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Britten: Complete String Quartets Import
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The Britten Quartet
Top Customer Reviews
Sometimes there seems to be a happy harmony of mood between the listener and the music. Today I was in that blissful place. There would be a sudden chord or little phrase and my manly lower lip would tremble a little. This was a beautiful day.
There is no correlation between the cost of something and the pleasure it gives. These 2 CDs cost peanuts. I had half expected them to be really old recordings at the price, but no, 1989 DDD. The recorded sound is clear as a bell. The musicians are excellent and play with passionate involvement.
P.S. Beware! When ripping these discs my software identified CD1 as CD2 and mislabelled its movements accordingly. It then identified CD2 as Beethoven Quartets played by the Medici Quartet!
The form went out of fashion in the Classical & Romantic periods (the passacaglia finale of Brahms's fourth symphony being a notable exception)
In the twentieth century two great composers - Shostakovich & Britten - revived the Passacaglia form in many of their major compositions.
The last movement of Britten's Second String Quartet is a Chaconne and that of the third a Passacaglia. The obsessive unvarying nature of the Passacaglia-Chaconne subject means that much inner concentration is needed to re-energize the repeating subject as the piece unfolds. And this immense inner concentration is what the Britten Quartet brings to the music. In fact, the quartet's tonal saturation and intensity of expression remind me of Quartetto Italiano in late Beethoven and late Schubert.
The third quartet was dedicated to the Amadeus quartet which recorded it for Decca coupled with the second quartet. These performances are to be treasured. But for me the Britten Quartet's insightful readings aim straight at the soul of the music.
I think I was at first put off by his quasi-religious choral works. Not my cup of tea at all! Of course there are always his operas, not least 'Peter Grimes' but having never seen any of them 'live' I am not sure I can summon much interest in them.
Well, wake up Claudia!
Britten's string quartets are a revelation - dark, daring, hugely innovative, often very melodic yet undeniably cutting edge.
Still, after all these years!
On this CD (beautifully played by The Britten Quartet) you get the lot, in every sense - all four String Quartets and his 'Simple Symphony - Opus 4
If you, like me, are discovering this great British composer for the first time, then this CD is as good a place to start as any that I can think of.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Before buying this version, I sampled it along with a couple of others using a well-known streaming service. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Paul Redman
So much better than his tutor, Frank Bridge, who is pretty good. On a par with Bartok's quartets.Published 19 months ago by Dr. Quentin Spender