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Peter
10-05-2000, 03:59 PM
I'm interested in two things here - firstly hearing of any versions that are definitely NOT recommended and secondly those that are.I do not possess a complete set of the Quartets, rather I have acquired them over the years, with different artists.

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'Man know thyself'

Stephen F Vasta
10-06-2000, 07:27 AM
Out of the various Beethoven Quartet recordings I've heard over the years - a random and by no means exhaustive sampling - the only recordings that I *don't* like are those of the Medici Quartet (Nimbus). To my ears, their playing is excessively slurry and imprecise - an effect exacerbated by overresonant sound.

I don't know whether the Amadeus Quartet recorded any Beethoven for DG in the old days - the Opus catalog I have handy lists none - but if they did, I would apply the same musical strictures to their performances.

My favorite Beethoven Quartets remain those of the Quartetto Italiano, for their deep, rich, and well-balanced tone. I also like the Alban Berg Quartet - a bit too cool and modern for some people, but I find their performances taut and dramatic.

Steve
Stevevasta@aol.com

Luis
10-06-2000, 10:53 AM
In my case, I have the quartets 1st to 11th by the Tokyo quartet and 12th to 16th (included the gross fugue) by the Alban Berg quartet. In my opinion both are fine but I rather prefer TQ since I also consider that ABQ sounds a bit too cool. I also listened the version of the quartet no. 13 op. 130 by the TQ and it is much deeper (one can imagine the music breathing!). The sound of the ABQ is also perhaps too clean for my personal taste (particularly in the case of the cello).
I also heard about the Quartetto Italiano as one of the best recordings I guess I'll check it out.

Regards, Luis.

Rod
10-06-2000, 01:09 PM
Originally posted by Peter:

I'm interested in two things here - firstly hearing of any versions that are definitely NOT recommended and secondly those that are.I do not possess a complete set of the Quartets, rather I have acquired them over the years, with different artists.



I can tell people not to consider the late quartets by the Lindsay Quartet, their playing is generally very sloppy, most unlike their Op59 quartets, which are much better.

I have an old recording on Decca by the Fitzwilliam quartet of op132 that is almost perfect (or as perfect as you can get on modern strings!).

The Bartok Quartet are good for op127, 130 and 131. Very spirited playing, their rendition of the replacement finale of op130 is a revalation (though they habitually mis repeats which is unforgivable). Again however these are old recordings not available today.

The Medici have already been mentioned negatively, however their op18 set is pretty good in my opinion, with tempi quicker than the norm. I can also recommend the Turner Quartet on period instruments for op18.

Another recent period instrument release I bought by The Eroica Quartet of op74/95/135 is enlightening but their tempi are just too lame too often, bizarrely so in the scherzo of op135 which is played molto moderato!!! - losing the sence of momentum essential in Beethoven.

Rod



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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
10-06-2000, 02:18 PM
Originally posted by Stephen F Vasta:

My favorite Beethoven Quartets remain those of the Quartetto Italiano, for their deep, rich, and well-balanced tone. I also like the Alban Berg Quartet - a bit too cool and modern for some people, but I find their performances taut and dramatic.

Steve
Stevevasta@aol.com

I agree with you about the Quartetto Italiano - I was fortunate in that they were my first introduction to Beethoven's quartets 20 years ago, when I purchased a recording of Op.18 no.1 which I was studying for my GCE Music 'O'Level !!

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'Man know thyself'

