Monday, 29 January 2018

Beethoven - The Late Quartets - Quatuor Mosaiques

Rating: 4/5

Good, but not the Mosaiques best

Although Quatuor Mosaiques are among my very favourite quartets, I'm not wholly convinced by this set.  I think their Mozart and Haydn recordings in particular are outstanding, with a wonderful balance between formality and emotion.  Here, I'm not sure that balance is quite so well struck.  These are some of the most powerfully emotional works in the canon and the Mosaiques don't always quite get to their heart for me.

One touchstone for me in the Late Quartets is the wondrous slow movement of Op. 132, with its limpid, meditative beauty shot through with flashes of piercing joy.  Although the Mosaiques bring their characteristic technical brilliance and thoughtfulness to it, it really doesn't move me in the way that the Tacaks or Alban Berg Quartets' interpretations do (among others).  I felt this way throughout, really – it's good, but doesn't quite get there.

I am slightly better disposed toward this set than C.Wake, but I do share his reservations.  These things are a matter of personal taste at this level of musical excellence, but I can only give this set a somewhat qualified recommendation.

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