Vertavo Quartet: Beethoven - String Quartet No.13, Grosse Fuge

The all-female Norwegian Vertavo Quartet aren't daunted by Beethoven’s enigmatic late quartets in this engaging recording

Composer: Beethoven
Repertoire: String Quartet No.13; Grosse Fuge in B flat 
Artists: Vertavo Quartet
Rating:  4/5
Genre: Chamber
Label: SIMAX PSC 1265

Beethoven’s late quartets are among the composer’s most enigmatic, profound and personal masterpieces. The six movements of No.13 encompass a journey through myriad philosophies: introversion, folksy charm and a questing quality that seems to hint at the fragility of life itself. The Grosse Fuge was its original Finale, but conceived on such a grand scale that it usually stands alone. The all-female Norwegian Vertavo Quartet presents this towering music with eloquent ensemble work, making the most of the conversational equality of the voicing, though the Grosse Fuge would benefit from extra elemental energy.