Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
String Quartets: No. 6; No. 7,
PENTATONE 5186 175 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 68:10)
It should seem odd to say that PentaTone is rescuing Quartetto Italiano’s Beethoven from oblivion; the ensemble’s highly regarded
Beethoven cycle has been a catalog mainstay since its LP release in the 1970s, and through its various reissues and repackagings in the CD era. But “rescue” is correct in one sense: Philips never issued the material in the quadraphonic format in which it was recorded, and now PentaTone begins to rectify that with a single, tantalizing four-channel SACD derived from the original tapes of two of Beethoven’s most attractive and immediately accessible quartets.
The first priority, though, should be the performances, and these are rightly classics. The readings are poised and flowing, sensitive to a variety of articulation, attacks, and details of dynamics, but not as hyperdramatic as many more recent efforts. Without underplaying the scores, Quartetto Italiano provides interpretations that should be very appealing to listeners who find even the finest contemporary efforts (Emerson, Prazák) to be excessively intense and nervous.
The recorded sound as presented here is better than ever: the musicians are close to the microphones but not claustrophobic, and their instruments come through with wonderful transparency and precise placement. We should be urging PentaTone to remaster the entire Quartetto Italiano Beethoven series, but given the current market, perhaps this is the most we can hope for. It may be only a single disc, but it’s very fine indeed.
FANFARE: James Reel
Works on This Recording
Quartet for Strings no 6 in B flat major, Op. 18 no 6 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Paolo Borciani (Violin),
Franco Rossi (Cello),
Elisa Pegreffi (Violin),
Piero Farulli (Viola)
Length: 27 Minutes 20 Secs.
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