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String Quartets, Grosse Fugue (Guarneri Quartet) [Box set]

Guarneri Quartet Audio CD
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (15 Mar 2004)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 8
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Red Seal
  • ASIN: B00011MK6U
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 364,029 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         


Disc 1:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Allegro con brio 7:11£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Quartet in F, Op. 18 No. 1: Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato 9:42£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Quartet in F, Op. 18 No. 1: Scherzo: Allegro molto; Trio 3:22£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Quartet in F, Op. 18 No. 1: Allegro 6:20£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Quartet in G, Op. 18 No. 2: Allegro 5:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Quartet in G, Op. 18 No. 2: Adagio cantabile; Allegro 5:50£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Quartet in G, Op. 18 No. 2: Scherzo: Allegro; Trio 4:11£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Quartet in G, Op. 18 No. 2: Allegro molto quasi presto 5:27£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Allegro 5:47£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Quartet in D, Op. 18 No. 3: Andante con moto 8:06£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Allegro 3:03£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen12. Quartet in D, Op. 18 No. 3: Presto 4:17£0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 2:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Allegro ma non tanto 9:40£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Quartet in C Minor, Op 18 No. 4: Scherzo: Andante scherzoso quasi allegretto 6:07£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Quartet in C Minor, Op 18 No. 4: Menuetto: Allegretto; Trio 4:30£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Quartet in C Minor, Op 18 No. 4: Allegro; Prestissimo 4:34£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Quartet in A, Op. 18, No. 5: Allegro 7:17£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Quartet in A, Op. 18, No. 5: Menuetto; Trio 6:37£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Quartet in A, Op. 18, No. 5: Andante cantabile; Variazioni 1-5; Poco adagio10:37Album Only
Listen  8. Quartet in A, Op. 18, No. 5: Allegro 6:32£0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 3:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Quartet in B-Flat, Op. 18 No. 6: Allegro con brio 6:21£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Adagio ma non troppo 7:09£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Scherzo: Allegro; Trio 3:23£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Quartet in B-Flat, Op. 18 No. 6: La Malinconia: Adagio; Allegretto quasi allegro; Prestissimo 8:41£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Quartet in F, Op. 59 "Rasumovsky" No. 1: Allegro10:57Album Only
Listen  6. Quartet in F, Op. 59 "Rasumovsky" No. 1: Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando 9:40£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Quartet in F, Op. 59 "Rasumovsky" No. 1: Adagio molto e mesto12:00Album Only
Listen  8. Quartet in F, Op. 59 "Rasumovsky" No. 1: Thème russe: Allegro 5:46£0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 4:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59 "Rasumovsky" No. 2: Allegro 9:51£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59 "Rasumovsky" No. 2: Molto adagio13:54Album Only
Listen  3. Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59 "Rasumovsky" No. 2: Allegretto 8:23£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Quartet in E Minor, Op. 59 "Rasumovsky" No. 2: Finale: Presto 5:31£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3: Introduzione: Andante con moto; Allegro vivace11:04Album Only
Listen  6. String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3: Andante con moto quasi allegretto11:05Album Only
Listen  7. III. Menuetto - Grazioso 5:28£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3: Allegro molto 5:26£0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 5:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Quartet in E-Flat, Op. 74 "Harp": Poco adagio; Allegro10:10Album Only
Listen  2. Quartet in E-Flat, Op. 74 "Harp": Adagio ma non troppo11:01Album Only
Listen  3. Quartet in E-Flat, Op. 74 "Harp": Presto; Più presto quasi prestissimo 5:20£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Quartet in E-Flat, Op. 74 "Harp": Allegretto con variazioni 7:10£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95 "Serious": Allegro con brio 4:28£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95 "Serious": Allegretto ma non troppo 7:46£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Allegro assai vivace ma serioso 4:54£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Quartet in F Minor, Op. 95 "Serious": Larghetto espressivo; Allegretto agitato 4:36£0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 6:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132: Assai sostenuto; Allegro 9:35£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132: Allegro ma non tanto10:36Album Only
Listen  3. Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132: Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart: Molto adagio; Neue Kraft fühlend: Andante19:23Album Only
Listen  4. Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132: Alla marcia, assai vivace 2:17£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Quartet in A Minor, Op. 132: Allegro appassionato 6:38£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Große Fuge, Op. 13316:45Album Only


Disc 7:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Quartet in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: Adagio, ma non troppo e molto espressivo 6:38£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. Allegro molto vivace 3:17£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Allegro moderato0:48£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Quartet in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: Andante, ma non troppo e molto cantabile15:10Album Only
Listen  5. Presto 5:09£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Quartet in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: Adagio quasi un poco andante 1:44£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Quartet in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: Allegro 6:46£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Quartet in E-Flat, Op. 127: Maestoso; Allegro 7:29£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Adagio, ma non troppo e molto cantabile15:24Album Only
Listen10. Quartet in E-Flat, Op. 127: Scherzando vivace; Presto 8:52£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Quartet in E-Flat, Op. 127: Finale; Allegro con moto 6:51£0.99  Buy MP3 


