Includes FREE MP3
version
of this album.
or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Available to Download Now
 
Buy the MP3 album for £20.99
 
 
 
 
Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Colour:
Image not available

 

Beethoven: The 'Late' String Quartets (Tokyo String Quartet) [Hybrid SACD, Box set]

Tokyo String Quartet Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
Price: £25.94 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
 : Includes FREE MP3 version of this album.
   Does not apply to gift orders. See Terms and Conditions for important information about costs that may apply for the MP3 version in case of returns and cancellations.
Only 1 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
Want it Friday, 29 Aug.? Choose Express delivery at checkout. Details
Complete your purchase to add the MP3 version to your Amazon music library. Provided by Amazon EU S.à r.l.
Buy the MP3 album for £20.99 at the Amazon Digital Music Store.


Amazon's Tokyo String Quartet Store

Music

Image of album by Tokyo String Quartet

Photos

Image of Tokyo String Quartet

Biography

Tokyo String Quartet

Martin Beaver, violin

Kikuei Ikeda, violin

Kazuhide Isomura, viola

Clive Greensmith, cello

After 43 seasons, the Tokyo String Quartet has announced that 2012-2013 will be their last. Regarded as one of the supreme chamber ensembles of the world, the Tokyo Quartet—Martin Beaver and Kikuei Ikeda (violins), Kazuhide Isomura (viola) and ... Read more in Amazon's Tokyo String Quartet Store

Visit Amazon's Tokyo String Quartet Store
for 13 albums, photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Beethoven: The 'Late' String Quartets (Tokyo String Quartet) + Beethoven - Rasumovsky Quartets Op 59, Nos 1-3 + Beethoven: String Quartets No10 op74 & No.11 op95
Price For All Three: £55.05

Buy the selected items together

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product details

  • Conductor: N/a
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (20 Sep 2010)
  • Number of Discs: 3
  • Format: Hybrid SACD, Box set
  • Label: Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B003QLY5KQ
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 146,155 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. String Quartet No. 12, Op. 127
2. String Quartet No. 14, Op. 131
Disc: 2
1. String Quartet No. 13, Op. 130
2. Grosse Fuge, Op. 133
Disc: 3
1. String Quartet No. 15, Op. 132
2. String Quartet No. 16, Op. 135

Product Description

Product Description

The Tokyo String Quartet completes its acclaimed Beethoven cycle with the composer s valdedictory quartets of 1825-26. As he looked ahead to structures and soundworlds then unimagined, and glanced back to the bedrock counterpoint of Western music, Beethoven turned inwards to his well of experience, much of it harsh, from which he drew this music of transcendent power.

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.

Customer Reviews

4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Oh the Humanity..." 10 Oct 2010
Format:Audio CD
And so, after months of waiting, the final installment has appeared in the complete Beethoven cycle from the Tokyo String Quartet on Harmonia-Mundi.

I don't think there can be any doubt that this is the most beautifully played and recorded Beethoven quartet cycle there has ever been. It certainly deserves to be ranked alongside the finest recordings of recent decades, which for me are those by the Quartetto Italiano (Philips) and the Takacs (Decca). The Takacs is more attuned to Beethoven's toughness of spirit and has a more biting rhythmic attack. The Quartetto Italiano has not survived in the catalogue by accident: it has great intellectual rigour and refinement of sound, but this new recording from the Tokyo Quartet makes it seem unsmiling (mannered?) by comparison. I know other people will have other favourite recordings of their own (I own a wonderful recording of the Op.18 quartets recorded by the Budapest Quartet way back in 1952, which still blows most of the competition out of the water), but for my money the ones I know by the Vegh (awful sound), Lindsay, Vermeer and Emerson quartets are all outclassed by this new recording, as is the earlier Tokyo Quartet version on RCA.

Throughout this new Beethoven cycle the Tokyo Quartet has displayed the kind of humanity and moderation that only comes with maturity. Nothing is rushed, tempos always feel natural, there is no unnecessary point-making, and always a sense of structure unfolding in units far bigger than mere paragraphs. First violinist Martin Beamer produces a seemingly endless stream of glorious tone. In fact the whole quartet is playing on a particularly special group of instruments by Stradivarius that was assembled by Paganini - and from which they draw an amazing variety of string tones and textures.
Read more ›
Was this review helpful to you?
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing! 13 Sep 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is the indispensable version of this music, everything about it is excellent.

