Quatuor Mosaïques' disc of Beethoven's Late Quartets is a 'treasure'

13 November 2017

Beethoven: The Late Quartets. Naïve V5445 (3 CDs)

To coincide with their 30th Anniversary, Quatuor Mosaïques have released a disc of the complete Beethoven’s Late Quartets for Naïve Records. The recording has been described as a ‘treasure’ and the quartet have been praised for their ‘exemplary clarity’.

'The Mosaïques inflect the music with myriad deft touches that reveal this miraculous score as a new way forward ... one of the most revelatory and thought-provoking sets of these timeless classics in decades.' Julian Haylock, The Strad February 2018 - 'The Strad Recommends'

'The wait was worthwhile: Their playing is so natural and communicative that fans will find gold in every measure […] Quatuor Mosaïques’ Beethoven is different from performances on modern instruments in its ease. The sound comes so responsively off their gut strings that they can spin the composer’s long lyric lines effortlessly as if singing to silent words (such as in the Heiliger Dankgesang movement of Op. 132), be assertive and gruff when required without making noise (the sul ponticello stretch in the Presto of Op. 131), and handle tricky technical stuff with graceful fantasy (the Presto of Op. 130) […] The jewels of the set are glorious performances of 127, 132, and 135. […] this is a treasure. Do not let it go.'
Laurence Vittes, Early Music America

'the opening fugue of the C sharp minor Op 131 is laid out with exemplary clarity. […] Even though vibrato is strictly rationed, there’s no lack of expressive warmth – evident from the opening moments of the E flat major quartet, Op 127, or the Heiliger Dankgesang movement of Op 132.'
Andrew Clements, The Guardian****

As far as I'm aware this is the first and only recording of these works on 'period' instruments - using gut strings and early nineteenth-century bows, whilst employing a more limited use of vibrato than one generally hears. But there is no lack of warmth to the sound, and the transparent textures reveal plenty of details - both melodic and harmonic - which provide a freshness which is at times quite revelatory. Chris O'Reilly, Presto Classical

Click here to read more about Beethoven: The Late Quartets at The Strad.

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