21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on 18 July 2010
These are exhilarating performances, recorded live in 1989.
The tempi are generally on the faster side. The ABQ play with the greatest intensity.
The faster than usually heard tempi in the adagio's were a shock at first, and can make one wonder whether some of the profundity is lost, however the overall conception and vision of the ABQ's performance is utterly compelling on its own terms, and I found myself relishing the very different sounding late quartets I was hearing, even if the adagio's were not as movingly rendered as I have heard elsewhere (such as the Vegh or the Italian Quartet recordings)
The playing is often wildly intense, but with absolute uniformity and virtuosity. Quite remarkable.
These performances compel, and I felt that I was hearing these pieces anew, which was a wonderful experiance.
If I had to choose a cycle that best exemplified the mysterious, spiritual side of these quartets for me, it would probably be the Vegh Quartet's 1972 recordings.
However this ABQ cycle is now amoung my favorite late quartet recordings- because it is such a different performance. The ABQ have a very unique and compelling approach to these master works, and experiencing it is tremendously exciting.
If you are very familiar with other established recordings of the late quartets, I warmly commend this modestly priced set to augment your collection. You just might feel that you are hearing the late quartets for the first time again, and its a thrilling experience.
My only complaint is that the Grosse Fugue is on a seperate disc from the Op 130, causing an interruption for those of us who prefer to listen to it as the finale to Op 130 as Beethoven originally intended.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 25 July 2012
On hearing this version you soon realise that this must become one of the most satisfying modern versions of this superb music. A joy to hear, with no disappointments or worries. The interpretations are sublime, seeming to release the emotional content of the music faultlessly with just the right tempos and loudnesses to make you lose yourself in the excellent quality sound.
As usual, I am very glad I found this in Amazons listings, and will be back for more soon
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 6 March 2013
All the Beethoven late quartets (3 discs) played by the Alban Berg Quartet, all for £4.49. I thought all my Christmases had come at once. Hugely enjoyable playing by one of the very best quartets in excellent sound. This is superior to the Tokyo String Quartet which I have on CDs.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 12 October 2012
How can you begin to review a disc of this stature? These are benchmark recordings of the late quartets, made in 1989 and still sounding fresh and inventive over 20 years later. A legendary quartet playing the greatest music - what more could you ask for?
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 25 June 2013
This is a stunning collection of music by arguably the greatest composer who ever lived. The work is lively, full of surprises and tinged with melancholy. That Beethoven was profoundly deaf when he wrote this just beggars belief. I would recommend this to anyone.