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Thread: My personal Beethoven string quartet journey....

  1. #16
    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    What is the ABQ first cycle, I mean is there a second Beethoven cycle? The only one I know is on EMI.
    The ABQ recorded a live cycle which can be had on DVD. Not bad but maybe not better.


    Last edited by KenOC; Apr-19-2019 at 06:41.


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    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    I wonder what you’re getting at there, the sound seems quite natural to me, a pretty good representation of what they actually sounded like from memory. I find it a consistently rewarding set, I’m not sure that you can do better.
    I've owned the Middle Quartets but skipped them many years ago (but I'd probably be keeping them nowadays). So I only have mp3 sources as regards the sound now. Difficult to describe, but perhaps there's something compressed-yet-far and silvery to it, though not excessively, compared to the others, IMO. At least in that format; it might be felt different with better equipment/surces. I feel there's more warmth and natural space and sound in some of the other recordngs. But maybe that's just me.

    https://www.prestomusic.com/classica...tring-quartets
    Last edited by joen_cph; Apr-19-2019 at 07:38.

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    I'm gonna post my journey through these awesome works so far. Hope you enjoy the ride.
    Very interesting project. I own most of the cycles, you list, and I shall follow your journey with great attention.

  4. #19
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    Am I the only one who likes the Alexander Quartet's second cycle?:

    Attachment 116536
    No, I really like the Alexanders too. Much better than their first set.
    Last edited by Merl; Apr-19-2019 at 11:14.

  5. #20
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    What is the ABQ first cycle, I mean is there a second Beethoven cycle? The only one I know is on EMI.
    The first cycle is DDD and ADD and is the one in the box set.
    There is a second live cycle on EMI issued in 2 CD volumes. DDD
    Last edited by Itullian; Apr-19-2019 at 11:43.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

  6. #21
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Getting ready to update.....stay tuned
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

  7. #22
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    I'm gonna post my journey through these awesome works so far. Hope you enjoy the ride.
    Alphabetically:

    Alan Berg 1st cycle, ADD/DDD,EMI very good sound & performance, required listening
    Artemis, Virgin,DDD very good sound and performance
    Belcea, Alpha,DDD, very good sound & performance
    Borodin, Chandos,DDD, very good sound and performance
    Budapest,Sony,mono, good mono sound, good performance
    Cremona Quatetto,Audite,DDD, superb sound and playing, a favorite
    Cypress, Avie,DDD,very good sound and performance, a fav
    Emerson, DGG,DDD,very good sound and performance
    Guarneri, Brilliant,DDD,very good sound & performance, a favorite
    Hungarian, EMI, mono, good mono sound, great performance
    Italiano Quartetto,Philips/Decca,ADD, very good sound & great performance, a classic
    Juilliard live, CBS,DDD, very good sound & performance, has the excitement of a live performance
    Leipzig,MDG,DDD, excellent sound & performance
    Takacs,Decca,DDD, excellent sound and performance
    Prazak,PRAGA,DDD, fantastic sound & great performance, a fav
    Tokyo, RCA,DDD, excellent sound and performance, a fav
    Vegh, Digitals,mono, pretty good sound for mono & great performance.
    Vermeer, Warner, DDD, very good sound & performance

    Here's where I know some will disagree with me.
    Cycles I did not care too much for.
    Talich, I just can't get by the recorded sound, I've tried many times and I give up. That violin,UGH.
    Gewandhaus, I just don't care for the light sound the cycle has.
    No gravitas at all. I always feel like I need to turn up the volume.
    Colorado, it's not bad, I just don't like the prominence of the 1st violin and I have heard better performances.
    Elias, just heard samples but the strident first violin kills me.
    Orford, excellent playing but the volume fluctuates up and down with different quartets.

    I'm still waiting to receive in the mail the Smetana and Lindsays so I'll update later on those.

    I have the first 2 volumes of the Cuarteto Casals on Harmonia Mundi and love them.

    The surprise so far is the Cypress cycle on Avie. I just love the sound and performance there.

