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Beethoven: String Quartets Op. 18 No 1-6 / Tokyo Quartet


Release Date: 11/13/2007 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 907436   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Much as I have enjoyed other digital recordings of Beethoven's first quartets by (for example) the Takacs and Lindsay Quartets, this new Tokyo set just about pips all rivals to the post. The reason is primarily one of balance, not only within the group itself but also in terms of overall musical judgement — whether relating to tempo, dynamics or emphases, or simply the way the players combine a sense of classical style with an appreciation of Beethoven's startling originality. Even as early as No l's pensive opening, you notice how skilfully rests are being gauged, contrasts in colour and inflection, too: the way the clipped first motif leads into its sweetly imploring extension a couple of bars later. The Scherzo's skipping gait, incisive Read more but lightly dispatched, is another source of pleasure, and so is the seemingly effortless swirl of the closing Allegro. The old quartet cliché about "leaning together" is here a principal attribute. Try the first movement of Op 18 No 2 at 3'56": this could be one person playing the start of the finale. Few ensembles have characterised the A major's cantering first idea as happily as the Tokyos do here, while the ethereal and texturally variegated middle movements anticipate the very different world of Beethoven's "late" quartets. Beautifully blended recordings, too: if you're after a top-ranking digital set of Op 18, you couldn't do better — though placing them in the context of a complete cycle is rather more difficult until the late quartets appear.

— Gramophone [2/2008]
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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
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
2.
Quartet for Strings no 2 in G major, Op. 18 no 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
Date of Recording: 05/2006/02/2007 
Venue:  The Fisher Center for the Performing Art 
Length: 22 Minutes 34 Secs. 
3.
Quartet for Strings no 3 in D major, Op. 18 no 3 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
Date of Recording: 05/2006/02/2007 
Venue:  The Fisher Center for the Performing Art 
Length: 21 Minutes 59 Secs. 
4.
Quartet for Strings no 4 in C minor, Op. 18 no 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
Date of Recording: 05/2006/02/2007 
Venue:  The Fisher Center for the Performing Art 
Length: 22 Minutes 38 Secs. 
5.
Quartet for Strings no 5 in A major, Op. 18 no 5 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Period: Classical 
Written: 1798/1800 
Date of Recording: 05/2006/02/2007 
Venue:  The Fisher Center for the Performing Art 
Length: 26 Minutes 45 Secs. 
6.
Quartet for Strings no 6 in B flat major, Op. 18 no 6 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Tokyo String Quartet
Written: 1798/1800 
Date of Recording: 05/2006/02/2007 
Venue:  The Fisher Center for the Performing Art 
Length: 22 Minutes 29 Secs. 

Sound Samples

String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18: I. Allegro con brio
String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18: II. Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato
String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18: III. Scherzo (Allegro molto)
String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18: IV. Allegro
String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18: I. Allegro
String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18: II. Adagio cantabile - Allegro
String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18: III. Scherzo (Allegro) - Trio
String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18: IV. Allegro molto, quasi Presto
String Quartet No. 3 in D Major, Op. 18: I. Allegro
String Quartet No. 3 in D Major, Op. 18: II. Andante con moto
String Quartet No. 3 in D Major, Op. 18: III. Allegro
String Quartet No. 3 in D Major, Op. 18: IV. Presto
String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18: I. Allegro ma non tanto
String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18: II. Andante scherzoso quasi Allegretto
String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18: III. Menuetto (Allegro) - Trio
String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18: IV. Allegretto
String Quartet No. 5 in A Major, Op. 18: I. Allegro
String Quartet No. 5 in A Major, Op. 18: II. Menuetto - Trio
String Quartet No. 5 in A Major, Op. 18: III. Andante cantabile
String Quartet No. 5 in A Major, Op. 18: IV. Allegro
String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Op. 18: I. Allegro con brio
String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Op. 18: II. Adagio ma non troppo
String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Op. 18: III. Scherzo (Allegro) - Trio
String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Op. 18: IV. La Malinconia (Adagio - Allegretto quasi Allegro)

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