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Quatuor Ébène - Beethoven Around the World: The Complete String Quartets

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Beethoven Around the World: The Complete String Quartets

Quatuor Ébène

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The Quatuor Ébène timed this round-the-world Beethoven cycle to coincide with Beethoven's 250th birthday in 2020, beginning a worldwide tour and fortunately completing it before the outbreak of the pandemic in that year. The cycle was recorded in Philadelphia, Vienna, Tokyo, São Paolo, Melbourne, Nairobi, and finally Paris. CD buyers get a combination of travelogue and set of work descriptions, but it's not clear that the performances were influenced in any way by the globetrotting. This is, however, a very strong Beethoven set, with full-blooded performances perhaps unexpected from a group that made its name with French quartet music. Credit, first of all, goes to mastering engineer Fabrice Planchat, who followed the group around the world with a portable studio, recording, according to the ambiguous note, "live and in rehearsal" (there is no audience noise). The sound retains some of its original characteristics, including in an acoustically inferior Alliance Française Auditorium in Nairobi, but is stitched together into a coherent whole. The Quatuor Ébène generally offers high-intensity readings that relax at times into passages of passionate rather than delicate lyricism. In the String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131, the Allegro molto vivace of the second movement may seem to leave no room for the Presto of the fifth, but the group makes it happen. The late quartets as a whole are extremely compelling, with the group catching the odd mixture of comedy and existential dread in the String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135, and delivering a heartfelt "prayer of thanks of one who has recovered to the Godhead" in the slow movement of the String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132. An unusual feature among the late quartets is that the String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major, Op. 130, concludes with the Grosse Fuge, Op. 133, the work's original finale, rather than the finale on which Beethoven eventually settled. The early quartets get weighty readings that place them at the forefront of Beethoven's stylistic development rather than in Haydn's orbit; listen to the alternatively lovely and grim "La Malinconia" finale of the String Quartet No. 6 in B flat major, Op. 18. No. 6. Curiously, two of the three Op. 59 "Razumovsky" quartets are placed together on a single disc rather than being evenly distributed, but these too follow the pattern of fast tempos and high-energy readings. It may be that the Quatuor Ébène did not need to travel the globe to accomplish this, but the group's Beethoven cycle compels attention.
© TiVo

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Beethoven Around the World: The Complete String Quartets

Quatuor Ébène

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1
String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18 No. 1: I. Allegro con brio
00:09:32

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

2
String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18 No. 1: II. Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato
00:11:14

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

3
String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18 No. 1: III. Scherzo. Allegro molto
00:03:17

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

4
String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18 No. 1: IV. Allegro
00:06:37

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

5
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: I. Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo
00:07:35

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

6
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: II. Allegro molto vivace
00:03:12

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

7
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: III. Allegro moderato - Adagio
00:00:49

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

8
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: IV. Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile - Allegretto
00:14:35

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

9
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: V. Presto
00:05:13

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

10
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: VI. Adagio quasi un poco andante
00:02:25

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

11
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: VII. Allegro
00:07:05

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

12
String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, Op. 59 No. 1, "Razumovsky": I. Allegro
00:10:43

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

13
String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, Op. 59 No. 1, "Razumovsky": II. Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando
00:09:01

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

14
String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, Op. 59 No. 1, "Razumovsky": III. Adagio molto e mesto
00:14:12

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

15
String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, Op. 59 No. 1, "Razumovsky": IV. Allegro (Russian Theme)
00:08:05

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

16
String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59 No. 2, "Razumovsky": I. Allegro (SHRM 96/24)
00:09:58

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

17
String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59 No. 2, "Razumovsky": II. Molto adagio
00:13:14

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

18
String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59 No. 2, "Razumovsky": III. Allegretto
00:06:59

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

19
String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59 No. 2, "Razumovsky": IV. Finale - Presto
00:05:42

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

20
String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59 No. 3, "Razumovsky": I. Introduzione (Andante con moto - Allegro vivace)
00:11:15

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

21
String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59 No. 3, "Razumovsky": II. Andante con moto quasi allegretto
00:09:26

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

22
String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59 No. 3, "Razumovsky": III. Minuet. Grazioso - Trio
00:05:16

