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Beethoven: String Quartets, Opp. 135 and 131
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Beethoven: String Quartets, Opp. 135 and 131

27 Jun 2001 | Format: MP3

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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 27 Jun 2001
  • Label: Naxos
  • Copyright: (C) 2001 Naxos
  • Total Length: 1:02:58
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001LZEXZ6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 138,593 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By theuniverseiscomposedofvalues on 13 Oct 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I think it was Ravel who said "my music does not need to be interpreted: it needs to be PLAYED." It never fails to amaze me how much interpreters can achieve by simply obeying the composer's markings, neither adding nor subtracting from them.

This is the main hallmark of the Kodály Quartet's work, and for all my minor quibbles, why its almost nave attitude to Beethoven's scores simply outshines every other performance I've yet heard.

From the very first note of the opening fugue of op. 131, we hear a strange, tortured freshness and clarity that heightens its true emotional import infinitely more than any quasi-Mahlerian, macho-man vibrato-fest can hope to do. Contrapuntal transparency and unforced Affekt is the key to this music, and the Kodálys do these things far better than most big-name ensembles. The two main emotional respites in the work - the serene variations and the maverick, mock-rustic Presto - gain a feeling of genuine appropriateness to the overall fantasia-like structure rather than feeling like bizarre, extended digressions, as they do in the Berg Quartet's recording, for example. The final march-like Allegro has a kind of demonic relentlessness that the Kodály's moderate tempo and unexaggerated dynamics somehow enhances, putting to shame many more histrionic, ego-bound performances by more famous names.

Within this context, the relaxed light-heartedness of op. 135 suddenly seems not so much of a contradiction. Beethoven's Shakespearean humour comes to the fore here, in his penultimate work. Only the unnerving central section of the 3rd movement disturbs the overall serenity. The finale, as is so often the case with Beethoven, is set up in apparent contradiction to the rest of the piece. The agonised "Muss es sein?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
A Beautiful Recording By Outstanding Musicians 31 May 2006
By Classicalfan - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
When the two quartets on this CD were recorded, the Kodaly Quartet ("KQ") had been playing together for over twenty years. It shows. What is evident on this CD is the perfect cohesion of the musicians; they clearly have an intimate knowldedge of the score, have played these two quartets many times over the years, and thoroughly enjoy playing together. Yet, although the KQ had been together for more than two decades at the time they made this recording, the performance of these four highly talented musicians sounds fresh and exciting, as if they were exploring the magic of these quartets for the first time, and truly conveys their passionate enthusiasm and love for this music.

The sound engineering on this digital recording is first-rate, with a bright, clear sound that gives a feeling of immediacy and presence to the instruments. Although I somewhat prefer the deeper, richer sound of the Cleveland Quartet in its recording of these same quartets, I very much like the sound of the KQ as well and enjoy listening to the same quartets performed by both groups.

The allegro movements on this CD have rhythmic energy and vitality, while the adagio movements are played with a beautiful tenderness, pathos, depth and sensitivity to every nuance of every note that allows the listener to savor every note and that takes the listener on a wonderful musical journey deep into the inner world of Beethoven's late quartets.

The musicianship of the KQ is superb, with the musicians conveying the full range of emotions in this musical microcosm: playfulness, elegance, wistfulness, anxiety, and brooding intensity.

I am very highly pleased with every volume of this series of the complete Beethoven string quartets by the KQ. The CD booklet has information on the KQ and a well-written and informative essay with historical information and a musical analysis of each of the two quartets.

This is an excellent CD at a very reasonable price. I would gladly have paid twice as much for it. In fact, it's almost unbelievable that a CD of such high quality is available at such a low price. Very highly recommended.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Very good! 21 Jun 2008
By Maria S. G. Santos - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Quartet Kodaly never disappointed me. This recording is in the same level of other famous recordings. The advantage is that this is a great cd cheap and with good quality.

What surprised me most is the clarity in the Kodaly, the obsession with perfection.
String Quartets Vol. 9 21 Jun 2013
By James E. Helm - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This CD contains two of the 16 Beethoven string quartets. The performance and sound quality is extraordinary for a budget priced CD. The Kodaly Quartet performances are an inexpensive way to enjoy all of the 16 Beethoven string quartets.
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