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Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets Box set


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Audio CD, Box set, November 16, 1999
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$142.21 $38.48

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Product Details

  • Performer: Alban Berg Quartett
  • Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Audio CD (November 16, 1999)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 7
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: EMI Classics
  • ASIN: B000026D4J
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #172,641 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Editorial Reviews

7 CD box set featuring Alban Berg Quartet, performing Ludwig Van beethoven string quartets.

Customer Reviews

And a great bargain to boot!!
rsb
The tone is flawless, the music infused with feeling, the phrasing superb, the ensemble perfect.
"ileanana"
The performances by the Alban Berg Quartet are excellent.
Sid Nuncius

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

91 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Roger S. Gottlieb on March 29, 2005
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
What a splendid set. I'm familiar with a number of other recordings--Cleveland, Takacs, Emerson, Budapest, Kodaly, etc.--but this is the best overall to my taste. The tone and sound are just beautiful. There is plenty of passion but no harshness. Plenty of gentleness and simply beauty when they are called for. Lots of dynamic range and varied tempi. On almost every movement (except for me Op 59 #1 second movement) they make the music come across in a fresh way that one can return to over and over.

Also, beautifully recorded.

Can't imagine anything better (though the Auryn quartet is wonderful, as well.)
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108 of 114 people found the following review helpful By Santa Fe Listener HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on March 13, 2006
Format: Audio CD
Founded in 1971, the Alban Berg Quartet of Vienna was the dominant ensemble in the quartets of Mozart and Beethoven for two decades. Such was their pre-eminence that EMI recorded two complete Beethoven cycles with them over the span of less than five years. The first was made in the studio in 1985, the second was recorded live at the Mozart Saal in Vienna in 1989--since the latter contains applause, it's obvious which is which upon hearing them. But online stores like Amazon, Tower, and Crotchet do not distinguish between the two. The one pictured here is the studio cycle.

By general consensus the live recordings are warmer and freer in interpretation, the studio ones being noticeably more tightly controlled and polished. Virtually every critic prefers the 1989 cycle, which indeed is probably the best from the post-Budapest Quartet era (even surpassing the virtuosic Takacs and Emerson cycles of the last decade by combining intensity, genuine Viennese style, and sheer technical ease). I've bought both cycles and can attest that EMI's digital sound from 1985 is edgy and over-bright, making it impossible to listen comfortably at real-life volume levels, while the 1989 concert readings are in excellent sound, adding yet another reason to acquire the later set.

The orange-jacket Red Line series, offered a single CD at a time, is from 1985 and should be avoided. The "Great Recordings of the Century" set of the late quartets, with a photo of the four members of the Alban Berg on the cover, is from the live 1989 cycle. The only missing link is the possibility that the pictured box set here has been remastered, which the 1985 cycle certainly deserves.
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86 of 94 people found the following review helpful By Robert Thomas on December 9, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This quartet made a deep impression on me. I have listened to performances by Quartetto Italiano, Emerson, Amadeus, Cleveland, Lindsey, Vegh, Budapest and others and although each quartet has it's strengths, I believe the Berg Quartet gives the best overall performance of these works.

This remarkable ensemble seems to propel the music forward with a jet-engine thrust, while at the same time paying the greatest attention to detail, without getting lost in the minutia. By comparison, other quartets tend to sound rather square.

If you want depth of feeling, hair raising excitement, and a positively authoritative performance of Beethoven's greatest works, you honestly can't do better than the ABQ.

By the way, did I mention the tone? The tone, the tone, Oh God the tone.

Enjoy.
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23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Xyp on September 18, 2005
Format: Audio CD
This set is one of those opportunities to get in on wonderful performances at a great price. I had to weigh in because I was surprised to find some less than stellar reviews of this set- one reviewer below actually wrote a review for a completely different recording, giving this one 3 stars not even having heard it.

I found this set unerringly well recorded, unmistakably well played, and all together a great deal- 7 full length quality recordings of the greatest string quartets ever written for less than $45! There are performances that are as good (for example, check the Quatuor Mosaiques readings of the Op. 18 for a great sounding period performance take), and those are certainly collectable for the die-hard or purist, but I have yet to find a complete set of the Beethoven quartets that I would give a higher recommendation than this one.

** Update 2.6.06 - the Takacs Quartet Beethoven cycle (though so far only issued as three separate multi-disc packages) is well worth the time of anyone interested in these works, albeit at a much higher total price.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Andre Gauthier on June 1, 2007
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
On LP I own any number of complete Beethoven String Quartets played by the great masters of that genre. I bought them all as a teenager and in college. When I started buying CDs a complete Beethoven set for over $100 by a great quartet became out of my price range at the time. To find the Berg Quartet, (a favorite group of mine), surveying these great works at this price from Amazon is one of the best bargains going.

I went immediately to Op. 135 and found it marvelous in concept, execution and recording. I've now listened to almost all the quartets, and the consistency is wonderful. Because I'm in the business I'm using only high end professional equipment for playback and the sound is truly "You Are There". The recordings capture the upper overtones of all the instruments without the least harhsness, no mean feat. The blend of the group and the hall is articulated in a way that happens on only a very few recordings. Ocassionally one can hear a minor difference in what might be placement of microphones, even from movement to movement. This could, in fact, be the result of a temperature or humidity change in the recording venue. You have to pay very close attention to notice this and it does nothing to diminish these sonic wonders) Worth thrice the price.
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