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Classics - Beethoven: String Quartet Op 127, Etc / Cleveland Sq

Release Date: 11/25/2003 
Label:  Telarc   Catalog #: 80425   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  William PreucilJames DunhamPeter SalaffPaul Katz
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland String Quartet
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 18 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This CD is the final instalment of the Cleveland Beethoven cycle; it also marks the Quartet’s swan-song. It was recorded in December 1995, just before their farewell concert, and I’m happy to report that they finished on top form. Two things impress above all; the group’s strong interpretative grasp, emerging from a well-seasoned, deeply considered view of the music, presented in a decisive way that inspires the listener’s confidence, and a full-blooded approach to musical expression, communicated through a warm, sometimes opulent sound. (The recording suits the playing, too.) The opening chord of Op. 127 can rarely have sounded so magnificent, and the start of this Quartet’s Adagio shows how well the players can modulate their sonorous Read more grandeur into something more sweet and tender, yet still full of sensuous warmth.

I suppose the Cleveland view of late Beethoven tends to miss the extreme aspects which many would see as an essential part of the music. The Emerson Quartet’s accounts of the Presto middle section of Op. 127’s Scherzo, and of the manic Presto in Op. 131 convey a feeling of being on the edge that makes the Clevelanders seem very middle-of-the-road. And at the opposite end of the expressive scale, you can’t hear the Busch Quartet’s whispered playing of the sotto voce variation in Op. 131 without feeling that the Cleveland version has missed something. Most of Beethoven’s emotional states, however, are powerfully communicated: in the finale of Op. 131 a wonderful range of sonorities – rich, forceful, delicate – is the vehicle for the unfolding of a tragic drama. The cumulative effect is irresistible.

-- Duncan Druce, Gramophone
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings no 12 in E flat major, Op. 127 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  William Preucil (Violin), James Dunham (Viola), Peter Salaff (Violin),
Paul Katz (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1823-1825; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1995 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 
Quartet for Strings no 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Paul Katz (Cello), James Dunham (Viola), Peter Salaff (Violin),
William Preucil (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cleveland String Quartet
Written: 1826 
Date of Recording: 12/1995 
Venue:  Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Massachusetts 

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