16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Late and great,
This review is from: Beethoven: Late String Quartets (Audio CD)
The musical equivalent of Rembrandt's mature series of self-portraits, Beethoven's late quartets are multi-faceted, soul-searching, enriching and unsurpassed. Taken together they, like the paintings, seem to comment on the human condition like few others. No collection should be without them.
I agree with an earlier reviewer that there's too much vibrato here. Edward Dusinberre seems especially guilty of this excess. But I would still value these recordings on the grounds that first, they offer many qualities that compensate. The playing of Takács is very often subtle and thoughtful. To take just one example, Dusinberre's phrasing in Op130.iv and the variety of effects he produces in this same danza tedesca are considerable and you understand why a Gramophone reviewer said that it seems as though there's no other way the music should go. Second, of course, the music itself is absolutely sublime. If, like mine, your ideal recording of these peerless works would feature minimum-vibrato, you're likely to have to wait a very long time - too long for music of such beauty and monumental importance.
Interestingly, Takács perform Opus 130 with its original finale, Große Fuge (now designated as Op 133), followed by the alternative urged by his publisher - shorter, lighter and slighter. Also included in the set is the Opus 95 Quartet in f.
These last works by Beethoven are highly individual, bordering on the eccentric and veering from pathos and troubled introspection to throw-away flippancy and whimsy in an instant. Takács are at least able to suggest these qualities as well as their transcendent greatness.