The string quartet is the highest achievement of classical music. How to describe what a great string quartet is/does? Four voices that sing, simultaneously dependently and independently. Or, as someone else once said, "a conversation among four very intelligent and witty persons." After almost 200 years, Beethoven's 16 quartets still stand as the acme of the form, notwithstanding brilliant contributions from just about every important composer since. There are many wonderful performances of the Beethoven quartets available on CD, but none are more distinguished than these performances by the Talich Quartet. More than any other ensemble in my experience, the Talich's performances proclaim that intimacy is the true experience of quartet playing (and listening). Every phrase is projected with exquisite attention to the constantly shifting balance of light and shadow that is the hallmark of the greatest quartet playing. Tempos are vigorous without being rushed, rubato is applied in the subtlest way imaginable, and dynamics seem to explore impossible distinctions between pp and ppp. In short, every performance in this set invites you to carefully listen to Beethoven's musical argument as you've never listened before.T. Beers – Amazon
Covering the breadth of Beethoven’s complete output, this updated 86-CD box set is a staggering collection featuring performers including Alfred Brendel, Sir Colin Davis, David Zinman, Herbert Blomstedt, Staatskapelle Dresden and the London Symphony Orchestra.
Featured works include: Symphonies, Piano Concertos, Violin Concerto & Romances, Overtures and other orchestral works, Fidelio, Leonore, Septet, Sextet, String Quintets, String Quartets, String Trios, Violin Sonatas, Cello Sonatas, Chamber music for flute, Music for winds and brass, Piano Quintet, Clarinet Trio, Piano Sonatas & Variations, Songs, Masses.
Beethoven was the last great composer to write string trios, and his are the finest works of their type. Mozart hardly touched this particular combination, and Haydn wrote quite few very early works which are now completely unknown. In any case, Haydn used two violins and a cello, whereas with Beethoven the standard combination became violin, viola, and cello. These are all early works, expert examples of all that Beethoven learned from Haydn and Mozart in preparation for the writing of his first great string quartets. But far from being mere composition exercises, these are highly rewarding works on their own, and these outstanding performances make the best possible case for their claim to be ranked among Beethoven's chamber music masterpieces.
The Beethoven set includes the first two piano concertos (No. 1 in two versions, one with cadenzas supplied by Glenn Gould) together with Beethoven’s only completed opera in its final version: Fidelio. He always had a strong and fervent view of freedom and its resonance still rings true today nearly two hundred years since its first performance.
Maurizio Pollini’s Beethoven Sonatas cycle has reached completion after nearly 40 years. We celebrate this major event with a handsome 8-CD capbox that provides a fitting testimonial to a great artistic partnership between pianist and record label. The final recordings in the cycle (opp. 31 & 49) are being released simultaneously as a single CD.
Already established within Viennese culture by Haydn and Mozart, the trio genre was taken to new limits by the inexhaustible imagination of Beethoven's genius: "a serene joy come from an unknown world", was E. T. A. Hoffmann's reaction on hearing the Trio in D major Op.70 no.1. The Wanderers have ventured into the Beethoven piano trios and mastered every inch of its topography. What better guide could there be for us to follow with total confidence, in their 25th anniversary year?