz (Violin), Hatto Beyerle (Viola), Valentin Erben (Cello),
Günter Pichler (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Written: 1805/6 
11. Quartet for Strings no 10 in E flat major, Op. 74 "Harp" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Hatto Beyerle (Viola), Gerhard Schulz (Violin), Valentin Erben (Cello),
Günter Pichler (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
12. Quartet for Strings no 11 in F minor, Op. 95 "Serioso" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Günter Pichler (Violin), Gerhard Schulz (Violin), Hatto Beyerle (Viola),
Valentin Erben (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Written: 1810 
13. Quartet for Strings no 12 in E flat major, Op. 127 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Thomas Kakuska (Viola), Günter Pichler (Violin), Valentin Erben (Cello),
Gerhard Schulz (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1823-1825; Vienna, Austria 
14. Quartet for Strings no 13 in B flat major, Op. 130 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Valentin Erben (Cello), Thomas Kakuska (Viola), Günter Pichler (Violin),
Gerhard Schulz (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1825-1826; Vienna, Austria 
15. Quartet for Strings no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Günter Pichler (Violin), Valentin Erben (Cello), Thomas Kakuska (Viola),
Gerhard Schulz (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Written: 1826 
16. Quartet for Strings no 15 in A minor, Op. 132 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Günter Pichler (Violin), Valentin Erben (Cello), Thomas Kakuska (Viola),
Gerhard Schulz (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1825; Vienna, Austria 
17. Quartet for Strings no 16 in F major, Op. 135 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Günter Pichler (Violin), Gerhard Schulz (Violin), Valentin Erben (Cello),
Thomas Kakuska (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Alban Berg String Quartet
Written: 1826 

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