WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

The Tokyo String Quartet Plays Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets

Beethoven
Release Date: 03/25/2014 
Label:  Rca   Catalog #: 975782   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter OundjianKazuhide IsomuraKikuei IkedaSadao Harada,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Number of Discs: 9 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Reviews of some of the original recordings that make up this set:

Op. 18 Quartets

I doubt whether quartet playing comes much better than in this Tokyo set of the Op. 18. Their set of the middle period quartets (RCA, 3/92) was very impressive both in terms of musical insight and technical perfection and ensemble. Regular readers are (probably painfully) aware that I am generally unsympathetic to virtuoso quartets with their thrustful fortissimos and high-powered projection. There must naturally be some sense of public utterance but the overriding impression must be of civilized discourse among friends. The performers must relate to the sensibility of the period, a world in which horse-driven vehicles and
Read more candlelight were the norm rather than jet engines and strip-lighting. The Scherzo of the F major is ideal in this respect. The first movement, too, is beautifully paced and sweet toned but they judge the tempo and the character of the slow movement equally well. The Vegh find the greatest depths here but the Tokyo are hardly less penetrating. Try the opening of the G major Quartet and you will see what I mean about civilized courtly exchanges. Incidentally, first movement exposition repeats are observed throughout the set. The first disc accommodates the F major and G minor Quartets plus Op. 14 No. 1 the second, Nos. 3, 4 and 6; and the third, No. 5 in A major plus the String Quintet in which the Tokyo are joined by Zukerman. Quite frankly I don't think that you can go far wrong with this set: the playing is unfailingly alive, sensitive and poised. The recordings are very natural with plenty of air round the image; the A major is slightly closer (and at a higher level) than its companions. Given its stature the C major String Quintet is grievously neglected both in the concert-hall and on CD, and is as well played as any one of its all too few rivals on disc.

-- Robert Layton, Gramophone [9/1993]

Middle Quartets
Let me say straight away that the Tokyo Quartet's set of the middle-period quartets is among the most impressive to have appeared in recent years. Although I would not necessarily recommend it in preference to the Vegh (Audivis Valois), the Talich (Calliope), or (in the case of the Rasumovsky Quartets) the Lindsay on ASV that have dominated the catalogue for so long, it is surely a set to reckon with. In terms of sheer technical perfection and ensemble it yields no ground to the Vermeer (Teldec), Orford (Delos), Alban Berg (EMI) or Guarneri (RCA). And their technical finesse, spot-on intonation and superb ensemble are all the more impressive for being at the service of the music. I started with the F major Rasumovsky, undoubtedly the greatest of the three, whose opening in the Tokyo's hands is magnificent in its breadth. They have a good feeling for the architecture and shape of each movement, and throughout the work they are fully aware of the depth of this music.

You may recall the hoary adage comparing a translation to a woman: if it is faithful, it is not beautiful, if it is beautiful, it is unfaithful. Similarly, if a performance sets greater store by beauty than fidelity, it risks gaining the former at the cost of the latter; if it sets its sights on truth first and beauty second, it stands to gain both. The Vegh and the Talich often risk beauty of finish in their search for truth. But at its best this sumptuously but truthfully recorded new issue has both ... I like it far more than any of the rival versions that have crossed the Atlantic in recent years.

-- Robert Layton, Gramophone [3/1992]

Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Quartet for Strings no 12 in E flat major, Op. 127 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Oundjian (Violin), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Sadao Harada (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1823-1825; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1990-91 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton University 
Length: 37 Minutes 52 Secs. 
2.
Quartet for Strings no 13 in B flat major, Op. 130 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Oundjian (Violin), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola),
Sadao Harada (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1825-1826; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1990-91 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton University 
Length: 42 Minutes 52 Secs. 
3.
Quartet for Strings no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Oundjian (Violin), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola),
Sadao Harada (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1826 
Date of Recording: 1990-91 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton University 
Length: 37 Minutes 26 Secs. 
4.
Quartet for Strings no 15 in A minor, Op. 132 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sadao Harada (Cello), Peter Oundjian (Violin), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Kazuhide Isomura (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1825; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1990-91 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton University 
Length: 45 Minutes 32 Secs. 
5.
Quartet for Strings no 16 in F major, Op. 135 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sadao Harada (Cello), Peter Oundjian (Violin), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Kazuhide Isomura (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1826 
Date of Recording: 1990-91 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton University 
Length: 25 Minutes 23 Secs. 
6.
Grosse Fuge for String Quartet in B flat major Op. 133 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sadao Harada (Cello), Peter Oundjian (Violin), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Kazuhide Isomura (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1825-1826; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1990-91 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton University 
Length: 15 Minutes 56 Secs. 
7.
Quartet for Strings no 7 in F major, Op. 59 no 1 "Razumovsky" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Oundjian (Violin), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Sadao Harada (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1805-6 
8.
Quartet for Strings no 8 in E minor, Op. 59 no 2 "Razumovsky" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Oundjian (Violin), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Sadao Harada (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1805-1806; Vienna, Austria 
9.
Quartet for Strings no 10 in E flat major, Op. 74 "Harp" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Oundjian (Violin), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Sadao Harada (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1809; Vienna, Austria 
10.
Quartet for Strings no 9 in C major, Op. 59 no 3 "Razumovsky" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Oundjian (Violin), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Sadao Harada (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1805/6 
11.
Quartet for Strings no 11 in F minor, Op. 95 "Serioso" by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Peter Oundjian (Violin), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Sadao Harada (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1810 
12.
Quartet for Strings no 1 in F major, Op. 18 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sadao Harada (Cello), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Peter Oundjian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton, NJ 
Length: 30 Minutes 9 Secs. 
13.
Quartet for Strings no 2 in G major, Op. 18 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sadao Harada (Cello), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Peter Oundjian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
Date of Recording: 1992 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton, NJ 
Length: 23 Minutes 16 Secs. 
14.
Quartet for Strings no 3 in D major, Op. 18 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sadao Harada (Cello), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Peter Oundjian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
Date of Recording: 1992 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton, NJ 
Length: 24 Minutes 48 Secs. 
15.
Quartet for Strings no 4 in C minor, Op. 18 no 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sadao Harada (Cello), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Peter Oundjian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton, NJ 
Length: 23 Minutes 22 Secs. 
16.
Quartet for Strings no 5 in A major, Op. 18 no 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sadao Harada (Cello), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Peter Oundjian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1798/1800 
Date of Recording: 1992 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton, NJ 
Length: 28 Minutes 0 Secs. 
17.
Quartet for Strings no 6 in B flat major, Op. 18 no 6 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sadao Harada (Cello), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Peter Oundjian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
Date of Recording: 1992 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton, NJ 
Length: 24 Minutes 9 Secs. 
18.
Quintet for Strings in C major, Op. 29 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Pinchas Zukerman (Violin), Sadao Harada (Cello), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola),
Kikuei Ikeda (Violin), Peter Oundjian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1992 
Venue:  Meyerson Symphony Center, Dallas, TX 
Length: 33 Minutes 55 Secs. 
19.
Quartet for Strings in F major, Hess 34/Op. 14 no 1 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sadao Harada (Cello), Kazuhide Isomura (Viola), Kikuei Ikeda (Violin),
Peter Oundjian (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801-1802; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 1992 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton, NJ 
Length: 12 Minutes 51 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In