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Belcea Quartet - Brahms : String Quartet 1 & Quintet 2

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Brahms : String Quartet 1 & Quintet 2

Quatuor Belcea

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In its third recording for EMI, the youthful Belcea Quartet approaches two works by Brahms with abundant energy and eagerness to please, but with less insight and conviction than the pieces demand. A fair appraisal of these performances must credit the players for adhering to form, for holding together as equal partners, and for maintaining a clear sense of purpose. However, their emotional involvement with the music is not adequately communicated, due either to their facility or, possibly, to a predetermined scheme of moods. The String Quartet No. 1 is, by turns, nervous, introspective, darkly lyrical, and passionately contentious, and these Romantic qualities are certainly part of Brahms' language. Yet they are almost superficially rendered, and the music seems to flow not from intimate engagement but from a conscious calculation of attitudes. The Belcea's performance of the String Quintet No. 2 is better for being more spontaneous and conversational. With the addition of Thomas Kakuska on second viola, the ensemble's repartee is spirited and, for the most part, enjoyable. Even so, their depth of feeling is less than compelling, and the group holds back too much until the finale, which is a promising breakthrough. The recording is well balanced and does justice to the Belcea's finely blended sound.
© TiVo

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Brahms : String Quartet 1 & Quintet 2

Belcea Quartet

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String Quartet No. 1 in C minor Op. 51 (Johannes Brahms)

1
String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 51 No. 1: I. Allegro
00:10:47

John Fraser, Producer - Johannes Brahms, Composer - Belcea Quartet, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2009 EMI Records Ltd. 2003 ℗ 2004 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

2
String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 51 No. 1: II. Romanze (Poco adagio)
00:06:54

John Fraser, Producer - Johannes Brahms, Composer - Belcea Quartet, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2009 EMI Records Ltd. 2003 ℗ 2004 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

3
String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 51 No. 1: III. Allegretto molto moderato e comodo
00:09:03

John Fraser, Producer - Johannes Brahms, Composer - Belcea Quartet, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2009 EMI Records Ltd. 2003 ℗ 2004 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

4
String Quartet No. 1 in C Minor, Op. 51 No. 1: IV. Allegro
00:05:47

John Fraser, Producer - Johannes Brahms, Composer - Belcea Quartet, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2009 EMI Records Ltd. 2003 ℗ 2004 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

String Quintet No. 2 in G major, Op. 111 (Johannes Brahms)

5
String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111: I. Allegro non troppo, ma con brio
00:12:56

John Fraser, Producer - Johannes Brahms, Composer - Belcea Quartet, String Quartet, MainArtist - Thomas Kakuska, Viola

© 2009 EMI Records Ltd. 2003 ℗ 2004 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

6
String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111: II. Adagio
00:06:15

John Fraser, Producer - Johannes Brahms, Composer - Belcea Quartet, String Quartet, MainArtist - Thomas Kakuska, Viola

© 2009 EMI Records Ltd. 2003 ℗ 2004 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

7
String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111: III. Un poco Allegretto
00:05:34

John Fraser, Producer - Johannes Brahms, Composer - Belcea Quartet, String Quartet, MainArtist - Thomas Kakuska, Viola

© 2009 EMI Records Ltd. 2003 ℗ 2004 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

8
String Quintet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 111: IV. Vivace ma non troppo presto
00:04:58

John Fraser, Producer - Johannes Brahms, Composer - Belcea Quartet, String Quartet, MainArtist - Thomas Kakuska, Viola

© 2009 EMI Records Ltd. 2003 ℗ 2004 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK Ltd

Album Description

In its third recording for EMI, the youthful Belcea Quartet approaches two works by Brahms with abundant energy and eagerness to please, but with less insight and conviction than the pieces demand. A fair appraisal of these performances must credit the players for adhering to form, for holding together as equal partners, and for maintaining a clear sense of purpose. However, their emotional involvement with the music is not adequately communicated, due either to their facility or, possibly, to a predetermined scheme of moods. The String Quartet No. 1 is, by turns, nervous, introspective, darkly lyrical, and passionately contentious, and these Romantic qualities are certainly part of Brahms' language. Yet they are almost superficially rendered, and the music seems to flow not from intimate engagement but from a conscious calculation of attitudes. The Belcea's performance of the String Quintet No. 2 is better for being more spontaneous and conversational. With the addition of Thomas Kakuska on second viola, the ensemble's repartee is spirited and, for the most part, enjoyable. Even so, their depth of feeling is less than compelling, and the group holds back too much until the finale, which is a promising breakthrough. The recording is well balanced and does justice to the Belcea's finely blended sound.
© TiVo

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