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

23
String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59 No. 3, "Razumovsky": IV. Allegro molto
00:05:48

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

24
String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: I. Adagio ma non troppo - Allegro
00:13:32

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

25
String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: II. Presto
00:01:53

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

26
String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: III. Andante con moto, ma non troppo
00:07:02

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

27
String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: IV. Alla danza tedesca (Allegro assai)
00:03:12

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

28
String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: V. Cavatina (Adagio molto espressivo)
00:08:36

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

29
Grosse fuge in B-Flat Major, Op. 133
00:16:20

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

30
String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Op. 18 No. 6: I. Allegro con brio
00:06:24

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

31
String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Op. 18 No. 6: II. Adagio ma non troppo
00:08:16

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

32
String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Op. 18 No. 6: III. Scherzo (Allegro)
00:03:27

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

33
String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Op. 18 No. 6: IV. La Malinconia
00:09:16

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

34
String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127: I. Maestoso - Allegro
00:07:16

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

35
String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127: II. Adagio ma non troppo e molto cantabile
00:17:01

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

36
String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127: III. Scherzando vivace
00:08:22

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

37
String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127: IV. Finale (Allegro)
00:06:51

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

38
String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18 No. 2: I. Allegro
00:08:25

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

39
String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18 No. 2: II. Adagio cantabile - Allegro - Tempo I
00:06:46

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

40
String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18 No. 2: III. Scherzo (Allegro)
00:04:25

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

41
String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18 No. 2: IV. Allegro molto, quasi presto
00:05:06

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

42
String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op. 95, "Quartetto serioso": I. Allegro con brio
00:04:17

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

43
String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op. 95, "Quartetto serioso": II. Allegretto ma non troppo
00:07:54

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

44
String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op. 95, "Quartetto serioso": III. Allegro assai vivace, ma serioso
00:04:28

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

45
String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op. 95, "Quartetto serioso": IV. Larghetto espressivo - Allegretto agitato - Allegro
00:04:53

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

46
String Quartet No. 10 in E-Flat Major, Op. 74, "Harp": I. Poco adagio - Allegro
00:09:23

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

47
String Quartet No. 10 in E-Flat Major, Op. 74, "Harp": II. Adagio ma non troppo
00:10:16

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

48
String Quartet No. 10 in E-Flat Major, Op. 74, "Harp": III. Presto
00:05:01

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

49
String Quartet No. 10 in E-Flat Major, Op. 74, "Harp": IV. Allegretto con variazioni
00:06:53

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

50
String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18 No. 4: I. Allegro ma non tanto
00:08:09

Ludwig van Beethoven, Composer - Quatuor Ébène, String Quartet, MainArtist

© 2020 Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company ℗ 2019 Association Quatuor Ébène under exclusive licence to Parlophone Records Limited, a Warner Music Group Company

Album Description

The Quatuor Ébène timed this round-the-world Beethoven cycle to coincide with Beethoven's 250th birthday in 2020, beginning a worldwide tour and fortunately completing it before the outbreak of the pandemic in that year. The cycle was recorded in Philadelphia, Vienna, Tokyo, São Paolo, Melbourne, Nairobi, and finally Paris. CD buyers get a combination of travelogue and set of work descriptions, but it's not clear that the performances were influenced in any way by the globetrotting. This is, however, a very strong Beethoven set, with full-blooded performances perhaps unexpected from a group that made its name with French quartet music. Credit, first of all, goes to mastering engineer Fabrice Planchat, who followed the group around the world with a portable studio, recording, according to the ambiguous note, "live and in rehearsal" (there is no audience noise). The sound retains some of its original characteristics, including in an acoustically inferior Alliance Française Auditorium in Nairobi, but is stitched together into a coherent whole. The Quatuor Ébène generally offers high-intensity readings that relax at times into passages of passionate rather than delicate lyricism. In the String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131, the Allegro molto vivace of the second movement may seem to leave no room for the Presto of the fifth, but the group makes it happen. The late quartets as a whole are extremely compelling, with the group catching the odd mixture of comedy and existential dread in the String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135, and delivering a heartfelt "prayer of thanks of one who has recovered to the Godhead" in the slow movement of the String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132. An unusual feature among the late quartets is that the String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major, Op. 130, concludes with the Grosse Fuge, Op. 133, the work's original finale, rather than the finale on which Beethoven eventually settled. The early quartets get weighty readings that place them at the forefront of Beethoven's stylistic development rather than in Haydn's orbit; listen to the alternatively lovely and grim "La Malinconia" finale of the String Quartet No. 6 in B flat major, Op. 18. No. 6. Curiously, two of the three Op. 59 "Razumovsky" quartets are placed together on a single disc rather than being evenly distributed, but these too follow the pattern of fast tempos and high-energy readings. It may be that the Quatuor Ébène did not need to travel the globe to accomplish this, but the group's Beethoven cycle compels attention.
© TiVo

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