Friday, 9 June 2017

Beethoven - Complete String Quartets - Takacs Quartet

Rating: 5/5

A wonderful set

This complete Beethoven cycle by the Takacs Quartet is regarded by many as one of the major musical achievements of the last few years. I agree - this is a simply wonderful set.  I bought the original discs as they came out and they have given me immense pleasure for years.

The Takacs Quartet are technically outstanding. Tuning is faultless and the precision of their playing together is quite remarkable. In the finale of Op.59 No.3, for example, Beethoven's final sprint for the finishing line is played with thrilling vigour and at a tremendous pace, but intonation and ensemble playing are rock solid, which cannot be said of some other recordings by leading quartets.  Here we have four marvellous musicians playing brilliantly and who are absolutely at home with the music and with each other.

This bedrock of technique allows their wonderful interpretation of the music to shine out. In Beethoven's sublime slow movements, for example, there is exactly the right balance of sweetness and intensity - never cloying but never impenetrable. This excellence of interpretation runs right through the whole set and if you're looking for a complete recording of Beethoven's quartets you couldn't do better, I reckon. Even if you have recordings you love, I'd suggest buying this set - you will find real insight and pleasure throughout. I can recommend it very warmly.

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