Disc 8:

Samples
Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Quartet in B-Flat, Op. 130: Adagio, ma non troppo; Allegro10:05Album Only
Listen  2. Presto 1:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Andante con moto, ma non troppo 7:26£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Quartet in B-Flat, Op. 130: Alla danza tedesca: Allegro assai 3:57£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Quartet in B-Flat, Op. 130: Cavatina: Adagio molto espressivo 7:18£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. Quartet in B-Flat, Op. 130: Finale: Allegro 8:16£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. Quartet in F, Op. 135: Allegretto 7:02£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Quartet in F, Op. 135: Vivace 3:16£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Quartet in F, Op. 135: Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo 8:43£0.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Quartet in F, Op. 135: Der schwer gefasste Entschluß: Grave, ma non troppo tratto; Allegro 7:23£0.99  Buy MP3 


Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Captivating Performances 28 Feb 2008
By Scriabinmahler TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Alongside Talich Qt's Beethoven cycle, Guarneri's RCA recording is quite an achievement. Guarneri Qt produces very focussed yet rich and warm tones in amazing amplitude and resonance. Early quartets sounds very vivid and fresh. Rapt serenity of slow movements in late quartets is spell-binding.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Treasure 24 July 2004
By Jerome - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Beethoven like it's never played anymore. This is old world quartet playing -- warm, detailed phrasing and an emphasis on tonal beauty. Rather than choosing one blazing tempo and plowing head first through a movement (Emerson, Alban Berg Quartets), the Guarneri utilize a wider dynamic range. They are not afraid to slow down to bring out detail and drama, or speed up to get the blood pumping (the last mvt of op59-3 is the fastest of the 11 versions I have).

The sound quality is superb, one of the best quartet cds I have ever heard. I agree with the reviewer below, it sounds like the players are in your living room. These are late 1960s recordings that RCA originally released on CD in the late 80s on their Gold Seal label. I am aware that many complained about the sound quality of the earlier release. However, this release has been newly remastered in 2003 using 20 bit technology and the results are astounding. Indeed, if you have the older CDs, you may want to buy this one as a replacement. Enjoy.
52 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Guarneri Quartet does the best BEETHOVEN 29 April 2004
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I have always loved the Guarneri Quartets Beethoven recordings of the 1960s.
Believe me it is a crowded field out there with a lot of wonderful versions, but I've always thought their interpretations were as good if not better than the Quartetto, Lindsey, Italiano, Vegh, Talich or Medici versions. I have found that the Guarneri Quartet has provided an outstanding escort to these wonderful journeys, the genuine straightforwardness of their playing along with their unrivaled execution, and rich intonation helps to make the Beethoven quartets a extremely poignant experience every time I hear them. In a word, these performances are close to perfection. The Guarneri Quartet really understand what the music is about, they are playing more than just the notes.
The recordings are good (thanks to engineer Richard Gardner) and with the fantastic re-mastering job, the recordings now sound superb, with excellent presence and definition. The instruments are closely miked and the sound is nice and dry (it sounds like they are playing in your living room) so that the performances can be fully enjoyed. These recordings are vibrant and exciting! Even the CD layout has been improved so that the great Opus 127 is no longer split over two discs.
Instead of three sets, totaling nine discs and costing well over one hundred, it has been condensed to one complete slim line box set with eight discs and costing about half the price!

Highly recommend!!
46 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Guarneri Quartet Plays Beethoven 18 Aug 2005
By Robin Friedman - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I recently spent several days at home recovering from minor surgery and took the opportunity to revist the Beethoven string quartets and the Beethoven piano sonatas. I thought the quartets would be especially appropriate to hear in recovering from surgery. I looked forward particularly to revisiting the "Holy Song of Thanksgiving to the Deity by a Convalscent,in the Lydian Mode", the third movement of the opus 132 quartet which Beethoven wrote when he recovered from an illness far worse than that which plagued me. There is, perhaps, a similar feeling expressed in the slow, hymnlike movement of the second Razumovsky Quartet, opus 59 no.2.

Hearing the music made me appreciate not only my health but also the opportunities I have enjoyed to get to know the quartets. Many years ago, I first heard the quartets live played by the Fine Arts Quartet when it was the quartet-in-residence at the University of Wisconsin -- Milwaukee. I subsequently acquired the Fine Arts Quartet's excellent recording of the entire cycle. Then, while living in Washington D.C. for thirty years, I have had many opportunities to hear the Juilliard String Quartet, and other ensembles, perform the Beethoven quartets at the Library of Congress, probably the best musical venue in what is a musical capital city.

To rehear the quartets, I chose a recent reissue of the cycle by the Guarneri Quartet. I have never heard the Guarneri's live before, even though the quartet is in residence at the nearby University of Maryland. The group has been playing together since 1965 and is deservedly revered. The ensemble plays with a lyrical, songlike and expressive character, with a flow, a grace, and a feel of gemuitlicheit that brought me new insights into this music. It is an outstanding recording of the quartet cycle. In a detailed review of the Guarneri's performance of the cycle on MusicWeb, Paul Shoemaker justly wrote that "If there's a better version of these quartets, I've not heard it."

