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Thread: Beethoven string quartets sets, How many do you own?

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Question Beethoven string quartets sets, How many do you own?

    I love the Beethoven string quartets.
    Which ones do you own?
    And which are your favorites?
    Thanks
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member Barbebleu's Avatar
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    Complete Quartets by the Amadeus, Quartetto Italiano and Alban Berg Quartets.

    Late String Quartets by the Busch Quartet.

    Like them all for different reasons, but gun to head, probably the Quartetto Italiano.
    Last edited by Barbebleu; Apr-05-2019 at 10:01.
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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    I'll have to check but I've got a lot of LvB SQ cycles. The Vegh and Takacs sets take some beating for me. I'll list what I have later, when I've checked.
    Last edited by Merl; Apr-05-2019 at 10:31.

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    Senior Member Art Rock's Avatar
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    The early quartets by the Kodaly on Naxos, the middle and late quartets by Quartetto Italiano on Philips. Satisfied with this combination.
    I treat my music like I treat my pets. It’s something to own, care about and curate with attention to detail. From a blog by hjr.

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    We are truly spoiled for choice here. It seems like there is a new Quartet cycle is released every month. I own several and some were not the greatest purchases, but none are truly bad. I learned these works from the Stereo cycle by the Hungarian Quartet, which is hard to find but I was able to pick up as a French import. Other favorites are the QI and the Guarneri. Dissapointments include the Emerson’s and the Third cycle from the Tokyo Quartet-both well played but missing the drama and humor of the works.

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    Senior Member CnC Bartok's Avatar
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    About fifteen complete sets? I'll have to check and Put in a list later.

    I dislike absolutely none of them. There are three sets I am less inclined to listen to, and they are the Medici, the Amadeus, and, very surprisingly, the Takacs.

    Favourites? Too many!! But my go-to set is probably the wonderful Talich Quartet set (originally on Calliope, later label incarnation). Also of course the Vegh, Italiano, and the reference for the late Quartets, the Busch.

    However, my favourite at the moment has to be the Gewandhaus set. Perfect recording, a wonderful sense of pace and poise throughout, intensely satisfying.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    Just the Italiano. Seems to be the benchmark for a lot of people. I'm not left wanting more, their account is great (moreover, I haven't really come to appreciate all of the quartets yet - really love the middle quartets, but that's about it). Though I will say that I like what I've heard of the Alban Berg Quartet set and the Takács.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Juilliard 1960's
    Melos (DG)
    Alexander (the second one on Foghorn)
    Orford
    Vegh (both sets)
    Takacs
    Alban Berg (both sets)
    Tokyo (the first one on RCA)
    Budapest (early 1950's)
    Italiano
    Hungarian (mono)
    Emerson
    Barylli
    Pascal
    Fine Arts
    Artemis
    Belcea
    Suske
    Smetana
    Lindsays (the earlier set)
    Guarneri (both)
    plus the almost complete traversals by the Petersen and Hagen Quartets

    A few other sets have passed through my collection (Cleveland, Vermeer, Leipzig Gewandhaus, late Budapest), and I may be forgetting one or two. Needless to say, I listen to these a lot
    Last edited by wkasimer; Apr-05-2019 at 17:52.

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    Senior Member D Smith's Avatar
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    Complete sets:
    Quartetto Italiano
    Tokyo (RCA)
    Belcea
    Guarneri
    Takacs
    Emerson

    I’ve listened to QI and Tokyo the most but all have their strengths; usually I just pick and choose from these or individual albums by other quartets.
    Last edited by D Smith; Apr-05-2019 at 17:48. Reason: addition

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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    Of bigger sets, I own the Hungarian4/stereo EMI set, and the Suske4/Brilliant.

    As regards the Late Quartets, I also have the Italian4, and the Yale4.
    EDIT: Oh yes, and the Tønnesen/BIS string orchestra versions.


    Also, a few further, individual recordings.

    There's no doubt I could invest in more, very different ones, but I chose to set the limit there so far, & then to have a big quartet repertoire generally.

    The Yale set is probably the favourite among those records.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Apr-05-2019 at 18:45.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    So far wkasimer has me beat
    Here are mine, in no order just yet:

    Italiano
    Vegh (mono) I'm dying to get the stereo too
    Leipzig
    Emerson
    Belcea
    Borodon (Chandos)
    Hungarian mono
    Tokyo RCA
    Artemis
    Prazak
    Budapest mono
    Guarneri the DDD cycle originally on Philips now on Brilliant
    Quartetto di Cremona
    Takacs
    Cypress just ordered
    Orford just ordered
    Gewandhaus just ordered
    Smetana Denon just ordered
    Alban Berg first set just reissued
    Cuartetto Casals first 2 volumes


    I'll list my favorites later, but I like them all
    Last edited by Itullian; Apr-05-2019 at 23:28.
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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    These are my Beethoven quartets that I could easily locate. There may be a few others.

    Complete cycles:
    Alban Berg
    Belcea
    Budapest (stereo)
    Cleveland
    Colorado
    Elias
    Italiano
    Petersen (well, almost complete)
    Suske
    Takacs
    Tokyo (RCA)
    Vegh (stereo)

    Cycle segments:
    Camerata Nordic (late, orchestrated)
    Emerson (late)
    Fina Arts (late)
    Jerusalem (early)
    LaSalle (late)
    Melos (late)
    Smithson (early)
    Tokyo (Harmonia Mundi, early)
    Yale (late)

    Misc. quartet selections:
    Brentano
    Hagen
    Quatour Voce
    Smetana
    Last edited by KenOC; Apr-06-2019 at 00:02.


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  24. #13
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    Complete sets, Lindsay SQ (first cycle), Takacs. Partial sets, Vegh, Guarnari, Quartetto Italiano, Busch, Berg.

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    Senior Member RockyIII's Avatar
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    My favorite set of Beethoven's string quartets is by the Takács Quartet. Coincidentally, it is the only set I own.

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    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    OK, just looked and here goes. I have.....

    Complete Sets:
    Colorado
    Amadeus
    Lindsays
    Quartetto Italiano
    Di Cremona
    Emerson
    Vegh 2
    Alban Berg
    Elias
    Belcea
    Medici
    Tokyo
    Julliard
    Artemis
    Budapest
    Endellion
    Takacs
    Cleveland
    Artemis
    Gewandhaus Leipzig
    Alexander
    Guarneri
    Talich
    Borodin
    Melos
    Prazak

    Part sets
    Jerusalem (early qrtts)
    Fitzwilliam
    Casals (only missing one)
    Quatuor Mosaiques (no middles)
    Quatuor Voce
    Hagen (various)
    Hollywood (late)
    Turner (early)
    Fine Arts (late)
    Yale (late)

    I have other partials too but my HD needs a drastic reorganise and I haven't checked all my mp3s for lossy sets yet so probably a few more on there. I'll update later when I've checked.
    Last edited by Merl; Apr-06-2019 at 12:28.

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