WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players – Beethoven: String Quintets Op. 29 and 104, Fugue Op. 137 (2020) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

(Last Updated On: August 5, 2022)

WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players – Beethoven: String Quintets Op. 29 and 104, Fugue Op. 137 (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 01:06:12 minutes | 650 MB | Genre: Classical
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Alpha Classics

With this recording of chamber music composed by Beethoven at three key moments in his life, Alpha begins a collaboration with the WDR of Cologne and its various ensembles. Here a group of chamber musicians from the symphony orchestra presents the string quintets op.29 (1801) and op.104 (1817), thus linking Beethoven’s exuberant early period with that of the worry, discouragement and anguish caused by the conflict over custody of his nephew Karl. The disc comes to a majestic conclusion with the Fugue, op.137 (1817).

Eclipsed by the reputation and grandeur of his sublime quartets, Beethoven’s two string quintets that are presented here are largely overlooked. Although the Opus 29 was a piece originally composed for the formation made famous by Mozart, Opus 104, with its two violins, two violas and cello was in fact a transcription of a transcription. Its story is in fact rather interesting: an amateur musician by the name of Kaufmann had sent a transcription to Beethoven for a string quintet of his Piano trio in C minor, Op. 1 n°3, the harmonic qualities of which were still bewildering the public. But the transcription, which Beethoven deemed clumsy, prompted him to try and write one one himself, accompanied by an ironic and somewhat acerbic dedication at the expense of the unfortunate musician.

Composed after the great cycle of the Six Quartets, Op. 18, the Quintet in C major, Op. 29 exploits the rich tone of the five instruments, more than the thematic or contrapuntal writing. Indeed, it’s this acoustic expansion and richness of contrast that seduces the listener here. The very brief Fugue, Op. 137 (only just 2 minutes) composed in 1817 comes from a point in time when Beethoven was experimenting with the old format of the fugue looking to find a poetic and expressive element from it. It’s a work born out of circumstance composed for a Viennese editor who was planning the first complete edition of his works.
The WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players all originated from the famous German orchestra. Their first album, dedicated to the two Quintets by Brahms, was lauded by specialist publications worldwide, success which was magnified by a tour of the main concert halls of China. This beautiful contribution to the Year of Beethoven will certainly not fly under the radar. – François Hudry

Tracklist:
01. WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players – String Quintet in C Major, Op. 29: I. Allegro moderato (10:41)
02. WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players – String Quintet in C Major, Op. 29: II. Adagio molto espressivo (09:07)
03. WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players – String Quintet in C Major, Op. 29: III. Scherzo (Allegro) (04:12)
04. WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players – String Quintet in C Major, Op. 29: IV. Presto (09:00)
05. WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players – String Quintet in C Minor, Op. 104: I. Allegro con brio (10:19)
06. WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players – String Quintet in C Minor, Op. 104: II. Andante cantabile con variazioni (08:34)
07. WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players – String Quintet in C Minor, Op. 104: III. Menuetto (Quasi allegro) (03:52)
08. WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players – String Quintet in C Minor, Op. 104: IV. Finale (Prestissimo) (08:34)
09. WDR Symphony Orchestra Cologne Chamber Players – Fugue in D Major, Op. 137 (01:49)

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