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Beethoven: The Early String Quartets / Tokyo String Quartet


Release Date: 06/29/2002 
Label:  Rca Victor Red Seal Catalog #: 61284   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Sadao HaradaKazuhide IsomuraKikuei IkedaPeter Oundjian,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Number of Discs: 3 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 24 Mins. 

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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

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 candlelight were the norm rather than jet engines and strip-lighting. The Scherzo of the F major is ideal in this Read more 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]
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Works on This Recording

1.
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
Period: Classical 
Written: 1798/1800; Austria 
Date of Recording: 1991 
Venue:  Richardson Hall, Princeton, NJ 
Length: 30 Minutes 9 Secs. 
2.
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. 
3.
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. 
4.
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. 
5.
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. 
6.
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. 
7.
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. 
8.
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. 

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