BEETHOVEN Late String Quartets Emerson 4743412
Passion, conviction, intensity and expressivity are the cornerstone of this alltogether invigorating survey . . . astonishing inventiveness and sure-footedness . . . The vivid recording adds to and underlines the huge sense in the drama.
Beethoven's late string quartets . . . are works of colossal intellectual, emotional and technical demands. The Emerson Quartet recorded their cycle of the quartets in the mid-1990s after many years of performing it. These are high-powered performances with at times terrifying attack and explosive accenting -- they sound like performances developed for the large concert venues in which the Emersons find themselves performing. I suppose you could characterise them as very New World, very late 20th century. However you describe them, they are mightily impressive. Reviewing the complete cycle with its myriad demands on the players, Duncan Druce wrote (July 1997) that 'the Emerson Quartet are formidably equipped to meet these challenges, with their exceptional internal balance, technical polish, rhythmic poise and mature, thoughtful approach to the music. The players are quite outstanding, I think, in the fast music -- it's difficult to imagine more joyful, exciting accounts of many of the final movements'. The concentraion of these performances really draws one in (I remember taking the complete cycle on holidays as my only listening and deriving hours of pleasure and rewards not only from this amazing music but from the Emerson's totally engrossing playing). This is a major achievement from one of the great quartets of our day and a bargain in the new Trio series.
One of the finest sets of Beethoven's complete "String Quartets" was recorded by the Emerson String Quartet a few years ago for DG. Now DG has done a wonderful thing -- they have released the "Late Quartets" as part of their Trio series of budget recordings. Hooray! What a wonderful way for classical music lovers to be introduced to this amazing music! The performances are excellent, the sonics are excellent, and the net result is an outstanding bargain that I recommend with as much enthusiasm as I can muster.
Con una sonoridad extraordinaria, el Cuarteto Emerson demuestra una identificación perfecta con estas obras, con una precisión y un engarce tal que, en ocasiones, de la sensación de que se trata de sinfonías para cuerda, en lugar de música de cámara. Por otra parte, su solución a algunas de las incógnitas que ofrece la partitura sobre su forma de interpretarla harán que en el future ésta sea la versión de referencia por antonomasia, de este último ciclo beethoveniano.