Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: 'Complete String Quartets, Vol 4

Magazine article Gramophone

Beethoven: 'Complete String Quartets, Vol 4

Article excerpt

Beethoven

'Complete String Quartets, Vol 4' String Quartets--No 1, Op 18 No 1; No 14, Op 131 Cremona Quartet Audite (F) [SACD] AUDITE92 683 (68' * DDD/DSD)

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Audite's recording is close if not claustrophobic, close enough to differentiate the character of the four Italian instruments as well as their players--the 20th-century viola and cello are more reticent if more timbrally even than the Amati and Testore instruments used by the violinists. The microphones catch both the leader's sniff and the rather wide and slow vibrato he uses in general; I prefer the pure tone employed by him and his colleagues to chilling effect in the Adagio of Op 18 No 1, which is invested with an unusual depth of expression. The dramatic silences are given full measure around Eroica-like intensifications of the main theme's second half at the movement's climax, and the players don't let the tension slacken with a sentimental rallentando but bend the coda with discreet portamento. …

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