As do the piano sonatas, Beethoven's 16 quartets allow the listener to experience the development and deepening of his style from his early period, to the period of maturity, to the final works at the end of his life. But the quartets are evenly divided between Beethoven's three major compositional periods while the piano sonatas are somewhat weighted towards the composer's earlier years. In addition, Beethoven composed his quartets in three rather continuous blocks, giving each group a distinctive character, while the piano sonatas were written more continuously in Beethoven's career and tend to meld and flow more easily from one period to another.

In recovering from an illness, I thought while listening of how the quartets deal in their different ways with human pain. Beethoven composed his first series of six quartets, opus 18, as a young man in his late 20s who was full of hope and optimism, aware of his extraordinary gifts and of his ability to realize them in his music. These works are in the style of Haydn and Mozart but show a Beethoven intent on developing a voice of his own. They are optimistic, powerful works full of confidence but with hints of sadness and depths in the slow movement of the first quartet and in the "La Malinconia" section of the fourth movement of the sixth quartet. In my listening, I spent more time revisiting this first group of quartets than I had anticipated.

The second group of quartets include the three "Razumovsky" quartets of opus 59 written in 1806 together with the "Harp" and "Serioso" quartets written somewhat later. These are large, inspiring works from Beethoven's "heroic" period and the best known of his quartets. They show a composer who has known difficulty and disappointment, in his growing deafness, his health, and in his failure to form a lasting loving and sexual relationship with a woman, who tries to overcome his problems through strength, hope and will. These are large-scale inspiring works. I spent most of my time in this group with the second quartet of opus 59, with the poignant slow movement of the third quarted of opus 59 and, surprisingly, with the radiant lyricism of the "harp" quartet, opus 74.

Beethoven's final compositions consist of the last five quartets, opus nos. 127, 130, 131, 132, 135, together with the "Great Fugue" opus 133. This is deep and complex music in which Beethoven moves beyond suffering and struggle to various forms of recognition and acceptance. In rehearing this music as played by the Guarneri Quartet, I was taken by its lyricism, the many songs, dances, and marches in these quartets interlaced with the more forbidding fugues. The Guarneri Quartet has the rare virtue of not taking itself too seriously. I have already mentioned the "Hymn of Thanksgiving" in the opus 132 quartet. I also listened a great deal to the opus 127 quartet, which opens with inspiring chords and is a mixture of the resolute and the reflective, and to the final quartet, opus 135. This is the shortest quartet of the final five and shows Beethoven finding his answer to human suffering in the form of comedy and laughter rather than tragedy (think of the laughing Buddha). I also thought about the ending Beethoven wrote, after completing opus 135, to replace the "Great Fugue" in opus 130. It seemed to me that he had acted wisely and correctly by bringing this quartet to a light, almost comedic, conclusion.

It is not a pleasant experience to be in recovery, but I was grateful for the opportunity to hear the Guarneri Quartet and to revisit the Beethoven string quartets. This is music that speaks to the heart of listeners at different times and stages of life. I suggest that listeners coming to the quartets for the first time (or after many times) also read a good overview to Beethoven's life and music. I recommend Lewis Lockwood's "Beethoven: The Music and the Life" (2003). This study places Beethoven's achievement in its historical and musical context and includes lengthy treatments of each of the three groups of string quartets.

Robin Friedman
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally Captivating Performances!!! 28 Feb 2008
By Scriabinmahler - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
Alongside Talich Qt's Beethoven cycle, Guarneri's RCA recording is quite an achievement. Guarneri Qt produces very focussed yet rich and warm tones in amazing amplitude and resonance. Early quartets sounds very vivid and fresh. Rapt serenity of slow movements in late quartets is spell-binding.
23 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Studied, unyielding performances in badly dated sound 12 Jan 2006
By Santa Fe Listener - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
After a glorious decade of Living Stereo, RCA entered the Dynagroove era with some of the worst sound ever recorded by a major label. The Guarneri suffered badly from this--these Beethoven quartets sound dry, cramped, and charmless. I vividly remember the early excitement over this group. They were heirs to the intellectual style of quartet playing represented by the Budapest Quartet, and as individual musicians, these young graduates of Curtis, who also played every summer at Marlboro, were pre-anointed.

Now the picture is rather different. The Guarneri remains a top-flght group, but they haven't turned into resplendent artists (a TV film documentary from the late Nineties shows that they are thoroughly sick of each other personaly; some members barely speak outside rehearsal.) Their Beethoven doesn't sing and is much too studied. Beethoven quartets must communicate several things at once, and the Guarneri are excellent at some of them: ensemble, individual technique, serious purpose, classical balance. But without spontaneity and inspiration, those qualities lie on fallow ground. One minute of exposure to the Alban Berg's live Beethoven cycle on EMI (not caught in the best sound, either) reveals how much more joyful and singing these great works can be. At the risk of offending the Guarneri's many fans, these readings only go halfway to the mark.
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