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Beethoven: Three String Quartets Op 59 / Prazak Quartet

Release Date: 02/08/2000 
Label:  Praga   Catalog #: 250145   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Vlastimil HolekVáclav RemesJosef KlusonMichal Kanka
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prazák String Quartet
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 47 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The Pražàk Quartet, on evidence of this release, presents a major challenge to the current Beethoven Quartet hegemony. There is a freshness to the playing, a sense of excitement that you would associate with first exposure to and enrapture with a great work. But certainly these musicians have much experience with this music, as is evident in the scrupulous attention they pay to Beethoven's dynamic shadings, rhythms, and tempo modulations. Listening to Op. 59 No. 1, you become aware of a quality of power tempered by nuance that makes these performances consistently alluring. The cello melody soars, and the build up to the secondary material is exciting without becoming strident, as it does in
Read more the Emerson Quartet's faster and more calculating reading.

Op. 59 No. 2 is the finest performance of the set, a transporting experience that makes you marvel anew at the composer's genius. From the tension-filled opening chords, the Pražàk produces a powerful, well-nourished sound, but one that is light on its feet and dynamically febrile. The adagio, at a measured tempo, is simply sumptuous and deeply felt--very different from the excellent but slightly self-conscious perfection achieved by the Emerson and Alban Berg Quartets. The finale continues this contrast, its driven joy evoked with a sense of ease not so apparent in the Emerson's tightly controlled rendition.

The Pražàk makes the first chord of Op. 59 No. 3 sound like one of Tchaikovsky's melancholic musings, then perfectly conveys the music's spontaneous eruption of joy. In the following Andante, the plucked cello line is perfectly balanced with the other instruments, avoiding the "guitar" effect of the Alban Berg's performance. The Menuetto flows gracefully, leading into a meticulous and brilliantly played Allegro finale. The performers are graced with a warm, spacious recording that places them ideally within the hall and in proximity to the microphones, allowing their full dynamic and tonal range to be faithfully reproduced. Get this marvelous CD and you'll find yourself eagerly anticipating the Pražàk's venture into the late quartets.

-- Victor Carr Jr., ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings no 7 in F major, Op. 59 no 1 "Razumovsky" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Vlastimil Holek (Violin), Václav Remes (Violin), Josef Kluson (Viola),
Michal Kanka (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prazák String Quartet
Written: 1805-6 
Date of Recording: 03/2000 
Venue:  Domovina Studio, Prague, Czech Republic 
Length: 39 Minutes 52 Secs. 
Quartet for Strings no 8 in E minor, Op. 59 no 2 "Razumovsky" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Václav Remes (Violin), Vlastimil Holek (Violin), Josef Kluson (Viola),
Michal Kanka (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prazák String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1805-1806; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 10/2000 
Venue:  Domovina Studio, Prague, Czech Republic 
Length: 35 Minutes 44 Secs. 
Quartet for Strings no 9 in C major, Op. 59 no 3 "Razumovsky" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Václav Remes (Violin), Vlastimil Holek (Violin), Josef Kluson (Viola),
Michal Kanka (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Prazák String Quartet
Written: 1805/6 
Date of Recording: 07/2000 
Venue:  Domovina Studio, Prague, Czech Republic 
Length: 30 Minutes 35 Secs. 

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