The sixth release in the Artemis Quartet’s complete Beethoven cycle comes as the Berlin-based ensemble devotes its international performing schedule to this cornerstone of the repertoire.
“This group finds a balance between projecting musical structure and conveying immediacy,” wrote the New York Times in March 2010. “The players cultivate unity of thought and intention but not conformity of sound and style … the Beethoven performances the Artemis offered were remarkably cogent and organic. The Quartet in E flat (Op. 127), the first of the five late works, is my favorite of the Beethoven quartets, partly because it is so blithely strange. Artemis captured that quality in an engrossing performance. For example, in the middle of the pensive slow movement the music breaks out into something reminiscent of a sentimental German beer-hall tune complete with an oompah dance riff, qualities impishly conveyed here. The seemingly breezy theme of the finale has astonishing twists embedded in its phrases and harmonies, vividly realized by Artemis”.
2010-11 continues the Artemis Quartet’s two-season run of Beethoven concerts in European and North American cities. Between 2009 and 2011, they will have played his quartets in Berlin, Cologne, Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna, London, Paris, Brussels, Rome, Milan, Florence, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, Houston and Los Angeles, at the Schubertiade festival in Austria, and elsewhere. Spring 2011 brings the completion of this Beethoven marathon, when op. 18/6 & op. 130/133 (Grosse Fuge) join the recorded quartets and Virgin Classics releases the complete cycle in a box set.