21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
It doesn't get better than this.
, 14 Jan. 2013
This review is from: Beethoven: Complete String Quartets (Audio CD)
The Quartetto Italiano's Beethoven cycle has been part of my listening experience for the best part of forty years. At the tender age of 15 I bought a copy of opus 132, which was slightly hard going but slowly began to reveal its secrets. They recorded this first, and it clearly meant a great deal to the group. The slow movement is almost perfect, and the final section (of five) carries you off to heaven. There is a wonderful moment when the first violin holds a high note on its own, no other version I've heard has matched this performance. The only group of those I've heard that seems to have a similar 'feel' for the music is the Lyndsay Quartet, but they don't have the Italians' style and nobility. The Italians went on to record the rest of the cycle during the next 8 years, ending with a revelatory set of the Opus 59s. I was moved to write this as I just listened to the first of these, op.59 no. 1. The measured pace for the opening allegro allows time and space for every musical idea to register properly, just superb. The scherzo also benefits from a measured pace, and the slow movement is awesome. You get drawn into a magical and complex world of ideas and feelings, this is on a par with the late quartets, and really this must be be the pinnacle of all music. The Italian performances are near perfect, they radiate love, humanity and humility, and continue to shine as a beacon of sanity and compassion in our troubled world.
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