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Quatuor Mosaïques - Beethoven : The Late Quartets, Op. 127 - 135

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Beethoven : The Late Quartets, Op. 127 - 135

Quatuor Mosaïques

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This 2017 release by Austria's Quatuor Mosaïques is actually the second in a series; the first box, covering Beethoven's early quartets, appeared in 1994. Whether they thought about the difficult late quartets for 23 years or other projects simply intervened, this volume has been worth the wait. (The middle quartets are apparently still to come.) As before, the Quatuor Mosaïques uses gut strings and historically authentic bows, as well as a tuning slightly below the usual A=440. There are few recordings of Beethoven's quartets made on instruments with aspects of historical construction (not really "historical instruments," for plenty of players use old instruments), and the result is immediately distinctive. The level of vibrato is low, but not outlandishly so. Instead, the most unusual aspect of the performances are their fluidity and grace, made possible by the gentle sound of the strings and by bows that do not dig into the attacks the way modern ones do. Beethoven's quartets are known for their extremity: the almost unplayable Grosse Fuge, Op. 133 (which here is made quite a bit more manageable by the historical bows), the vast and almost unthinkable modal slow movement of the String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132, the bizarrely humorous String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135. Yet such extremity is balanced by passages of great simplicity: Beethoven offers a plethora of straightforward, hummable, folkish tunes, of which the most famous one is not in a quartet but in the finale of the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125. Here, note the effect that the Quatuor Mosaïques' light touch has on the seven-movement String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131, which loses its ponderous qualities and emerges as a kind of suite. The group takes its tempos on the fast side in the main, and in a few places they seem to skate over the surface of the music rather than plumbing its great depths. But in the Grosse Fuge and the Op. 132 slow movement they are very strong. Recommended, and beautifully recorded.

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Beethoven : The Late Quartets, Op. 127 - 135

Quatuor Mosaïques

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DISQUE 1

String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127 (Ludwig van Beethoven)

1
String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127: I. Maestoso - Allegro 00:06:58

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

2
String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127: II. Adagio, ma non troppo e molto cantabile - Andante con moto 00:12:58

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

3
String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127: III. Scherzando vivace 00:08:57

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

4
String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127: IV. Finale. Allegro 00:06:30

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131 (Ludwig van Beethoven)

5
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: I. Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo 00:06:09

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

6
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: II. Allegro molto vivace 00:03:09

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

7
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: III. Allegro moderato 00:00:41

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

8
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: IV. Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile 00:13:05

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

9
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: V. Presto 00:05:34

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

10
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: VI. Adagio quasi un poco andante 00:01:40

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

11
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: VII. Allegro 00:06:49

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

DISQUE 2

String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130 (Ludwig van Beethoven)

1
String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: I. Adagio ma non troppo 00:14:32

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

2
String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: II. Presto 00:02:03

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

3
String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: III. Andante con moto ma non troppo 00:07:38

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

4
String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: IV. Alla danza tedesca. Allegro assai 00:03:05

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

5
String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: V. Cavatina. Adagio molto espressivo 00:06:09

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

Grosse Fuge in B-Flat Major, Op. 133 (Ludwig van Beethoven)

6
Grosse Fuge in B-Flat Major, Op. 133 00:15:54

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

DISQUE 3

String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132 (Ludwig van Beethoven)

1
String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132: I. Assai sostenuto - Allegro 00:09:46

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

2
String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132: II. Allegro ma non tanto 00:08:45

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

3
String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132: III. Molto adagio 00:15:07

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

4
String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132: IV. Alla marcia, assai vivace 00:02:08

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

5
String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132: V. Allegro appassionato 00:07:06

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135 (Ludwig van Beethoven)

6
String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135: I. Allegretto 00:07:04

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

7
String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135: II. Vivace 00:03:39

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

8
String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135: III. Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo 00:07:01

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

9
String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135: IV. Grave, ma non troppo tratto - Allegro 00:06:33

Quatuor Mosaïques, Orchestra, Performer - Erich Höbarth, Performer - Andrea Bischof, Performer - Mitterer Anita, Performer - Christophe Coin, Performer - Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer

Naïve, a Label of Believe Group

Descriptif de l'album

This 2017 release by Austria's Quatuor Mosaïques is actually the second in a series; the first box, covering Beethoven's early quartets, appeared in 1994. Whether they thought about the difficult late quartets for 23 years or other projects simply intervened, this volume has been worth the wait. (The middle quartets are apparently still to come.) As before, the Quatuor Mosaïques uses gut strings and historically authentic bows, as well as a tuning slightly below the usual A=440. There are few recordings of Beethoven's quartets made on instruments with aspects of historical construction (not really "historical instruments," for plenty of players use old instruments), and the result is immediately distinctive. The level of vibrato is low, but not outlandishly so. Instead, the most unusual aspect of the performances are their fluidity and grace, made possible by the gentle sound of the strings and by bows that do not dig into the attacks the way modern ones do. Beethoven's quartets are known for their extremity: the almost unplayable Grosse Fuge, Op. 133 (which here is made quite a bit more manageable by the historical bows), the vast and almost unthinkable modal slow movement of the String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132, the bizarrely humorous String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135. Yet such extremity is balanced by passages of great simplicity: Beethoven offers a plethora of straightforward, hummable, folkish tunes, of which the most famous one is not in a quartet but in the finale of the Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125. Here, note the effect that the Quatuor Mosaïques' light touch has on the seven-movement String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131, which loses its ponderous qualities and emerges as a kind of suite. The group takes its tempos on the fast side in the main, and in a few places they seem to skate over the surface of the music rather than plumbing its great depths. But in the Grosse Fuge and the Op. 132 slow movement they are very strong. Recommended, and beautifully recorded.

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