Tokyo String Quartet – Ludwig van Beethoven – Late String Quartets (2010) DSF DSD64

Tokyo String Quartet – Ludwig van Beethoven – Late String Quartets (2010)
DSF Stereo DSD64, 1 bit/2,82 MHz | Time – 02:54:38 minutes | 6,89 GB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: nativeDSDmusic | Booklet, Front Cover | © Harmonia Mundi

Though stated in the booklet, Quartet no. 16 op. 135 is not included in this set. because it was not recorded in DSD.

It reads like irony from a master of the art. Reflecting on a performance of the Quartet in C sharp minor, op.131, George Bernard Shaw characterized Beethoven’s formidable late quartets as ‘. . . simple, unpretentious [and] perfectly intelligible . . . ’. Yet Shaw was serious in his contrarian estimation, preferring the valedictory works to the ‘wayward caprices of self-conscious genius’ which, to his ear, were the quartets of Beethoven’s middle period.

‘Are they always to be avoided’, asked Shaw, referring to the quartets commencing with op.127, ‘because the professors once pronounced them obscure and impossible?’ For decades, regrettably, the answer was yes. We thank Joseph Kerman for this sobering statistic: ‘. . . in the twenty-five year period after Beethoven’s death, Vienna – that great musical center – can boast a grand total of no more than seven public performances of any of these works.’

Tastes, however, change. In 1928, just a century after the composer’s death, music aficionado J. W. N. Sullivan wrote in his Beethoven biography that ‘In the last string quartets spiritual experiences are communicated of which it is very difficult to mention even the elements. And yet it is just this music that most moves us and impresses us as containing the profoundest and most valuable experiences that any artist has yet conveyed . .


Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

String Quartet no.12 op.127 (1824)
in E-flat major / Mi bémol majeur / Es-dur
1 I. Maestoso – Allegro 6’33
2 II. Adagio, ma non troppo e molto cantabile 13’41
3 III. Scherzando vivace 8’19
4 IV. Finale 6’55
String Quartet no.14 op.131
in C-sharp minor / ut dièse mineur / cis-moll
5 I. Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo 6’17
6 II. Allegro molto vivace 2’58
7 III. Allegro moderato – Adagio 0’46
8 IV. Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile 13’48
9 V. Presto 5’02
10 VI. Adagio quasi un poco andante 1’56
11 VII. Allegro 6’34
String Quartet no.13 op.130
in B-flat major / Si bémol majeur / B-dur
12 I. Adagio ma non troppo – Allegro 13’04
13 II. Presto 2’03
14 III. Andante con moto ma non troppo 6’59
15 IV. A la danza tedesca. Allegro assai 3’34
16 V. Cavatina. Adagio molto espressivo 6’17
17 Grosse Fuge, op.133 16’19
18 VI. Finale. Allegro 10’06
String Quartet no.15 op.132 (1825)
in A minor / la mineur / a-moll
19 I. Assai sostenuto – Allegro 9’17
20 II. Allegro ma non tanto 9’10
21 III. Molto adagio 16’04
22 IV. Alla Marcia, assai vivace 2’17
23 V. Allegro appassionato 6’43

Tokyo String Quartet
Martin Beaver, Kikuei Ikeda, Violins
Kazuhide Isomura, Viola
Clive Greensmith, Cello

Recorded in May, 2008 at the Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, New York State (opp.127 & 131); and August-September, 2008 at Oji Hall, Tokyo, Japan (opp.130,132,133)


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