Composer: Ludwid van Beethoven
Orchestra: Quartetto Italiano
Number of Discs: 1 SACD-R
Bit Depth: 64(2.8 MHz/1 Bit)
Number of channels: 5.0, 2.0
Size: 2.96 GB
Ludwid van Beethoven:
String Quartet in E minor, Op.59 No.2
String Quartet in C, Op.59 No.3
05-Introduzione (Andante con moto) – Allegro vivace
06-Andante con moto quasi allegretto
Paolo Borciani, 1st violin (founder & leader)
Elisa Pegreffi, 2nd violin
Piero Farulli, viola (1947-1977)
Franco Rossi, cello
The Quartetto Italiano was a string quartet founded in Reggio Emilia in 1945. They made their debut in 1945 in Carpi when all 4 players were still in their early 20’s. They were originally named Nuovo Quartetto Italiano before dropping the “Nuovo” tag in 1951. They are particularly noted for their recording of the complete cycle of Beethoven string quartets, made between 1967 & 1975. The quartet disbanded in 1980.
The secretary & historian of the Quartet was Guido Alberto Borciani (Reggio Emilia, 20 October 1920 – 4 April 2008), mechanical engineer & talented pianist, Paolo’s brother & founder in 1987 of the Premio Paolo Borciani.
PENTATONE has licensed (from the Decca Music Group) the quad recordings which were made in the 70s by Philips Classics. The quadro system was not successful because of flaws in the playback equipment. However today’s SA-CD equipment is capable of reproducing these recordings the way they were originally intended. Polyhymnia has remastered these recordings for release on SACD. This series is called ‘RQR’.
The Op. 59 Quartets, the so-called “Razumovsky” Quartets for their dedication to Beethoven’s patron of the same name, represent a turning point not only for Beethoven’s own compositional style, but for the string quartet genre itself. Gone are the days of string quartets written for small, intimate audiences; Op. 59 finds Beethoven using the 4 string players more as a miniature symphony than simply a chamber ensemble. The independence of parts is greatly heightened, & the dialogue between them is constant. This PentaTone album features the 2nd & 3rd of these quartets performed by the Quartetto Italiano. The original cycle of the Beethoven quartets was revolutionary in its own right. This recording draws on a 1973 quad recording. For decades, recordings of this type were released only in 2ch; now, listeners with an SACD player can enjoy the original spaciousness & encompassing sound that Philips originally had in mind. The ensemble’s performance is technically crisp, musically vibrant, & enthralling from start to finish. This is a very score-oriented reading, without the sometimes present over-interpretation, unnecessary emotional add-ons, or senseless rubato. Quartetto Italiano masterfully plays what’s on the page; the overall tone is somewhat bright, & some listeners may wish that PentaTone had toned that down a bit in its remastering. Otherwise, this album is sure to find a place of distinction in any audiophile’s collection.