Quatuor Mosaïques: Beethoven - String Quartets Nos 2 & 3

Something special from Quatuor Mosaïques as they tackle Beethoven's early masterpieces in this wonderfully light recording.

Composer: Beethoven
Repertoire: String Quartets Nos 2 & 3
Artists: Quatuor Mosaïques
Rating: 4/5

Genre: Instrumental
Label: NaÏve E 8902

With only 51 minutes playing time there was room here for another of the Op.18 string quartets. Yet with the period-instrument group Quatuor Mosaïques in the driving seat the revelations come so thick and fast that it feels curmudgeonly to even mention it. Blessedly free of machine-gun vibrato and espressivo ladled on at the slightest provocation, Beethoven’s early masterpieces emerge as light as air, unshackled by Romantic rhetoric. Internal balancing between the instruments is meticulous, ensuring that every tiny detail emerges clearly audible and with pristine freshness. Some listeners may prefer a more physically impactful approach to Beethoven’s string quartets, but for sheer refinement these performances are a connoisseur’s delight.