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Emerson String Quartet: Beethoven – The Middle Quartets (FLAC)

Emerson String Quartet: Beethoven - The Middle Quartets (FLAC)

Emerson String Quartet: Beethoven – The Middle Quartets (FLAC)

Composer: Ludwig van Beethoven
Performer: Emerson String Quartet
Number of Discs: 2
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
Catalogue: 4537642
Release: 1997
Size: 650 MB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: cover

CD 01
String Quartet No. 7 in F major, Op. 59 No. 1 ‘Rasumovsky No. 1’
01. 1. Allegro
02. 2. Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando
03. 3. Adagio molto e mesto
04. 4. Thème russe. Allegro

String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59, No. 2 “Rasumovsky No. 2”
05. 1. Allegro
06. 2. Molto adagio
07. 3. Allegretto
08. 4. Finale. Presto

CD 02
String Quartet No. 9 in C major, Op. 59 No. 3 ‘Rasumovsky No. 3’
01. 1. Introduzione. Andante con moto – Allegro vivace
02. 2. Andante con moto quasi allegretto
03. 3. Menuetto. Grazioso
04. 4. Allegro molto

String Quartet No. 10 in E flat major, Op. 74 ‘Harp’
05. 1. Poco adagio – Allegro
06. 2. Adagio ma non troppo
07. 3. Presto – Più presto quasi prestissimo
08. 4. Allegretto con variazioni

String Quartet No. 11 in F minor Op. 95 ‘Serioso’
09. 1. Allegro con brio
10. 2. Allegretto ma non troppo
11. 3. Allegro assai vivace ma serioso
12. 4. Larghetto espressivo – Allegretto agitato

With the Emerson Quartet’s performances of Beethoven’s “middle” string quartets, it’s almost always not quite. The ensemble is often not quite together. The intonation is often not quite cogent. The tone is often not quite cohesive. The tempos are often not quite strict. And the interpretations are almost always not quite compelling. There are moments, passages, and occasional movements that are brilliantly executed, but they are surrounded by moments, passages, and occasional movements that are scrappy and scruffy. The only exception to the rule of not quite is the Emerson’s remarkable recording of the F minor quartet, Op. 95, which is tough, tight, taut, and furious from start to finish. But that is just one quartet in five and it cannot redeem an otherwise undistinguished set.

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