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Beethoven: String Quintets Op 4 & 29 / Buntrock, Leipziger Streichquartett

Release Date: 01/31/2012 
Label:  Md&g (Dabringhaus & Grimm)   Catalog #: 3071715  
Composer:  Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Ivo BauerStefan ArzbergerBarbara BuntrockTilman Büning,   ... 
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

BEETHOVEN String Quintets: op. 4; op. 29 Leipzig Qrt; Barbara Buntrock (va) MDG GOLD 1715 (67:35)

What magical performances these are! Certainly, far better than the recording of op. 29 by the Fine Arts Quartet with Gil Sharon on second viola (Naxos 8.57221), which for some reason is a preferred version of some other reviewer on ArkivMusic, but even finer than this same pairing by musicians from the Nash Ensemble on Hyperion 67693. Indeed, one Read more would have to acquire the 10-CD set of the complete string music by the Endellion Quartet (Warner 517450) to find performances that could equal or better these.

As my colleague Jerry Dubins said in reviewing the Nash Ensemble CD in Fanfare 32:5, the edge comes from a quartet that has been together for years, knowing the style and finding effective ways of presenting the music. The Leipzig Quartet has been around since 1988, so the players are veterans at this, and it shows. Both quintets are played in a style I would call masterly but relaxed, very similar to one of my favorite but lesser-known chamber groups, the Lindsay Quartet. This shows not only in the early op. 4 quintet, which they manage to make sound playful and almost tongue-in-cheek (which some of it probably was), but also in op. 29, which they invest with a drive in the outer movements and an almost mysterious quality in the long Adagio. Irmlind Capelle, in the liner notes, says that the op. 29 quintet is all about “sound” and the tonal possibilities of a string quintet, “not concise themes and their elaboration.” But concise or not, the Leipzig Quartet makes something genuinely interesting, noble, even occasionally dramatic of this quintet. This is the first time I have ever heard it in a way that makes me feel that it does indeed belong somewhere near the quality of his middle string quartets. Bravo, Leipzig!

I should make some comment, I suppose, about violist Barbara Buntrock, but really, the highest compliment I can pay this young woman is to say that her playing fits right in with the Leipzig musicians. That is no small feat, to play with an established quartet and become a part of it; it requires great ears, good musical instincts, and lots of practice. I would also like to say that although I have had occasion to complain of MDG’s sometimes goopy sound quality in other releases, the Leipzig Quartet is recorded with a splendid acoustic, slightly resonant but not unduly so, which makes the string playing sound neat and crisp when it should be. A bravo to engineer Friedrich Wilhelm Rödding.

FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

Quintet for Strings in E flat major, Op. 4 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Ivo Bauer (Viola), Stefan Arzberger (Violin), Barbara Buntrock (Viola),
Tilman Büning (Violin), Matthias Moosdorf (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1795; Vienna, Austria 
Quintet for Strings in C major, Op. 29 by Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer:  Ivo Bauer (Viola), Stefan Arzberger (Violin), Barbara Buntrock (Viola),
Tilman Büning (Violin), Matthias Moosdorf (Cello)
Period: Classical 
Written: 1801; Vienna, Austria 

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