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Beethoven’s lifelong occupation and pioneering work with the string quartet can be divided up into three creative phases. Beginning with the youthful, fresh Quartets op. 18 which soon became highly popular with the public shortly after their composition, then on to the compact and intensive sounding Quartets op. 59, Beethoven continued to develop his style right up to his late period between 1822 and 1826. The opinions of his contemporaries of his late works range from extremely moving and haunting to Chinese and show that the rhapsodic style was considered alien and wilful, and the structure of the various movements a cause for bafflement.
In the Quartet in A minor, most attention is focused on the slow movement, which Beethoven headed with the words "Heiliger Dankgesang" ("Holy song of thanksgiving"). The movement with its hymnal melody is fully in the tradition of a protestant chorale, but this sacred grandeur is twice contrasted with optimistic, dance-like sections, "Neue Kraft fühlend" ("feeling new strength").
In the meantime, the world-famous LaSalle Quartet has gone down in history; their superb sound, fine intonation and unerring understanding of the highly sensitive late Beethoven is now brought to life once again on this recording.
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Musicians: LaSalle Quartet Walter Levin, violin Henry Meyer, violin Peter Kamnitzer, viola Lee Fiser, cello
Selections: Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827) String Quartet in A minor, Op. 132 Side A: 1. Assai sostenuto - Allegro 2. Allegro ma non tanto Side B: 3. Molto adagio. Heiliger Dankgesang eines Genescenen an die Gottheit, in der lydischen Tonart (Canzona di ringraziamento offerta alla divinita da un guarito, in modo lidico) - Andante, Neue Kraft fuhlend (Sentendo nuova forza) - Molo Adagio. Mit innigster Empfindung (Con intimissimo sentimento) 4. Alla marcia, assai vivace - Piu allegro - attacca 5. Allegro appassionato - Presto
Recording: December 1975 at Beethoven-Saal, Hannover (Germany), by Klaus Scheibe