Better no performance at all than one that got all the tempi wrong. This seems not to have been at all what Beethoven had in mind- as a pianist, he was very much a rubato player, and his tempi could vary quite a bit within a movement. What it does tell you is the neighbourhood of the speed. Metronome markings also clarify the relationship between the tempi of different movements.
At least they get discussed. Beethoven also wrote metronome markings for all the quartets through opus In all my years as a student, I never had a teacher call our attention to, discuss or, god forbid, achieve a single one of the metronomes in the Beethoven quartets.
I feel like I wasted a great deal of time with those pieces. Do we have to resort to instinct and taste? In the end, I decided to look for examples in other works of Beethoven of movements with similar Italian tempo markings, meters and rhythmic units.
Only one- the Finale of his first String Quartet, opus 18 no. All the others I can think of are marked in half notes and they all, like the Finale of opus 3, go up to sixteenth notes. Below are my findings. Yes, most movements would likely end up faster than we played them last spring extrapolating from this list, but the 2nd Menuet will end up slower, which I think will be cool. See opus 18 no.
Amadeus Quartet. The Amadeus Quartet was one of the dominating quartet in the second half of the 20th century, enjoying a very long career with the same artists; looking back, they definitely were regarded being one of the standards if not even the standard for some people , at the time of this recording.
Yet — I now was disappointed by their performance. Some of this may be due to the recording circumstances. What strikes me is their often harsh, rough tone. I know and remember that their interpretation is pretty much dominated by the first violin. On the bright er side, the interpretation is very uniform throughout the quartet with the exception of the fact that the first violin dominates, see above.
I personally also think that the character of this movement should be more playful, maybe joking — we are not at the Olympics here! Emerson String Quartet.
Eybler Quartet The Eybler Quartet came together in to explore the works of the first century and a half of the string quartet, with a healthy attention to lesser known composers such as their namesake, Joseph Leopold Edler von Eybler. A trio for violin, viola and cello is inevitably weighted towards the bass, and for this reason the two violins of the string quartet provided a perfect counterpoise as well as offering possibilities of antiphony. I see you sometimes add tempo changes to titles, and sometimes not. Poco vivace. Choir of Warriors "Wir haben ihn gesehen". Andante con moto.
Judging from this particular recording — but also confirmed from other CDs — I can simply say: buying this set of CDs was a mistake, no less than that. I can summarize my findings as follows:. I think that pretty much says it all for this interpretation of op.
Guarneri String Quartet. This is another big quartet of the second half of the last century — pretty much different from the Amadeus Quartet, though. The beginning of the movement in this interpretation is too fragmented, short-breathed, lacking the big structures, and the fast passages lack articulation.
Another big name in the second half of the last century! OK, for current standards considering historically informed playing , their vibrato is fairly strong and almost omnipresent — but their playing controlled, virtuoso, with excellent synchronization. Clearly, the best interpretation so far, showing the big structures of the movement, yet alert and clear in the detail. One could maybe argue that for a final movement by Beethoven this is sometimes a little too pleasant. But otherwise: well done!
Endellion String Quartet. The Endellion Quartet may be well known in the U. In any case, the main motivation to look into this recording is in the chance to listen to the fragments, early versions and the quintets that are otherwise hard to find. More on this below. Without having listened to the complete set yet, I think that the differences will be rather small for the average listener, even when using a score reconstructed, so far unpublished early versions and fragments are another story, of course. In terms of concrete comments, let me start with a really positive aspect of this recording: the reconstructed first version of op.
In going from the first version to the final one, it is most amazing to see what Beethoven leaves out from the initial version: there is a lot of streamlining, clarification, also simplification — with a result that is much more concise, compelling, convincing, striking! This is a rare chance to gain such insights — though I suspect that after the listener has made that experience once, one will not return to the first version very often….
The virtuosic first violin part in the Trio is often rushed, if not superficial. Melos Quartett Stuttgart. This is from their second recording of the early quartets op.
My main criticism now is the strong and fast vibrato, especially with the first violin that also tends to dominate somewhat. I like their percussive sforzati , their alertness.
Some passages are almost whispered in the accompaniment but the melody voice always remains passionate affection, seeking a response? The fast passages for the first violin in the Trio part are at the limit, technically but not beyond.
Some minor tempo inconsistencies could be cutting artifacts. Hagen Quartett. This is Allegro con brio , not Presto! Indeed, this is passionate, often dramatic where this is needed. Artemis Quartet.