Michael
10-06-2000, 05:46 PM
I would agree on the Quartetto Italiano set – it’s the one I keep coming back to, for all three periods. The sound is extremely good and it’s hard to believe that some of the works were recorded in the late sixties or early seventies. Their performances of Opus 74,95, 127, 131 and 135 have never been surpassed in my opinion.
Though not up to the Italians, there is very little wrong with the Medici set on Nimbus. They are a little quirky in some of their versions, but the set has good clean digital sound and is very cheap. It also includes that rarely heard masterpiece, the Opus 29 String Quintet.
I bought the Tokyo set some years ago – luckily it was in three separate sets – and I returned the middle and late ones and got my money back! Perfect playing, little soul and an acoustic that made them sound like a string octet, but the early set included Opus 29 again and the arrangement of the piano sonata, Opus 14. No. 1.
The Lindsays are okay, a little sloppy and their set of the late quartets, though it won a Gramophone Magazine award, is not up to the Italianos. They do a very fine first Rasumovsky, though. Also their lead violinist, Peter Cropper, has a “sniff” problem. This can be quite annoying, especially through headphones. I read of one man who could not tolerate the Vegh Quartet because of breathing problems (the quartet's, not his). Last I heard was that Peter Cropper was using an apparatus like a gas mask while recording some other works – this is true! Personally, I have come to like the odd little noise that indicates that four real human beings are playing in a real room somewhere!
I have only one disc of the Busch Quartet – considered by some to be the ultimate versions, and I quite like it, apart from the exaggerated portamento. However, I find mono recordings a problem in quartet music. As I cannot read a score, I need to be able to hear all the great stuff going on in the inner parts, so stereo, for me, is essential – and the greater separation the better.
It’s worth mentioning that a set of the early quartets by the Amadeus Quartet on DGG 453 760-2 has an unusual bonus. The Opus 18 set fits on two discs (which means that exposition repeats are out and that could be a major drawback) but a third disc is included containing the arrangement of Opus 14 No. 1, two fine preludes and fugues, and most interesting of all, the first “Amenda” version of Opus 18 No. 1. These are played by the Hagen Quartet. It’s fascinating to compare the two versions, especially after B. proclaimed that he “had only now learned how to compose quartets properly.”

Michael

BobLombard
10-07-2000, 06:17 AM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Rod:
[B] I can tell people not to consider the late quartets by the Lindsay Quartet, their playing is generally very sloppy, most unlike their Op59 quartets, which are much better.
[ENDQUOTE]
I consider the playing of the Julliard Qt. from the mid-seventies forward to be as 'cool' (actually my word would be 'hard') as the ABQ, and somewhat less precise. The Lindsays are beyond the pale in sloppiness in anything I have heard them play. The Bartok Qt. is barely acceptable in ensemble, but their spirit goes a long way toward redemption. The Budapest QT has recorded the cycle at least three times I think. The '40s cycle is the best of them (in 'historical' sound of course).

Rod
10-08-2000, 09:54 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
The Opus 18 set fits on two discs (which means that exposition repeats are out and that could be a major drawbackMichael

I have had 3 sets of op18 in my posession that fit onto two disks, 2 with period instruments, yet all with fast tempi that allow for most or even all (if my memory serves correct) repeats to be observed (even if it means they are not placed in the order they were published). I don't consider a recording of this set if it comes on more than two disks.

Rod



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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Chris
10-09-2000, 01:47 PM
I can put in a good word for the Alban Berg recording as well.

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"Wagner's music is better than it sounds." - Mark Twain

Rod
10-10-2000, 05:12 PM
Originally posted by BobLombard:
I consider the playing of the Julliard Qt. from the mid-seventies forward to be as 'cool' (actually my word would be 'hard') as the ABQ, and somewhat less precise. The Lindsays are beyond the pale in sloppiness in anything I have heard them play. The Bartok Qt. is barely acceptable in ensemble, but their spirit goes a long way toward redemption. The Budapest QT has recorded the cycle at least three times I think. The '40s cycle is the best of them (in 'historical' sound of course).
[/B]

The recent Juillard recording of op130 & op135 is unique as far as I am aware in that the repeat in the finale of op135 is actually observed. This recording received critical acclaim in the UK at least, but I haven't heard it.

Regarding the Lindsay's, their sloppiness deserted them for op59, which is very tightly performed - to an extent that I wonder if it is actually the Lindsays playing!

I understand what you say about the Bartok, but their spirit is a rare commodity in the quartet scene, and their disks were very cheap on an East European label!

Generally I'm too frightened to buy Beethoven quartet cd's, the players generally are not up to the task and never have been.

Rod

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Serge
10-18-2000, 10:25 PM
Teh Juilliard does a good job, I agree, with the late quartets (Sony, SK 62792), but it must forever be remembered that these pieces were written almost beyond the capacities of a quartet.

Rod
10-19-2000, 01:26 PM
Originally posted by Serge:
... but it must forever be remembered that these pieces were written almost beyond the capacities of a quartet.

This is an oft repeated point (I read the same in a cd review magazine only last week), one that is used also to justlfy the numerous ridiculous arrangements of these works for orchestra. I for one totally disagree with this notion. The music is pure quartet music, and the best at that. The problem lies not with the score, but the confused interpretation of performers who rarely specialise in B's quartet output, and it is also a problem with todays instruments. The human weakness seems to that those born with the ability to play are seldom born with the same ability to judge! If I had eight hands I'd play the whole lot 'single handed'!! without problem, if I could play that is...

Rod

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
10-19-2000, 01:45 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
The human weakness seems to that those born with the ability to play are seldom born with the same ability to judge! If I had eight hands I'd play the whole lot 'single handed'!! without problem, if I could play that is...

Rod



Therein lies the problem - it is very tempting after hours of slaving away at an impossible passage and achieving something akin to what the composer intended, when confronted by criticism to say 'you damn well play it better then !!'

Serge's point is correct in a way as this quartet music (though it is the summit of that medium) is extremely difficult to bring off in performance - it really does require almost super-human musicianship, so lesser mortals such as the Quartetto Italiano (one of the finest Beethoven quartet interpreters)have my full admiration for bringing us as close as is humanly possible to the perfection required by Beethoven.



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'Man know thyself'

Rod
10-19-2000, 03:37 PM
Originally posted by Peter:
Therein lies the problem - it is very tempting after hours of slaving away at an impossible passage and achieving something akin to what the composer intended, when confronted by criticism to say 'you damn well play it better then !!'



Therein lies the problem!! - performers love to spend hours arguing how to play a single bar (I have witnessed this phenomenon), but then play the movement as a whole in a totally inappropriate manner! Thus a pianist will think he is being wonderfully deep and serious playing the adagio of op106 at a length of 20+ minutes, at the same time forgetting that such undisciplined behaviour destroys the structure and unity of the work as a whole!

Perhaps it is teachers who are to blame? On whose head is the sword to be struck?

Rod

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Peter
10-19-2000, 07:04 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
Therein lies the problem!! - performers love to spend hours arguing how to play a single bar (I have witnessed this phenomenon), but then play the movement as a whole in a totally inappropriate manner! Thus a pianist will think he is being wonderfully deep and serious playing the adagio of op106 at a length of 20+ minutes, at the same time forgetting that such undisciplined behaviour destroys the structure and unity of the work as a whole!

Perhaps it is teachers who are to blame? On whose head is the sword to be struck?

Rod



I know what you mean - I have had a whole lesson spent on the opening bar of the 4th piano Concerto and I remember a lesson where nothing was 'played' but the rests in the Liszt Bminor sonata !
Brendel takes the Adagio of Op.106 at 19'36

I think that performers are becoming more aware of the problems you mention and are less likely to take the liberties that were common a generation ago - the authentic
movement has undoubtedly played a part in this.

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'Man know thyself'

Chris
10-20-2000, 01:33 AM
Originally posted by Peter:
I know what you mean - I have had a whole lesson spent on the opening bar of the 4th piano Concerto and I remember a lesson where nothing was 'played' but the rests in the Liszt Bminor sonata !
Brendel takes the Adagio of Op.106 at 19'36

I think that performers are becoming more aware of the problems you mention and are less likely to take the liberties that were common a generation ago - the authentic
movement has undoubtedly played a part in this.


I have a recording of Brendel playing it at 17'46. Much better that way, I think.

Rod
10-20-2000, 12:27 PM
Originally posted by Chris:
I have a recording of Brendel playing it at 17'46. Much better that way, I think.

I used to have Gilels recording that also lasted around 19 mins as far as I can remember, which is waaay to slow. B's adagios usually require a certain element of movement & dynamism in them somewhere. I'm sure I've read Czerny or maybe Ries saying his slow movements weren't played particularly slow (by the metronome), rather it was his manner of playing that conveyed a sence of peace.

I have a recording by Badura-Skoda playing an 1820's original Graf lasting circa 16.5 minutes, still touch too broad in my opinion. The quickest rendition I have seen is by Jeno Jando (Naxos) lasting circa 14.5 mins but I haven't heard it. This time could be fine on a fortepiano but might sound a little rushed on the modern (ie. thicker toned) instrument he plays. B's metronome marks certainly are possible on the fp.

Rod

Chris
10-20-2000, 03:06 PM
Rod, I've noticed that some of the times you like for pieces just seem to break the natural tempo of the piece for me. I think 16.5 or 14.5 would throw things way off. I think the movement itself wouldn't make sense. 19 seems a bit long to me. Must just be how I hear things.

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"Wagner's music is better than it sounds." - Mark Twain

Peter
10-20-2000, 04:43 PM
Beethoven of course suffers from having had an unreliable metronome - however I think that there is a range of tempi that his works must fall within and straying too far either way is simply unacceptable.Musical common sense should decide this as indeed it has to with earlier music where not only are exact speeds not indicated, but dynamics are rather hazy and often totally absent.
I agree that is quite incredible to hear performances by artists who should no better doing the most stupid things not only to Beethoven but others as well - I've lost count of the number of times I've heard the opening of the 5th Symphony played at half the speed of the rest of the movement. However I think the worst tempo crime I ever heard was the last movement of the Schumann piano concerto played as though it were being sight-read at virtually half-speed - the audience however clapped enthusiastically in typical polite English fashion - had Berlioz been present, there would have been a riot !


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'Man know thyself'

Rod
10-20-2000, 05:15 PM
Originally posted by Chris:
Rod, I've noticed that some of the times you like for pieces just seem to break the natural tempo of the piece for me. I think 16.5 or 14.5 would throw things way off. I think the movement itself wouldn't make sense. 19 seems a bit long to me. Must just be how I hear things.



On the contrary Chris, see my posting about op9/3. I'm not into speed at any cost. I also qualified my preference for op106 by stating that such a tempo would be more appropriate for the fortepiano than a modern instrument. Not an unreasonable position if one is aware of the respective qualities of both instruments, which may have a bearing on B's (fast) metronome indications for this work. On the Graf, 16.5 sounds almost as broad as 19 on a Steinway due to the light tone and quicker decay. Playing the piece so broadly destroys the melodic line.

Rod


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Chris
10-20-2000, 09:22 PM
Originally posted by Rod:
On the contrary Chris, see my posting about op9/3. I'm not into speed at any cost. I also qualified my preference for op106 by stating that such a tempo would be more appropriate for the fortepiano than a modern instrument. Not an unreasonable position if one is aware of the respective qualities of both instruments, which may have a bearing on B's (fast) metronome indications for this work. On the Graf, 16.5 sounds almost as broad as 19 on a Steinway due to the light tone and quicker decay. Playing the piece so broadly destroys the melodic line.

Rod



No, no, I wasn't saying you are into speed at any cost. I just find that you frequently find that things need to be a bit faster than I do.

Serge
10-23-2000, 04:25 AM
Well! I am fascinated by the discussion one simple line of text I wrote could produce! I love reading all of this! I'm considering everything you have all said.
I have something to add about the glorified op. 106. I have a recording by Kuerti of the 106 I "enjoy" (this work is still too tough for me to grasp, so I enjoy it the best I can), and he plays the Adagio sostenuto out for over 25 minutes! This, by some, would be excessively long, but to me, as having no other recording to go by, the work sounds just ducky.
I mention this because Kuerti for this recording (part of a 10-disc set)writes a fair bit about all 32 sonatas and the diabelli var. also included. He talks about Beethoven's new Braodwood and how it was bigger and louder and increased in range to over six octaves. Plus, Kuerti mentions the fact this work was the only sonata to have metronome markings and further, that following them would actaully have robbed the piece of its inherent detail. So perhaps this information could fuel the controversy.
Until I learn more of the piece, I won't offer a personal opinion, but tell me, what do you all think?...

Rod
10-23-2000, 12:57 PM
Originally posted by Serge:

...I have something to add about the glorified op. 106. I have a recording by Kuerti of the 106 I "enjoy" (this work is still too tough for me to grasp, so I enjoy it the best I can), and he plays the Adagio sostenuto out for over 25 minutes! This, by some, would be excessively long, but to me, as having no other recording to go by, the work sounds just ducky.
I mention this because Kuerti for this recording (part of a 10-disc set)writes a fair bit about all 32 sonatas and the diabelli var. also included. He talks about Beethoven's new Braodwood and how it was bigger and louder and increased in range to over six octaves. Plus, Kuerti mentions the fact this work was the only sonata to have metronome markings and further, that following them would actaully have robbed the piece of its inherent detail. So perhaps this information could fuel the controversy.
Until I learn more of the piece, I won't offer a personal opinion, but tell me, what do you all think?...

I'm not surprised you can't grasp op106 if the adagio lasts 25 mins - at this tempo there is nothing left of the music to grasp! What must be the timings for the other movements!? For the first Allegro I consider nothing over 10 minutes. This is the other movement that is always messed up in my opinion.

Regarding Beethovens Broadwood, it's keyboard compass was obsolete by Viennese standards before Beethoven even received it. Op 106 (which he was working on before the Broadwood arrived) requires a greater compass than the Broadwood offers, as does the remainder of B's piano output from this time. Although he was justlt proud of the gift, B's initial enthusiasm for the English instrument was not maintained - in a later letter he states the instrument did not meet his expectations of it.

Regarding the metronome marks, if one applies them to the opening measures and not strictly across the whole movement they are fine, on the fortepiano at least. But the rest of the movement must be played bearing the mark in mind. I recall reading that on another occasion when he supplied metronome figures (for Christus, I think) B stated that they applied to the opening measures.

Rod


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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Serge
10-24-2000, 08:09 AM
Kuerti's recording goes as follows:
Allegro-- 11:21
Scherzo-- 2:32
Adagio-- 25:02
Largo; Allegro risoluto: 12:53
All in all, eight minutes shy of a full hour.

Rod
10-26-2000, 12:09 PM
Originally posted by Serge:
Kuerti's recording goes as follows:
Allegro-- 11:21
Scherzo-- 2:32
Adagio-- 25:02
Largo; Allegro risoluto: 12:53
All in all, eight minutes shy of a full hour.

I checked my recording by Paul Badura-Skoda using the Graf an the times are:

1: 9.47
2: 2.26
3: 16.46
4:11.08

As I have said, his adagio could do with further compression (by 1 minute, at least) but the other movements are as good as I can expect is possible.

Rod

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

Stephen F Vasta
10-31-2000, 08:41 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Michael:
I bought the Tokyo set some years ago – luckily it was in three separate sets – and I returned the middle and late ones and got my money back! Perfect playing, little soul and an acoustic that made them sound like a string octet

I disagree about the Tokyo - I found the performances fascinating and not at all cold. Interesting that you don't like the sound, Michael - I really enjoyed the richness, much as I do on the Italiano's performances!

Steve

Michael
11-04-2000, 04:47 AM
Originally posted by Stephen F Vasta:
[QUOTE]Originally posted by Michael:
I bought the Tokyo set some years ago – luckily it was in three separate sets – and I returned the middle and late ones and got my money back! Perfect playing, little soul and an acoustic that made them sound like a string octet

I disagree about the Tokyo - I found the performances fascinating and not at all cold. Interesting that you don't like the sound, Michael - I really enjoyed the richness, much as I do on the Italiano's performances!

Steve

I came across the complete set some years ago at a reduced price. I was very happy with the Italianos but I wanted another complete set for comparison and took a chance on this one. I can only speak for myself, Stephen, and I'm quite sure the Tokyo set has a lot going for it, but to me they sounded like a lot of modern quartets - frighteningly adept at playing the notes but unable to move me. (And I'm quite willing to believe that "me" could be the problem!)
Robert Layton in the "Gramophone" describes the effect very well. I can't remember his exact words but it was something like this: "A lot of string quartets today when playing Beethoven (or Mozart and Haydn for that matter) project an atmosphere of neon lighting and jet planes instead of candlelight and horse-drawn carriages."
Recording techniques could contribute a lot to this atmosphere (or lack of it) especially some digital recordings. Ideally, one should be able to listen through this but I can't.
The Quartetto Italiano set isn't perfect - especially the recording quality (there is no shortage of traffic noises) but you get the impression of four real people playing music in a room and not a sterile studio.

Michael

Rod
11-04-2000, 04:53 PM
Originally posted by Michael:
I came across the complete set some years ago at a reduced price. I was very happy with the Italianos but I wanted another complete set for comparison and took a chance on this one. I can only speak for myself, Stephen, and I'm quite sure the Tokyo set has a lot going for it, but to me they sounded like a lot of modern quartets - frighteningly adept at playing the notes but unable to move me. (And I'm quite willing to believe that "me" could be the problem!)
Robert Layton in the "Gramophone" describes the effect very well. I can't remember his exact words but it was something like this: "A lot of string quartets today when playing Beethoven (or Mozart and Haydn for that matter) project an atmosphere of neon lighting and jet planes instead of candlelight and horse-drawn carriages."
Recording techniques could contribute a lot to this atmosphere (or lack of it) especially some digital recordings. Ideally, one should be able to listen through this but I can't.
The Quartetto Italiano set isn't perfect - especially the recording quality (there is no shortage of traffic noises) but you get the impression of four real people playing music in a room and not a sterile studio.

