Quartetto di Venezia

Beethoven: Complete String Quintets

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If the Quartetto d'archi di Venezia and violist Danilo Rossi had played in tune and in sync more often, this would have been an unbeatable collection of all Beethoven's works for string quintet. Certainly, they have the energy. The Prestos that end the Opus 4 and Opus 29 quintets are very fast and the Prestissimo that ends the Opus 104 quintet is even faster. Certainly, they have the enthusiasm. Beethoven's sforzandos sting, his fortissimos ring, and his Andante cantabiles sing. Certainly, they have the heart. Rarely have these works seemed so tuneful, so melodic, so emotionally affecting. But, unfortunately, the Venetian quartet plus Rossi are so out of tune and so out of sync so much of the time that their energy, enthusiasm, and heart don't count for much. The violins tend to scrape above the staff. The violas tend to go flat above Allegro. The cello tends to go his own way when not taking the lead -- and then the other four go their own way. Harmonies are too often out of balance. Lines are too often out of alignment. Even with the best will in the world, sooner or later the listener will run out of patience. Despite Dynamic's nearly transparent super audio sound, there are better recorded performances of Beethoven's quintets in the world. Try searching for the stylishly elegant, emotionally engaging, and technically polished recordings made by Amadeus Quartet for Deutsche Grammophon.

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