℗ 1997 Deutsche Grammophon, Berlin
 

Beethoven: Late Quartets

LaSalle Quartet

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String Quartet No. 12 in E-Flat Major, Op. 127  
1.1
1. Maestoso - Allegro
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
6:16
1.2
2. Adagio ma non troppo e molto cantabile
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
14:42
1.3
3. Scherzando vivace
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
8:24
1.4
4. Finale
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
6:45
String Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major, Op. 130  
1.5
1. Adagio ma non troppo - Allegro
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
9:57
1.6
2. Presto
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
2:05
1.7
3. Andante con moto ma non troppo. Poco scherzando
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
6:48
1.8
4. Alla danza tedesca (Allegro assai)
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
3:27
1.9
5. Cavatina ( Adagio molto espressivo)
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
7:22
1.10
Grande Fugue, Op.133 (Original finale)
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
16:04
1.11
6. Finale (Allegro)
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
9:29
String Quartet No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, Op. 131  
1.12
1. Adagio ma non troppo e molto espressivo
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
6:54
1.13
2. Allegro molto vivace
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
2:59
1.14
3. Allegro moderato
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
0:46
1.15
4. Andante ma non troppo e molto cantabile - Più mosso - Andante moderato e lusinghiero - Adagio - Allegretto - Adagio, ma non troppo e semplice - Allegretto
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
13:32
1.16
5. Presto
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
6:04
1.17
6. Adagio quasi un poco andante
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
1:56
1.18
7. Allegro
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
6:39
String Quartet No.15 In A Minor, Op.132  
1.19
1. Assai sostenuto - Allegro
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
9:08
1.20
2. Allegro ma non tanto
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
8:45
1.21
3. Canzona di ringraziamento offerta alla divinità da un guarito, in modo lidico (Molto adagio) - Sentendo nuova forza (Andante)
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
14:57
1.22
4. Alla marcia, assai vivace - Più allegro - Presto
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
2:05
1.23
5. Allegro appassionato
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
6:20
String Quartet No.16 In F Major, Op. 135  
1.24
1. Allegretto
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
6:35
1.25
2. Vivace
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
3:30
1.26
3. Lento assai, cantante e tranquillo
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
7:24
1.27
4. Der schwer gefaßte Entschluß (Grave - Allegro - Grave ma non troppo tratto - Allegro)
Ludwig van Beethoven; LaSalle Quartet
7:00
Total Playing Time    3:15:53
"The long-disbanded LaSalle Quartet are nowadays celebrated primarily for their compelling recorded interpretations of twentieth-century music and these performances are notably attentive to the forward-looking elements in ‘late’ Beethoven, the minute gradations in dynamics (often within a single bar), the daring gestures (particularly in the Grosse Fuge) and the barely repressed Angst that tears at the outer movements of Op. 132. Above all, the LaSalle refuse to pussyfoot around the music; theirs is an urgent, life-affirming approach which is beautifully exemplified in Op. 132’s Heiliger Dankgesang slow movement and the shift from a prayer-like Molto adagio to the ecstatic release of a deliriously trilling Andante (at 3'04'' into track 3 on the third disc). Here as elsewhere, shifts from forte to piano and back again are faithfully realized and mobility is the keyword (the LaSalle’s reading lasts 14'57'' in comparison with Quartetto Italiano’s 19'33''). The E flat Quartet opens to forceful, hefty chords and the second movement’s heart-stopping transition to Adagio molto (at around 7'11'' into track 1 on the first disc) could hardly be more espressivo. The Scherzo’s Trio stamps and rails (at 4'53'' on track 3) and the finale – with its pertinent allusions to the Choral Symphony’s finale – emerges as rudely rumbustious. In Op. 131’s long central movement, the LaSalle bring the utmost poise to the Allegretto passage at bar 162 (from 7'02'' into track 8 on the first disc), marking the subsequent Adagio ma non troppo e semplice with gentle emphases so that the disruptive cello semiquavers thereafter tell with maximum impact. Perhaps the second movement could have crept in a little more gracefully (the Amadeus are quite magical at this point) but elsewhere abrupt contrasts work to the music’s advantage, especially in Op. 130’s first movement (second disc, track 1) where, at 5'04'' and 9'09'', quixotic shifts between fast (extrovert) and slow (ethereal) music are startlingly effective. Like the Juilliard and Emerson Quartets, the LaSalle boldly protest the Grosse Fuge as Op. 130’s rightful finale (could it justifiably be otherwise?), relegating the more lightweight ‘replacement’ to fill-up status at the end of the disc (it was actually recorded four years later). The Quartet receives a superb performance, charming in the false security of the Presto and Alla danza tedesca, fiercely confrontational in the Grosse Fuge and with a strongly etched first movement (no repeat, unfortunately). Op. 135’s opening Allegretto is pensive but precise, its Scherzo unhurried yet inherently hectic (the central rumpus really kicks up the sand). The sublime Lento assai opens with some of the quietest playing on the set; indeed, my only real criticism of these discs is that the clear but occasionally overmodulated recordings do sometimes stint on pianos and pianissimos. They were made in the Beethovensaal, Hanover, between 1972 and 1977 and witnessed a change of cellist (Lee Fiser replacing Jack Kirstein), although all six performances bear the hallmarks of a superb quartet totally at one with some of the repertoire’s greatest music. I treasure it alongside such feted ‘late’ Beethoven classics as the Busch, Italian, Amadeus and Vegh Quartets and trust that in the future – as in the past – I shall return to it often." - Gramophone
96 kHz / 24-bit PCM – Deutsche Grammophon (DG) Studio Masters

Tracks 1-27 – contains high-resolution digital transfers of material originating from an analogue master source

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