on 18 February 2011
I am so pleased to have been introduced to this set, through other Amazon reviewers among other sources.
Pure serene is here in plenty.
Also loud and bold, when appropriate.
What you don't get is the self-aware virtuoso, individualistic statement that characterises some more recent interpretations.
It is also exceptional value, possibly because the presentation is very simple: 7 discs in cardboard sleeves in a box with a booklet. But, hey, you can easily put them in jewel cases from CVB Media. You can even rework them into sets of early, middle etc on iTunes, rather than leave them as the ready-made concert presentation of the collection as it comes. If you like.
The main thing is, set aside lots of listening time. No matter how many times you have heard other versions.
on 9 September 2008
I would only hear Beethoven's chamber works on the radio, fleeting moments when I would not concentrate on the music. I guess Beethoven's symphonies have put his chamber music in the shadows. I bought this box set to set aside some time to find out more about this composer's genius. I was not disappointed, these quartets gave me access to the mind of a man with intense emotions and powerful intellect. The symphonies were mere pyrotechnic displays of a showman; but these quartets were something completely different, they were intimate, human and full of loving kindness. Beethoven the humanitarian is clearly at work here and he invites you to occupy this world. The Alban Berg Quartet's is marvellous, I play these again and again. I play them at home and on my MP3 player. What more can I say.
on 31 January 2008
Anyone wanting the greatest available (that Ive heard anyway) of the full beethoven quartets may look no further. the Alban Quartet do have their own style that has to be said, but it is perfectly suited for beethoven. From the violence of the Grosse fugue to the absolutely sublime Adagio from Op132, its all here. I also love the Italiano quartetto's recordings and the borodon's, but have been dissapointed in more recent recordings such as the Takacs's. I have collected all of the recordings on this box-set separately but to get them all in one package at this price is a bargain. If you love Beethoven and chamber music buy it.
The other commentators make the point that this is a superb cycle of the complete string quartets. Both as rewarding performances and rich sound recording this is a magnificent achievement all round. The more I listen; the more I am drawn in by these great works and the beautiful music making superbly captured here.
For many years the celebrated Philips recordings of the Quartetto Italiano have been my personal choice for the late quartets, but these more modern readings are equally distinctive, especially for me in the late quartets. As an integral cycle and, particularly at a good price, this remains in my view an enriching bargain that is simply hard to match.