"In those concluding installments of their complete Beethoven cycle, the Auryn Quartet, who take their name from the amulet that grants intuition in Michael Ende′s fantasy, The Neverending Story, have put forth a breathtakingly new and illuminating proposition. Instead of presenting the music as late Beethoven, riddled with awkward enharmonic changes and thorny technical obstacles, they play them as mainstream classical music of great confidence and power. In so doing, they have rethought numerous commonly accepted interpretive solutions. A few examples will have to suffice. The way the Auryn embrace the composer′s idiosyncratic use of clockwork elements, like the triplets in bar 48 of the first movement of Op. 132, transforms notions of whet drives the Beethoven machine. And the overwhelming positive attitude with which they play the Meno mosso e moderato in the Grosse Fuge proves that a quartet can master this superhuman movement. There are also deaply profound individual touches, as when Matthias Lingenfelder′s tone breaks before the "Beklemmt" section of the Cavatina in Op. 130. Beyond these moments of epiphany, the Auryns possess a sense of latent power that creates a superb kind of musical tension, a rare ability to phrase with a kind of radiant Italianate grace and in hypnotic big pictures arches, and to do so as with one voice. Unlike the Takáks, whose late quartets set has just been released on Decca, there is no sense that this is a first violinist and "the others", or that the music is a series of (occasionally dysfunctional) fragments, however brillantly or inimitably played. At times, the Auryn performances seem so close to what one sees unfolding on the printed score that it is possible to believe you are hearing directly what Beethoven had in mind. Perhaps only the Busch Quartet had this kind of liberating vision. Working in the Cologne studio of DeutschlandRadio with two Neumann M49 microphones, Andreas Spreer has captured the Auryn in what sounds like one of those science fiction continuums where space stretches to fit time, the sound rich and detailed without being analytical, the lower strings of the viola and cello having a wonderful grainy quality to them. There is no shortage of great and famous Beethoven Cycles, but there are no performances such as these. For me, this is now the set to beat."
Laurence Vittes

<< retourner