Beethoven: Complete String Quartets

Beethoven: Complete String Quartets
Composer Ludwig van Beethoven
Artist Suske Quartet
Karl Suske violin I
Klaus Peters violin II
Karl-Heinz Dommus viola
Matthias Pfaender cello
Format 7 CD
Cat. number 94672
EAN code 5028421946726
Release May 2013

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About this release

The genius of Beethoven is probably not most commonly associated with chamber music. Indeed, for considerable stretches of his career he avoided the string quartet, a musical form with such an exalted status at the time; he mostly took on the challenge towards the ends of what are often regarded as his two ‘creative periods’. When he did, however, he was at the pinnacle of his chamber music abilities.

The pieces in this collection can be grouped according to three distinct periods of Beethoven’s life. The first set are to some extent indebted to Haydn and Mozart – as the melancholic Op.18 No.6 shows in particular – but equally show Beethoven starting to forge a new path of his own. The (at the time) somewhat misunderstood middle set stretch the quartet form to near-symphonic length, and add a level of virtuosity worthy of the concert hall rather than the traditionally private sphere of chamber music. Finally, the last set transcend the composer’s previous quartets both in form and harmony to reach a level of technical abstraction that was not recognised for its brilliance until after the composer’s life – a quality audible especially in the quartet in B flat major, which Beethoven’s biographer referred to as a ‘monster of quartet music’.

The pieces are performed by the Suske Quartett, a German quartet whose popularity was at its height in the 1970s, and for whom recording Beethoven was a staple of their musical life: the recording career of the group’s original line-up both began and ended with Beethoven pieces.

Other information:
- The complete Beethoven String Quartets, featuring one of the elite ensembles of former East Germany: Primarius Karl Suske was concert master of the Berliner Staatskapelle, Gewandhausorchester Leipzig and the Bayreuth Festival Orchestra, and his string quartet represents the best German tradition of Beethoven understanding and interpretation.
- Recorded in the 70’s, and having lost nothing of its grandeur and patina. The recording is of excellent quality, the golden standard of the Eterna recordings.
- Booklet contains notes on the music and a biography of the Suske Quartett.

Track list

Disk 1

  1. String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18: I. Allegro con brio
  2. String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18: II. Adagio affettuoso ed appassionato
  3. String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18: III. Scherzo: Allegro molto – Trio
  4. String Quartet No. 1 in F Major, Op. 18: IV. Allegro
  5. String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18: I. Allegro
  6. String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18: II. Adagio cantabile – Allegro – Tempo I
  7. String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18: III. Scherzo: Allegro – Trio
  8. String Quartet No. 2 in G Major, Op. 18: IV. Allegro molto, quasi presto
  9. String Quartet No. 3 in D Major, Op. 18: I. Allegro
  10. String Quartet No. 3 in D Major, Op. 18: II. Andante con moto
  11. String Quartet No. 3 in D Major, Op. 18: III. Allegro
  12. String Quartet No. 3 in D Major, Op. 18: IV. Presto

Disk 2

  1. String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18: I. Allegro ma non tanto
  2. String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18: II. Scherzo: Andante scherzo, quasi allegretto
  3. String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18: III. Menuetto: Allegretto – Trio
  4. String Quartet No. 4 in C Minor, Op. 18: IV. Allegro
  5. String Quartet No. 5 in A Major, Op. 18: I. Allegro
  6. String Quartet No. 5 in A Major, Op. 18: II. Menuetto – Trio
  7. String Quartet No. 5 in A Major, Op. 18: III. Andante cantabile
  8. String Quartet No. 5 in A Major, Op. 18: IV. Allegro
  9. String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Op. 18: I. Allegro con brio
  10. String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Op. 18: II. Adagio ma non troppo
  11. String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Op. 18: III. Scherzo: Allegro – Trio
  12. String Quartet No. 6 in B-Flat Major, Op. 18: IV. Adagio (La Malinconia) – Allegretto, quasi allegro
  13. Minuet in A-Flat Major, Hess 33

Disk 3

  1. String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, Op. 59 No. 1 ‘Rasumovsky’: I. Allegro
  2. String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, Op. 59 No. 1 ‘Rasumovsky’: II. Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando
  3. String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, Op. 59 No. 1 ‘Rasumovsky’: III. Adagio molto e mesto
  4. String Quartet No. 7 in F Major, Op. 59 No. 1 ‘Rasumovsky’: IV. Allegro (Thème russe)
  5. String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59 No. 2 ‘Rasumovsky’: I. Allegro
  6. String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59 No. 2 ‘Rasumovsky’: II. Molto adagio
  7. String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59 No. 2 ‘Rasumovsky’: III. Allegretto
  8. String Quartet No. 8 in E Minor, Op. 59 No. 2 ‘Rasumovsky’: IV. Finale: Presto

Disk 4

  1. String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59 No. 3 ‘Rasumovsky’: I. Introduzione: Andante con moto – Allegro vivace
  2. String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59 No. 3 ‘Rasumovsky’: II. Andante con moto, quasi allegretto
  3. String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59 No. 3 ‘Rasumovsky’: III. Menuetto: Grazioso – Trio
  4. String Quartet No. 9 in C Major, Op. 59 No. 3 ‘Rasumovsky’: IV. Allegro molto
  5. String Quartet No. 10 in E-Flat Major, Op. 74 ‘Harp’: I. Poco adagio – Allegro
  6. String Quartet No. 10 in E-Flat Major, Op. 74 ‘Harp’: II. Adagio ma non troppo
  7. String Quartet No. 10 in E-Flat Major, Op. 74 ‘Harp’: III. Presto
  8. String Quartet No. 10 in E-Flat Major, Op. 74 ‘Harp’: IV. Allegretto con variazioni

Disk 5

  1. String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op. 95 ‘Quartetto serioso’: I. Allegro con brio
  2. String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op. 95 ‘Quartetto serioso’: II. Allegretto ma non troppo
  3. String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op. 95 ‘Quartetto serioso’: III. Allegro assai vivace, ma serioso
  4. String Quartet No. 11 in F Minor, Op. 95 ‘Quartetto serioso’: IV. Larghetto espressivo – Allegretto agitato – Allegro
  5. String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: I. Adagio ma non troppo – Allegro
  6. String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: II. Presto
  7. String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: III. Andante con moto, ma non troppo
  8. String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: IV. Alla danza tedesca: Allegro assai
  9. String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: V. Cavatina: Adagio molto espressivo
  10. String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130: VI. Finale: Allegro
  11. Große Fuge in B-Flat Major, Op. 133

Disk 6

  1. String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127: I. Maestoso – Allegro
  2. String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127: II. Adagio ma non troppo e molto cantabile
  3. String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127: III. Scherzando vivace
  4. String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127: IV. Finale
  5. String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: I. Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo
  6. String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: II. Allegro molto vivace
  7. String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: III. Allegro molto moderato – Adagio – Più vivace
  8. String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: IV. Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile
  9. String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: V. Presto
  10. String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: VI. Adagio quasi un poco andante
  11. String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131: VII. Allegro

Disk 7

  1. String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132: I. Assai sostenuto – Allegro
  2. String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132: II. Allegro ma non troppo
  3. String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132: III. Molto adagio: Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genesenen an die Gottheit in der lydischen Tonart
  4. String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132: IV. Alla marcia, assai vivace
  5. String Quartet No. 15 in A Minor, Op. 132: V. Finale: Allegro appassionato
  6. String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135: I. Allegretto
  7. String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135: II. Vivace
  8. String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135: III. Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo
  9. String Quartet No. 16 in F Major, Op. 135: IV. Grave ma non troppo tratto – Allegro