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Cat. No. CHAN 10268 Price: £8 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10268 - Beethoven: String Quartets, Volume 3
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Available From: 15 November 2004
"Beethoven’s Quartet in C sharp minor, Op. 131 holds a unique and disturbing fascination for performers and public. Ruben Aharonian outlines two of its technical problems. The first is that C sharp minor – an unusual key shared with the earlier but equally revolutionary ‘Moonlight’ Sonata, is ‘very difficult for intonation… because there’s no open string you can use to relieve the pressure, and it’s impossible to adjust or tune between movements in this enormous quartet with no interruption…’ – which is the second problem. Uniquely, Beethoven wrote directions for seven interlinked musical numbers, two of which (3 and 6) are introductions rather than movements. Nothing quite like the beginning, with its chromatic fugue theme and startling accent on the fourth note, had ever been heard before. Berlioz remarked, on first hearing the quartet, that Beethoven ‘soared into regions where one breathes with difficulty’."
Reviews

These Borodin accounts are distinguished by their feeling of spontaneity; the continual small rubati and emphases may be worked out in advance but sound like spur-of-the-moment inflections as each player lives the music. Another striking overall impression is of tonal beauty, with a near perfect blend of sounds.
Gramophone on Volume 1

Valentin Berlinsky, cellist and founding member of the quartet in 1945, has been waiting to make this set his whole career, and calls it ‘the great dream of my life: to play all Beethoven’s quartets from first to last’. A worthwhile dream. Each of the volumes in the set thus far have been invested with palpable love… the playing here is uniformly committed – and a joy.
American Record Guide

This redoubtable Russian group plays with all the powerful, focused tone youd expect and brings out the entire wealth of Beethovens colour in these fiery performances.
Classic FM Magazine on Volume 2

This set of Neilsen symphonies was recorded I the Stockholm Concert Hall between November 1992 and March 1993 and is now issued at mid-price. Musicianship is superb across all sox of these masterpieces, and it the set can’t be recommended wholeheartedly, it is because of the conductor’s conceptual temperament. Like a number of aging conductors, Rozhdestvensky tends to slow down to emphasis the music’s emotional weight. Our Mr Barker and Mr Hansen reviewed these performances in some detail and decided that this approach contains advantages… but also disadvantages… The overall richness and commitment to the music is undeniable – as is the quality of the sound. There’s no denying either that Rozhdestvensky is sensitive to quieter moments and rarely loses tautness while making good points, especially in the heavier 5 and 6.
American Record Guide

 

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