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Late String Quartets Op 127

4.5 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, October 11, 2011
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Editorial Reviews

Founded in 1992, the New York-based Brentano String Quartet is
known for its interpretations combining perfect technique and matchless
musicality. Those qualities are even more obvious in this series of
late Beethoven quartets, with this first volume bringing together the
Opp. 127 and 131.
  • Sample this album Artist (Sample)
1
30
7:12
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2
30
14:28
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3
30
8:21
Album Only
4
30
7:27
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5
30
7:14
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6
30
3:05
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7
30
0:47
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8
30
14:50
Album Only
9
30
5:58
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10
30
2:05
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11
30
7:09
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Product Details

  • Performer: Mark Steinberg, Serena Canin, Misha Amory, Nina Maria Lee
  • Conductor: n/a
  • Composer: Beethoven, Ludwig Van
  • Audio CD (October 11, 2011)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Aeon
  • ASIN: B005H3HXVY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #156,694 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Ralph Moore TOP 500 REVIEWER on February 14, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Formed in 1992, the Brentano Quartet took their name from the supposed identity of Beethoven's "Immortal Beloved" Antonie Brentano and thereby signalled that they felt a special affinity with the composer's music. Appointed in 1999 Princeton's University's first quartet-in-residence, they have over twenty years built a formidable reputation without making more than a handful of recordings mostly of music by modern composers, so this recording of "classical" repertoire will be of great interest to their admirers, especially those in the UK where they were awarded the Royal Philharmonic Award for the Most Outstanding Debut and have appeared regularly in London's Wigmore Hall.

Knowing their reputation for fiery music-making, I confess to being a little disappointed by the careful manner of their opening of the first movement of Op.127. "Maestoso" yes, but surely the music calls for more attack than they give it here - although in the reprise of that opening subject they find more bite, so presumably that was a conscious artistic choice to contrast the two statements of the same music; I'm not sure it works. They are clearly highly refined artists, with impeccable tuning, maintaining a lovely equilibrium amongst their instruments and giving each its distinctive voice without sacrificing unity - but I could wish for more risk-taking and more thwack and strum of gut. Nor do I find the tone of Mark Steinberg's lead violin very voluptuous; indeed I occasionally find it scrawny, although I assume this is deliberate. They are again very poised and restrained in opening Adagio of Op.
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Format: Audio CD
The Brentano Quartet's concert featuring these two quartets was for me the unexpected highlight of the 2010 Beethoven festival in Chicago, not bad when you consider that the main fare was provided by the CSO under Haitink, who themselves in no way disappointed. These recordings offer incisive playing that fairly bristles with ideas yet has that emotionally deep-grained quality one associates with a much earlier generation of performers. This disc is worth having whatever other recordings of these pieces you might already own.
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"Strange beauties" was a term used by explorers of old to indicate territories lying beyond the known and mapped-out realms. These quartet performances are a little off the map for me. They are in fact slightly eccentric and slightly mannered, and that would usually end my interest, but not this time. The tonal beauty of the playing and the recording draws me in, and the Brentanos also dig in rhythmically and add a host of subtle inflections that enliven their often broad tempos and are very revealing. So if you have a taste to hear Beethoven with a somewhat different sound and feel than you may have heard before, this could be good.

But there are reasons for reservations. Their timing of 7:10 for the opening movement of Op. 127 is a full minute slower than most quartets, such as the outstanding Suske Quartet, and you would think that would allow them to highlight the "Maestoso" that Beethoven asked for there, but they don't, and they sound more reserved than grand. So the main drawback here is not their slightly eccentric or individual point of view, the things they themselves add, but the fact that they overlook what is already there in the score. And in the final section that closes Op. 127, which Beethoven marked allegro con moto, almost every quartet in the world insists--due to some odd tradition--on slowing down instead, and turning it into some kind of dreamy fantasia. So does the Brentano quartet. This section should instead be a witty and rollicking close to an equally witty and energetic movement.
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By mpkuhns on December 8, 2012
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
vibrant, sensitive, brilliant performance.
Precision and expressive quality combine to produce a deeply moving experience.
I recommend this as an exceptional addition to a valuable music library.
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I purchased this disk because I recently saw the film "A Late Quartet" with Christopher Walken and Philip Seymour Hoffman (among others). The film is outstanding, and involves the preparation of the Quartet (amidst various travails) to perform Op. 131 in concert. The portions of the soundtrack that include passages from Op. 131 were taken from the Brentano Quartet's performance -- this disk. I wanted to hear the entire quartet performed nonstop (as Beethoven intended), and this disk is marvelous. And having listened to the disk several times, I'm going to go back to the film and watch it again. The film is first-rate, amazing performances by the entire cast. And the DVD of the film and this CD make great companion pieces.
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Beautiful interpretation! Seen in The late quartet movie with christoper walken, Philipp Seymour and Catherine keener. Highly recommended for both.
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Playing and recording of the highest quality, I was delighted by this beautiful set of String Quartets. Most enjoyable indeed.
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The Brentano Quartet provided the music for "A Late Quartet", a great movie with Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Christopher Walken. The music was not just a sound track, it was the script, as the actors negotiated, harmonized, went off on solos, just like the Beethoven piece they played. The Brentano version of Opus 131 is lively, dynamic, incredible.
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