Opus 127 evokes that sense that you are standing still but still have that sense of being tilted. Quite ethereal.

Opus 131 has the best version of the Grosse Fugue that I have ever heard, the way this piece pulls a climax that makes sense, out of such apparent chaos, is not to everyone's taste perhaps, but if you like it you will really love it. This track is what made me purchase the CD.

Opus 135 made me laugh when it got to the final moment, I don't know why but it just did somehow.

The playing is impeccable and you can tell they have the very best instruments, my only regret is that multiple repeated playings have worn down the sound quality. Possibly my favourite CD in my collection. Amazing playing, extraordinary pieces, and nobody's ever done them quite like this before. Five stars.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oh, the humanity 1 Aug 2011
By stephen crittenden - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
And so, after months of waiting, the final installment has appeared in the complete Beethoven cycle from the Tokyo String Quartet on Harmonia-Mundi.

I don't think there can be any doubt that this is the most beautifully played and recorded Beethoven quartet cycle there has ever been. It certainly deserves to be ranked alongside the finest recordings of recent decades, which for me are those by the Quartetto Italiano (Philips) and the Takacs (Decca). The Takacs is more attuned to Beethoven's toughness of spirit and has a more biting rhythmic attack. The Quartetto Italiano has not survived in the catalogue by accident: it has great intellectual rigour and refinement of sound, but this new recording from the Tokyo Quartet makes it seem unsmiling (mannered?) by comparison. I know other people will have other favourite recordings of their own (I own a wonderful recording of the Op.18 quartets recorded by the Budapest Quartet way back in 1952, which still blows most of the competition out of the water), but for my money the ones I know by the Vegh (awful sound), Lindsay, Vermeer and Emerson quartets are all outclassed by this new recording, as is the earlier Tokyo Quartet version on RCA.

Throughout this new Beethoven cycle the Tokyo Quartet has displayed the kind of humanity and moderation that only comes with maturity. Nothing is rushed, tempos always feel natural, there is no unnecessary point-making, and always a sense of structure unfolding in units far bigger than mere paragraphs. First violinist Martin Beamer produces a seemingly endless stream of glorious tone. In fact the whole quartet is playing on a particularly special group of instruments by Stradivarius that was assembled by Paganini - and from which they draw an amazing variety of string tones and textures. They are a wonderful quartet to watch in a live concert (cellist Clive Greensmith is an unfailingly benign and often humorous presence), and on CD you never forget you are listening to four individual human beings joined in a musical conversation.

But what the Tokyo Quartet brings to this great music above all is a quality of joyful rapture. It is easy to forget what a supreme master of melody Beethoven was, but listening to this recording is to hear as if for the first time how in these final years it was song more than anything else that was just pouring out of him. I was constantly reminded of Shelley's great poem To a Skylark:

As from thy presence showers forth a rain of melody.
Like a poet hidden
In the light of thought,
Singing hymns unbidden,
Till the world is wrought
To sympathy with hopes and fears it heeded not.

I hope that doesn't sound gushy because I'm trying to make a serious point: this recording constantly reminds me of literary critic Harold Bloom and his books on Romantic poetry and the Lucretian tradition. One of the ways of understanding Beethoven is to remember to place him, not just as a giant in the tradition of Bach and Haydn and Mozart and Brahms, but also as a giant in the tradition of Keats and Shelley and Wallace Stevens and Walt Whitman.

It is difficult to pick outstanding moments. Opus 131 receives a glorious performance. The glowing slow movement of Op. 127 seems suspended in time like it is never going to end. The Heiliger Dankesang movement of Op.132 also has a wonderful sense of stillness, and when the Neue Kraft fühlend (Feeling new strength) moment breaks through, it is a thing of pure joy.

Incidentally, I don't know why the recordings the Fitzwilliam Quartet made of Op. 130 and Op. 132 in the mid-1980s aren't better known and appreciated, or why the Fitzwilliam Quartet never recorded a complete Beethoven cycle. They take this music to an altogether different level where Beethoven seems to be moving in and out of a private world of grief and madness and pain. If you don't know them I can't recommend them too highly.

