Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


CD REVIEW

Some items
to consider


New App by the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra for iOS and Android!

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

alternatively
Crotchet AmazonUK AmazonUS

 

Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770-1827)
Late String Quartets
and Op.95
CD 1
String Quartet No. 12 in E flat major, Op. 127 (1824-25) [37:51]
String Quartet No. 14 in C sharp minor, Op. 131 (1826) [40:58]
CD 2
String Quartet No. 11 in F minor Op.95 Serioso (1810) [19:00]
String Quartet No. 13 in B flat major, Op. 130 (1825-26) [34:57]
Grosse Fuge in B flat major, Op. 133 (1825-26) arranged Felix Weingartner [16:47]*
CD 3
String Quartet No. 15 in A minor, Op. 132 (1825) [45:00]
String Quartet No. 16 in F major, Op. 135 (1826) [27:59]
Busch String Quartet
Busch Chamber Players/Adolf Busch*
rec. Abbey Road, London 1932-37 and Liederkranz Hall, New York 1941 (Grosse Fuge and Op.130)
EMI CLASSICS GREAT RECORDINGS OF THE CENTURY 5096552 [3 CDs: 78:59 + 70:44 + 73:07]

 

Experience Classicsonline


I’m happy to say – though surprised to find myself writing it given my unhappy experience with previous releases in the series – that this GROC restoration of the Late Quartets is by and large very acceptable indeed.

The protagonists are the Busch, more than which one needs to add little, except to note – in a hushed, hesitant, rather recusant sort of way - that not everything written about this august body of recordings stands up to scrutiny. And admiration, even devotion, to the spiritual elevation of the Busch way does not invalidate admiration of other quartets of the time. I appreciate that, for example, the Léner Quartet’s way is now seen as a rather vibrato-laden, unintellectual, perhaps generic approach to the cycle of quartets; in some ways the antipode of the Busch. But these things are not binary and the Léner recordings still hold a kind of dominion over my affections whenever I need their powerfully expressive tonal breadth. The one does not invalidate the other.

That said the Abbey Road recordings were always boxy and they didn’t especially flatter the Busch’s timbre, corporate or individual. The American-recorded sides – Op.130 and the Grosse Fuge, in Weingartner’s arrangement and played by the Busch Chamber Players – are adequate but the restoration is certainly no improvement over a previous LP transfer on CBS from way back.

The performances are imbued with the greatest sense of elevation and are amongst the most famous on record. There are only a few points where I feel – and have always felt – that Adolf Busch’s veneration carries him to excess. One is certainly the Molto adagio of Op.132, a locus classicus of Busch’s long bow – exceeded by Zimbalist certainly but still a special weapon in Busch’s violinistic armoury. But not only does the Busch take nearly twenty minutes over it, but also its heavenly length comes at a cost of forward momentum and the retardation is, to me, precisely what the music doesn’t need. The quartet had a tendency to do this; their New York recording of the slow movement of Op.59 No.2 tended to exemplify the same failing. Their fast tempi in outer movements, animated by crisp rhythmic drive, is splendidly conceived however; only occasionally do they render too much latitude as in Op.132.

The other aspect worth noting in passing is the fallible nature of the Chamber orchestra recording, which is hardly the last word in scrupulous attention to detail. In places it’s downright sloppy.

There are now a large number of choices available for these recording. Dutton is issuing the Busch recordings disc by disc – slightly treble dampened but smooth; for example the recent release of Op.131 coupled with Op.59. No3 [Dutton CDBP 9773]. Preiser has issued a two-disc set of Op. 52 No.3 and Opp. 59 No.3, 95, 131 and 132 [90172] (unheard by me). EMI of course, has been active in a previous Andrew Walter incarnation from 1994 – though these didn’t include the American recordings [CHS5 65308-2]. Pearl’s noisier set included Op.95 and the late quartets on three well-filled discs [GEMS 0053].

If you’ve never heard these recordings and can sort out the problems inherent in the Busch Beethoven discography – there are a number of works that have not been collated in one box for various reasons – then I would recommend this three-disc set, unless you want to be selective and dip into the Duttons.

Jonathan Woolf

see also Review by Michael Cookson


 


Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools




Return to Review Index

Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.