The Brodsky Quartet

Beethoven: Late String Quartets

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Marking the sestercentennial of Ludwig van Beethoven's birth, the Brodsky Quartet's 2020 box set of the late string quartets on Chandos is an early entry in a year that will be flush with releases and reissues of these revered works. Recorded between 2017 and 2019, the Brodsky's fresh recordings of Beethoven's last major compositions are offered in warm and resonant performances that reflect the group's expressive richness and spiritual depth, while perhaps evoking memories of many interpretations that came before. It's difficult to escape comparisons with historic performances by the great string quartets, particularly in this much-debated and analyzed body of work, but the Brodsky's respect for them allows a measure of freedom to converse with each other within that tradition yet to produce something identifiably their own. The Brodsky Quartet maintains high technical standards and plays meticulously, though their interpretations are full of passion, drama, and wit, which are often unexpected in these inward-looking masterworks. Profound moments in this set include the exquisite Cavatina from the String Quartet in B flat, Op. 130, the transparent Adagio of the String Quartet in C sharp minor, Op. 131, and the placid "Heiliger Dankgesang" movement from the String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132. However, anyone looking for the ultimate expression of freedom and excitement should look no further than the Große Fuge, Op. 133, which is one of the Brodsky's tightest readings. Newcomers to Beethoven's greatest chamber music can't go wrong with this exceptional package, and even experienced listeners will find much to appreciate, even if the Brodsky's set might not supplant long-held personal favorites.

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
String Quartet, Op. 127 in E flat major
1 06:46 Amazon
2 16:55 Amazon
3 08:41 Amazon
4 07:21 Amazon
String Quartet, Op. 131 in C sharp minor
5 07:22 Amazon
6 02:58 Amazon
7 00:41 Amazon
8 14:29 Amazon
9 04:46 Amazon
10 02:22 Amazon
11 06:03 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick