After the first volume released in October 2012, this second volume completes the cycle of Beethoven Quartets given simultaneously by the Belcea Quartet in concert and on disc. Recorded live, like its predecessor, in the superb concert hall conceived by Britten at Aldeburgh, this volume couples quartets from different periods, including the last two (opp.132 and 135) and the Grosse Fuge (op.133).
Here is how the Belcea Quartet describes this great cycle: ‘These sixteen quartets written some two hundred years form one of the most complete and powerful musical statements ever made. The completeness lies in their unprecedented intensity and in the astonishing development that can be traced between the early and the late works – a thirty-year-long revolution which altered forever the way we experience music. There is no end to exploration of Beethoven’s riches and yet what is most compelling is that his music speaks so directly to us as human beings. What seems to be the predominant impulse driving this music is man’s yearning for freedom, the unquenchable desire to expand his limits and to learn the truth about himself in this process.’