This is a very complete set indeed. It includes all the quartets in the latest edition prepared by Jonathan Del Mar which restores many important markings by Beethoven and which has been done in collaboration with the Endellion Quartet. Both versions of the first quartet or included as well as Beethoven's quartet arrangement of the piano sonata Op. 14 no. 1. the Gross Fuge, both string quintets plus other works for string quartet including the two prelude and fugues.
Never have I heard the extraordinary and even 'strange' or 'otherworldly' character of the late Beethoven string quartets better than in the performance of the Julliard Quartet. They perfectly caption what could not be better described then as the revolution in the writing of string quartets that these late quartets represent. One could even say that some passages lay a bomb under the expectations of contemporary listereners and even now could almost shock you. So powerful and profound is this music while only using the modest means of four string instruments. Away with civilised chitchat, away with certainty! Here comes Beethoven!
The Julliard String Quartet does a magnificent job of presenting Beethoven's material in a technically perfect performance. To a student, this would be the place to start. Classical music walks a tightrope between precision and passion. This recording by the Julliard String Quartet is the best combination of skill, sound, and material.
The Juilliard String Quartet is a classical music string quartet founded in 1946 at the Juilliard School in New York by William Schuman. The original members were violinists Robert Mann and Robert Koff, violist Raphael Hillyer, and cellist Arthur Winograd; Current members are Joseph Lin and Ronald Copes violinists, violist Roger Tapping, and cellist Astrid Schween. In 2010 Nick Eanet resigned from the Quartet because of health issues and was replaced by Joseph Lin in 2011.
If beauty is truth and truth beauty, then the Quartetto Italiano's late-'60s, early-'70s cycle of the complete Beethoven string quartets is possibly the most truthful cycle ever recorded because it is certainly the most beautiful cycle ever recorded. No quartet has ever played with such consummate beauty of tone, such ideal intonation, and such superb ensemble as the Quartetto Italiano. In the most strenuous passages, in the most awkward, in the most excruciating passages, the Italiano is always and everywhere transcendentally beautiful.
This set of Beethoven string quartets by the Borodin Quartet reflects a mature perspective on the works. It's not that it lacks energy the Vivaces are vivacious and the Allegros have plenty of brio but it has wisdom and a maturity not generally characteristic of performances by younger quartets. These performances are comparable with the Budapest Quartet's last set of the quartets.