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

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Cool My personal Beethoven string quartet journey....

    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.
    Last edited by Itullian; Apr-18-2019 at 00:40.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member KenOC's Avatar
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    Thanks for your thoughts on these! BTW my Belcea cycle has the Grosse Fuge as the last track, track 9, on CD #5 -- after Op. 18 No. 3 and No. 5! I think they were going through some contortions in order to get everything onto 8 discs.


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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KenOC View Post
    Thanks for your thoughts on these! BTW my Belcea cycle has the Grosse Fuge as the last track, track 9, on CD #5 -- after Op. 18 No. 3 and No. 5! I think they were going through some contortions in order to get everything onto 8 discs.
    You're right!!! Corrected. Thank you
    Last edited by Itullian; Apr-17-2019 at 22:09.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member flamencosketches's Avatar
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    What would you says is your all-time favorite?

    I haven't heard all of the quartets, but the Quartetto Italiano has something special to say with just about all of them...

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    What would you says is your all-time favorite?

    I haven't heard all of the quartets, but the Quartetto Italiano has something special to say with just about all of them...
    I could definitely go with the Italiano. They couple beauty and depth. Very good sound too.
    Last edited by Itullian; Apr-18-2019 at 00:34.
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Senior Member wkasimer's Avatar
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    Am I the only one who likes the Alexander Quartet's second cycle?:

    beethoven_alexander.jpg

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    Senior Member Barbebleu'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?:

    beethoven_alexander.jpg
    So far, it would appear to be the case.
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    Senior Member D Smith's Avatar
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    Thank for sharing your thoughts, Itullian. Where did you find time to listen to all those? Of the ones I've heard which is probably only 20% of your list I generally agree with your assessments. I disagree with your comment about the Elias however. I don't find them strident at all, but vigorous and sinewy when called for and have a fresh sound and interpretation. They are a favourite current cycle. But each to their own!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Itullian View Post

    I'm still waiting to receive in the mail the . . . Lindsays so I'll update later on those.
    I was about to say, what, no Lindsays?

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    I find that the Alban Berg Quartet set has a very peculiar sound, compared to the others I've heard.

    My LP set with the Hungarian String Quartet says stereo
    https://www.discogs.com/Hungarian-St...lease/13036241
    Last edited by joen_cph; Apr-18-2019 at 21:34.

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    Senior Member Itullian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    I find that the Alban Berg Quartet set has a very peculiar sound, compared to the others I've heard.

    My LP set with the Hungarian String Quartet says stereo
    https://www.discogs.com/Hungarian-St...lease/13036241
    There are two sets of the Hungarians. A stereo and mono. Both on EMI.
    Haven't heard the stereo set .......yet
    When all else fails, listen to Thick as a Brick.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flamencosketches View Post
    What would you says is your all-time favorite?

    I haven't heard all of the quartets, but the Quartetto Italiano has something special to say with just about all of them...
    They are serious.

    Some people think that there’s a playful side to the music which the Italiano miss.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Apr-18-2019 at 22:05.

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    Quote Originally Posted by joen_cph View Post
    I find that the Alban Berg Quartet set has a very peculiar sound, compared to the others I've heard.
    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.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Apr-19-2019 at 06:06.

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    Quote Originally Posted by wkasimer View Post
    Am I the only one who likes the Alexander Quartet's second cycle?:

    beethoven_alexander.jpg

    A couple of weeks ago I listened to their first op 131, and intend to listen to their second soon. Do you know why they re-recorded?

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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.
    What is the ABQ first cycle, I mean is there a second Beethoven cycle? The only one I know is on EMI.

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