    I hope you enjoyed this and I'm sure some interesting comments will follow.
    Thank for reading this.
    Since I posted this list I've added a few more cycles.
    Wihan Quartet live, Nimbus, DDD, Energetic, fresh performances, good sound
    Melos Quartet, DDG, DDD, sophisticated nuanced playing
    Tokyo, Harmonia Mundi, DDD, classical, polished playing
    Smetana Quartet, Denon, DDD, beautifully recorded, beautiful playing
    Medici Quartet, Nimbus, DDD, simple no frills playing

    All very good depending on individual taste.
    Last edited by Itullian; May-27-2019 at 23:50.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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  9. #23
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Thanks for this, Itullian. I have most of these sets and agree with many of your comments. Of those you've mentioned I don't much care for the Orford at all, the Borodin are stiff, Gewandhaus a bit light, Colorado average. Of those you mentioned the Italianos were my first set and a true benchmark of great sets. Vegh, Takacs, Alban Berg, Suske and Cypress are also terrific. I quite like the Talich (that violin is OK to me, lol) and Alexanders 2 is a big improvement on 1. Looking forward to hearing all of the Casals. That's a lovely set up to now.
    Last edited by Merl; May-28-2019 at 07:26.

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  11. #24
    Senior Member Ras's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post
    Tokyo, RCA,DDD, excellent sound and performance, a fav
    There is a more recent cycle by the Tokyo Quartet on Harmonia Mundi - unfortunately the box I have is out of print getting them piece by piece may be expensive: Part one looks like this:

    BeethovenTokyoHM.jpg
    "I only have a hunch in what I've become expert." - Leonard Cohen

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  13. #25
    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Merl View Post
    Thanks for this, Itullian. I have most of these sets and agree with many of your comments. Of those you've mentioned I don't much care for the Orford at all, the Borodin are stiff, Gewandhaus a bit light, Colorado average. Of those you mentioned the Italianos were my first set and a true benchmark of great sets. Vegh, Takacs, Alban Berg, Suske and Cypress are also terrific. I quite like the Talich (that violin is OK to me, lol) and Alexanders 2 is a big improvement on 1. Looking forward to hearing all of the Casals. That's a lovely set up to now.
    I agree with all your comments.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

  14. #26
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ras View Post
    There is a more recent cycle by the Tokyo Quartet on Harmonia Mundi - unfortunately the box I have is out of print getting them piece by piece may be expensive: Part one looks like this:

    BeethovenTokyoHM.jpg
    I bought the whole thing when it was available as a cheap box set, and was disappointed; I found much of it too slack for my taste. Their earlier RCA set is considerably better.

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  16. #27
    Senior Member DavidA's Avatar
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    Thanks for sharing that, Itullian. Like has been said I wonder how you find the time to listen to all those, especially as you are a Wagner fan too!

    But of those you mention I have the ABQ which is very fine and also the Takacs which appears to be the recommended version these days. I can't say these are my favourite LvB works - more admired than loved.

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  18. #28
    Senior Member jegreenwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    I bought the whole thing when it was available as a cheap box set, and was disappointed; I found much of it too slack for my taste. Their earlier RCA set is considerably better.
    I would describe it as warm and relaxed with great tone. Not the most natural choice for some of the music, but it provides a change of pace from the other cycles I own. (Same goes for their Schubert Quintet.)

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  20. #29
    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jegreenwood View Post
    I would describe it as warm and relaxed with great tone. Not the most natural choice for some of the music, but it provides a change of pace from the other cycles I own.
    "Warm and relaxed" is a pretty good description. But if I want that (and I usually don't in this music), I've already got the Italiano set, or Alexander 2, which is a little less relaxed.

  21. #30
    Senior Member Merl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    "Warm and relaxed" is a pretty good description. But if I want that (and I usually don't in this music), I've already got the Italiano set, or Alexander 2, which is a little less relaxed.
    Yeah, I agree about the last Tokyo set
    I much prefer the earlier one. I think there's only me and you who rate the Alexanders' 2nd cycle, Wkasimer. Dunno why. I think it's an excellent one.

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