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Quartets - Released March 17, 2017 | audite Musikproduktion

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Chamber Music - Released July 18, 2014 | audite Musikproduktion

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions 5 de Diapason
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Classical - Released January 1, 2010 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released November 22, 2013 | audite Musikproduktion

Distinctions 5 de Diapason

Classical - Released January 6, 2017 | Audite

Booklet Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Quartets - Released May 28, 2018 | Les Indispensables de Diapason

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released January 1, 2005 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography

Classical - Released August 6, 2013 | Audite

Distinctions Diapason d'or
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Classical - Released October 26, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 1999 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

While not the first complete recorded cycle of the Beethoven String Quartets, the Amadeus Quartet's late-'50s early-'60s set of the complete Beethoven quartets may be the first great recorded cycle. The Amadeus Quartet was a part-Austrian, part-English ensemble that fused elegance and intelligence and expressivity with virtuosity to create a style of quartet playing wholly suited to the Viennese classics from Mozart through Brahms but which fit Beethoven like a hand-tailored suit. While other ensembles had recorded the Beethoven quartets before the Amadeus, none of those performances had the clarity and lucidity the Amadeus brought to them. Forty years later, the Amadeus' Op. 18 Quartets are still among the best ever recorded: graceful and gracious, witty and intelligent, polished and expressive, the Amadeus' performances embody all that is best in the "early" quartets. The Amadeus' Op. 59 is nearly as great: its complete control of tempo and texture clarifies the thematic and harmonic structures of the quartets and only in the most strenuous passages and deepest movements does the Amadeus seem ever so slightly out of its depths. Similarly, its Op. 74 is one of the most beautiful and expressive ever recorded, but it cannot quite express the unfettered fury of the Quartet Op. 95. Only in the "late" quartets does the Amadeus sound not entirely up to the challenge of Beethoven's music. While it plays it all superbly, there are times when it seems unable to get beneath the surface of the music to the spiritual depths below and one is left with the impression of great things left unsaid. For all the clarity and lucidity of the Amadeus' performance, there is a sense that it cannot quite face the ultimate profundities of late Beethoven.
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Classical - Released October 26, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 2003 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 1996 | Deutsche Grammophon Classics

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Classical - Released January 1, 2004 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 1995 | Deutsche Grammophon Classics

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Classical - Released October 26, 2018 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 1988 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

In the stereo era, before digital, there were two great sets of recordings of Mozart's string quartets: the Quartetto Italiano's for Philips and the Amadeus Quartet's for Deutsche Grammophon. The Italian quartet's performances were rich and ripe, lush and lovely, sweet and sensual; the Austrian-English quartet's performances, reissued here in 2010, are sensitive but intense, controlled but soulful, intimate but objective. Where the Quartetto Italiano saw Mozart's music from one point of view, the Amadeus Quartet took a more nuanced view, showing more sides of the composer, and arguably more depth. Technically, the Amadeus' players are just as fine as the Italiano's but naturally quite different; their tone is more pungent, their balances less blended, and their rhythms more buoyant than their counterparts. The Amadeus set has two distinct advantages over the Italians, however: that set includes the three Divertimentos K. 136-138, and fits on six discs, while the Italiano's is on eight. Sonically, it's a toss-up; Philips gives the Italiano quartet its trademark opulent stereo sound, while DG gives the Amadeus players their trademark crystalline stereo sound.
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Classical - Released January 1, 1982 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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Classical - Released January 1, 1995 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)