Michael


I agree with you that a lot of modern recordings sound sterile, I have been critical of modern recording standards myself. The older recordings tend to sound more 'intimate'

Rod

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"If I were but of noble birth..." - Rod Corkin

chrisg
11-06-2000, 03:53 AM
I disagree about the Tokyo - I found the performances fascinating and not at all cold. Interesting that you don't like the sound, Michael - I really enjoyed the richness, much as I do on the Italiano's performances!

Steve[/B][/QUOTE]

I'm with Steve when it comes to Op.18 and the Middle Quartets. The Tokyo's Late Qts. don't do much for me though, maybe they just need to live with these works for another 20 years or so.

CG

chrisg
11-06-2000, 04:12 AM
Robert Layton in the "Gramophone" describes the effect very well. I can't remember his exact words but it was something like this: "A lot of string quartets today when playing Beethoven (or Mozart and Haydn for that matter) project an atmosphere of neon lighting and jet planes instead of candlelight and horse-drawn carriages."

Michael
[/B][/QUOTE]

Michael, you should run for office. This RL line comes from his extremely positive review of the Tokyo's Op. 18 set, and I'd say your use of it gives quite the opposite impression from what he's really saying.

Layton writes, "I doubt whether quartet playing comes much better than in this Tokyo set of the Op. 18. Their set of the middle period quartets (RCA, 3/92) was very impressive both in terms of musical insight and technical perfection and ensemble.
Regular readers are (probably painfully) aware that I am generally unsympathetic to virtuoso quartets with their thrustful
fortissimos and high-powered projection. There must naturally be some sense of public utterance but the overriding impression must be of civilized discourse among friends. The performers must relate to the sensibility of the period, a world in which horse-driven vehicles and candlelight were the norm rather than jet engines and strip-lighting."

He goes on at some length about the merits of this set. Part of what he (and I) like about the Tokyo performances is that they display superb technical ability without crossing over into that "jet engine" thing.

BTW, I don't take any critics' opinion as more valuable than any other music lovers. I only quote them when they agree with me.

cg

Michael
11-07-2000, 03:58 AM
Michael
[/B][/QUOTE]

Michael, you should run for office. This RL line comes from his extremely positive review of the Tokyo's Op. 18 set, and I'd say your use of it gives quite the opposite impression from what he's really saying.


Chrisg, you have confounded me with my own quote! All I can say in my defence, is that I was genuinely trying to describe my reaction to the Tokyo's, and Robert Layton's words (or what I remembered of them) came into my mind. How ironic that they came from a positive review of their recordings! I'll be more careful with my quotes in future - but please don't confuse me with a politician!
Funnily enough, I retained the Opus 18 set by the Tokyo Quartet (It had the Quintet Opus 29 as well as the arrangement of the Opus 14 piano sonata). It was the middle and late quartets I returned.
I still prefer the Hungarians, Italianos, Busch and Amadeus!
And remember, I did say in my posting that the failure to appreciate the Tokyo's may well be my problem, not the quartet's.
Enjoy your recordings - after all, that's what the whole thing is about..........

Michael

chrisg
11-07-2000, 05:53 AM
Not to worry Michael, you made your points just fine without the Layton quote. I don't care for the Tokyo Late Qts either, but think you should have held on to the Middle set. All winners for me, with Op. 59/3 a truly great performance. I'm pretty sure that's the one Mr. Layton didn't like. Op. 29 is an outstanding work isn't it? No idea why it's so relatively ignored.

I'm curious about the Hungarian set you refer to. Is it complete? Label #? In print? And, in general, what do you like about it?

Thanks,

cg

Michael
11-08-2000, 03:03 AM
Originally posted by chrisg:
Not to worry Michael, you made your points just fine without the Layton quote. I don't care for the Tokyo Late Qts either, but think you should have held on to the Middle set. All winners for me, with Op. 59/3 a truly great performance. I'm pretty sure that's the one Mr. Layton didn't like. Op. 29 is an outstanding work isn't it? No idea why it's so relatively ignored.
I'm curious about the Hungarian set you refer to. Is it complete? Label #? In print? And, in general, what do you like about it?

Thanks,

cg



The Hungarian Quartet set was the very first complete cycle I bought - and I only have it on vinyl - I am sure it must be available on CD but I believe the Hungarians did at least two complete cycles - one mono and one stereo. I bought the set on ten L.P's for ten pounds, so you may guess it wasn't last week! What I liked about it was that I heard most of B's quartets for the first time!
You're right about Opus 29. I think it's better than anything in Opus 18 except No.1.
The Medici Quartet have a fine version included in their complete quartet cycle.

Michael