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Brahms - String Quartets

Price: £14.60 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.
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£14.60 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details Only 2 left in stock (more on the way). Dispatched from and sold by Amazon. Gift-wrap available.

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Product details

1. Vivace [9'33]
2. Andante [6'41]
3. Agitato, Allegretto non troppo [7'40]
4. Poco allegretto con variazioni [9'25]
5. Allegro [10'51]
6. Romanze: Poco adagio [6'21]
7. Allegretto molto moderato e comodo - Un poco più animato [8'19] 8 Allegro [5'41]

Product Description

New recordings by the Takács Quartet on Hyperion have become important landmarks in the musical calendar. This second disc of Brahms string quartets looks set to repeat all the commercial and critical success of their first. It took twenty years for the famously self-critical Brahms to release his Op 51 string quartets for publication. Despite frequent requests, they were held back until they had reached his requisite standard of perfection. It is clear that Brahms's struggle with the string quartet medium eventually led him to find an intensely personal language for it, with an unmistakable originality of melody and texture. Op 51 No 1 is both suffused with great musical richness and organically unified, with each idea growing with unerring logic out of the last in a process of continual development, and the main subject of each movement clearly arising out of the same germ. Having hesitated so long over his first two string quartets, Brahms managed to produce their successor, Op 67, without any protracted birth-pangs, and the fact that the new work was dedicated to a well-known physician prompted him to elaborate on the medical analogy. 'I am', he told Theodor Wilhelm Engelmann (the husband of the pianist Emma Brandes, and himself a keen amateur cellist) 'publishing a string quartet, and may need a doctor for it (as with the first ones). This quartet rather resembles your wife-very dainty, but brilliant! ... It's no longer a question of a forceps delivery; but of simply standing by. There's no cello solo in it, but such a tender viola solo that you may want to change your instrument for its sake!'

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Brahms's String Quartets The Way They Should Be Played 19 Mar 2009
By John A. Moskal II - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Takacs Quartet has become, in my eyes and the eyes of every violinist, violist, or cellist that I've talked to in the last two years, the number one String Quartet group of whom to listen. I am no novice to the genre, but in the last two years I've picked up every album of theirs I've been able to get my hands on, never once being even slightly disappointed, and this one meets, if not surpasses, all my previous purchases.

Their technicality is beyond question. Their instruments are mere extensions of their arms and they are in perfect harmony with them. Add to that a unity of sound concept; every member understands together the idea of the quartet music and the direction in which it is going. They ARE the group, not four individuals playing music together, but one quartet producing the most gorgeous chamber music you've ever heard. This group plays with as tight and unified of a sound as I have yet to witness.

Last (but certainly NOT least), we have their interpretation. They've waited on recording Brahms until they were sure they could do it justice. From a composer who burned (it is reported) over ten string quartets before allowing one to be performed, the Takacs Quartet here has approached their performances in the same way; as if Brahms himself were painstakingly overseeing their rehearsal of each movement.

The quartet takes every ounce that they learned from their Beethoven cycle (also highly recommended) and applied it here. Dubbed by Schumann as the greatest composer of his day and successor to Beethoven, Brahms's music was more influenced by the work of previous composers than any before him; the classical influence can be seen in his structure just as easily as the romantic chord usage and cadence avoidance and augmentation. The Takacs Quartet applies every bit of that to their performance. From the opening of the Op. 67, reminiscent of a Schubertian melody placed in a Beethovenian string quartet, to the close of the Op. 51, as emotionally driving as any good romantic idea of yearning, they never let up for a second; the tiniest of passages become musical brilliance.

Despite every ounce of painstaking work that quite obviously went into this recording, never once does it sound stale or boring. The music moves constantly from one note to the next always searching, always moving forward and through. While they know where every note needs to be placed according to the score, it doesn't sound like that's the only reason it's there. Every note sounds like that's where it belongs so that the music sustains the greatest beauty and impact.

In short, if you've ever even thought for half a second that you'd like to listen to Brahms, a string quartet, romantic music, or for that matter any music at all, you should get this CD. The price is very reasonable for a performance of this caliber, indeed I would gladly pay as much again. No music enthusiast of any kind should be without this CD.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Elevates my (already high) opinion of Brahms 23 May 2009
By Russell I. Burnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
I've heard a few other versions of Brahms' three string quartets (Tokyo, Emerson, Alban Berg), and all left me with the impression that Brahms' best work (which, in my opinion, is some of the best ever) was not in this genre. The Takacs Quartet have changed that opinion dramatically.

Their previous release (Quintet Op. 34 + Quartet Op. 51.2) left me anxious to hear this one, and they have not disappointed in the least. The first time through both quartets here (Opp. 51.1 & 67) I found multiple passages that I had either not noticed before or not really appreciated. That experience has repeated itself as I've given them additional listenings.

This ranks right up there with the finest Takacs Quartet recordings.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Brilliant 8 April 2014
By qeddeq - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I don't think you can lose with Takacs. Some might prefer other quartet groups but Takacs plays extremely well and the sound engineering is terrific. I recommend it.
0 of 17 people found the following review helpful
Brams String Quartets OP 67 27 April 2013
By Jean H. Johnson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The sound quality of this was terrible and the production was done more than 20 years ago. I would not recommend it for anyone..
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