But perhaps it is the Grosse Fugue that receives the most astounding performance of all, at one moment recalling the sound world of Bach's D minor Chaconne, then the elation of the soprano, mezzo, tenor and bass quartet from the final movement of Beethoven's own Choral symphony. I don't think I have ever heard a performance of the Grosse Fugue that combines such glorious singing tone with such textural clarity. In the past I have often felt the Grosse Fugue was somewhat oppressive, now I realise I wasn't really listening.
22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seasoned wisdom goes a long way, but there's a certain lack of depth 20 Oct 2010
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I've found myself rooting for every installment of the Tokyo Quartet's Beethoven cycle, puzzled by the critical tendency to treat them as has-beens. It's true that their sound, never robust compared to, say, the Alban Berg Qt, can strike me as mellow and a bit frayed at times, but that's a small thing compared to their seasoned experience and flowing musical style. The old Quartetto Italiano won gushing praise for their lyricism, and the Tokyo, for me, are more interesting. One also notes immediately that Harmonia Mundi has provided excellent sound, without the stinging high notes that make me cringe while listening to the much ballyhooed set by the Takacs Qt. on Decca. Apparently the lean, mean sound of that ensemble is the preferred way among critics today.

I recently heard Op. 127 played in concert by the Takacs, who took this most modest and feminine of the late quartets and made it harsh and edgy. I kept wondering if I had misread the work all these years, but the Tokyo restores my faith. Every movement has its own character, yet there is a lyrical impulse uniting them. The slow movement is played with a moving sense of wistfulness, and all four voices participate equally in the variations, unlike the Takacs, where the first violinist tends to bully. I do find the Scherzo somewhat underplayed, however; the Tokyo were never willing to bring out Beethoven's strange or wild side; in this movement the Takacs certainly do. The rest goes swimmingly once you attune yourself to the Tokyo's autumnal style.

Since so little attention is being paid to this release I won't detail every quartet. Throughout one hears the same seasoned, mature approach, without the revisionist speed and leanness of the Emerson's cycle or the extrovert but somewhat generic approach of the Orion, another mature group that has spent a lifetime with these works. The Grosse Fuge and the alternate ending to Op. 130 are both offered, and I must say it's a relief to hear the former played without the usual bared-teeth attack.

Given all these positive comments, I am still holding back the last star, because the late quartets demand more vigor and a tighter grip than the Tokyo possess right now. Seasoned wisdom goes a long way, and I have no reservations about their early and middle quartets. This portion of their now complete cycle didn't shed enough light on Beethoven's toughest, more original and enigmatic music. Few quartets do.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Versions of These Works 3 Mar 2013
By J. R. Trtek - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I'm afraid I don't have the depth of understanding or experience to comment as fully as the two reviewers who preceded me here. For my tastes and untrained ear, however, I'm quite taken by these performances of the last five Beethoven quartets (and the Grosse Fuge) by the latter-day Tokyo Quartet, all in a three-disc set that caps the groups recent traversal of the full cycle by this composer. To me these are not athletic performances, nor do they reach for the ethereal; rather, they are an extremely well-executed shot straight up the middle of the fairway. And as far as I'm concerned, that'll play, to take my stupid metaphor one final step more. Perhaps, as one reviewer as claimed, these renditions don't illuminate the nooks and crannies of the late Beethoven quartets. If so, then I'm happy to settle for what that reviewer must consider to be just touching the surface. In these recordings, that's a very nice feeling indeed.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Late Quartet Series 26 Jun 2013
By John E. Mack - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This cycle of late Beethoven string quartets ties with the cycle by the Emerson Quartet for the best available. The playing is simply superb. Of particular note are the phrasing and the intonation, which never falter. I would argue that the performances are a bit understated, which is just fine. The music carries itself. However, once in a great while (like the third return of the principal theme in the "Heiligerdankgesang" movement of the 15th) I could wish for a little more intensity. But almost all the time, Tokyo's approach works. Consider how sublime the first movement of the 14th sounds when played with great precision and fidelity. Arguably, this is the greatest string quartet series ever written, and the Tokyo does it more than justice. Now I wish they would re-do the middle quartets as well.
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
Topic:
First post:
Prompts for sign-in
 

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions
   


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?


Look for similar items by category


Feedback