Colorado String Quartet

Beethoven: Late String Quartets

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So often performed and recorded, so little enjoyed or comprehended, Beethoven's late string quartets remain among the supreme challenges for players and listeners alike. Players not only have to find something new to say about these works, they have to be able to articulate their findings in a way that can be comprehended. Listeners not only have to hear and understand what the works are about, they have to be able to compare what new performers have to say with what old performers had to say. The Colorado Quartet rises to the challenge on this 2008 release of the late quartets. In general, its approach is more visceral than intellectual, a distinct difference from most quartets' performances of these works. This is not to say that the interpretations are not fully thought-through -- the wealth of detail in the performances is proof of that -- but the playing is more impassioned and far more expressive than most quartets. Listen, for example, to the furious strength of the Allegro con brio from ther F minor Quartet, the sustained bliss of the Cavatina from the B flat major Quartet, or the easeful sublimity of the Molto adagio from the A minor Quartet. Even in the excruciatingly intellectual Grosse Fuge, the Colorado Quartet stresses the work's power and glory rather than its rigor and austerity. While many listeners will already have their favorite recordings of these works, the Colorado Quartet's recordings will repay their attention. Produced by Judith Sherman, these Parnassus recordings are a match for any labels for clarity and warmth.

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