Belcea Quartet - Beethoven - BBC Radio 3 CD Review

11 May 2013
BBC Radio 3 CD Review

And now for our Disc of the Week - it's the second box of Beethoven from the Belcea quartet, completing their impressive cycle recorded after a year's total immersion in Beethoven's quartets in concert. It feels like it. These are never performances feeling their way into Beethoven's different worlds, yet neither do these performances feel, as they sometimes can, like the early quartets viewed from the stance of the late ones, or vice versa. Each quartet has its own considered sound world in these impressive performances, and I could have picked any one from this 4 disk box to illustrate the point, from the first he wrote (opus 18 no.3) to any of the magnificent late quartets. But I love the last one, so that's what you're about to hear, Beethoven's F major quartet; opus 135. And somehow it's not the end, it's a new beginning, and the Belceas seem to understand that perfectly.

The end of two journeys even as it's the beginning of another. Beethoven's final string quartet, opus 135 in F major, the last work in the Belcea quartets complete Beethoven cycle. Playing of a quality that sometimes has me questioning my allegiance to the Takacs Quartet for modern cycle of the Beethoven quartets. Well these concert recordings from the Britten studio at Aldeburgh are the icing on the cake, and this is the second two volumes, 4 CDs at mid-price from ZigZag Territoire, that's the CD review disc of the week.

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Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets, Vol. 2Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets, Vol. 2