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June 4, 2011 12:46 am

Beethoven: String Quartets Nos 3, 5, 16

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Beethoven

 

String Quartets Nos 3, 5, 16

Artemis Quartet

(Virgin Classics)

 

 

The Artemis’s Beethoven cycle has sometimes pushed the music to extremes, but these well-considered readings of two early Opus 18 works respect the composer’s debt to Mozart and Haydn without ironing out Beethovenian temperament. It’s in the Opus 135 quartet, his last, that the Artemis are most in tune with the composer’s questing, undying spirit, in a performance free of mawkish reverence.

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