Thirty-five years later, they are still at it, still making music, still the Amadeus Quartet. By any standard, that is a long time for a professional partnership to last. For an ensemble, it is all but unparalleled.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Works on This Recording
The members of the Alban Berg are often described in publicity material as four professors from Vienna, and if this conjures images of penetrating logic and analysis then it is not too wide of the mark. While the Amadeus is warm, rich and extrovert, inclined to boost dynamic markings a couple of notches out of what seems sheer generosity and eagerness to communicate, the Alban Berg throughout the early quartets is more disciplined, less outwardly emotional: one is trying not to say clinical. It is brisker, too, but creates longer first movements by playing exposition repeats. Its slow movements, such as that of the opening Op.
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. The Amadeus ' Op.
Heroes of the LP era, they made their first recording for DG in and recorded over works for the label over the next three decades, central among them this Beethoven cycle from the early s, now remastered and re-issued as a budget priced collector1s edition. The Amadeus had an unmistakable sound, medium in weight, refined and well-blended with one significant exception, the expressive gestures of leader Norbert Brainin, whose vibrato and portamento exceeded that of his colleagues, providing the group's most pronounced and endearing idiosyncracy. While their delicacy lent itself most readily to the early quartets, they prove most stimulating in the Razumovskys Read more they were the first to record them in stereo and are effective, understated guides to the mysteries of the late quartets. As an introduction to these musicians, or to the music itself, this is an unbeatable value. Read less.