Beethoven String Quartets - Filmed in Concert (DVD)
Recorded in Prague’s beautiful Convent of St Agnes, this is a wonderful document of a significant segment of the core quartet repertoire.
The playing order appears designed to emphasise the Wihan’s connection with the early quartets, because after the first “Razumovsky”, the open-air G Major of Op. 18 No. 2 comes as a breath of fresh air. The Adagio cantabile begins in glorious fashion and shows the Wihan at its best; similarly the cheeky Scherzo. The second DVD begins with Op. 18 No. 6 in a delightful reading. The delicacy of the slow movement is particularly noteworthy, as are the fresh dance rhythms of the third movement. The famous “La melancolia” that opens the finale is beautiful. The “extra” is a fascinating and expertly produced and directed subtitled Czech film that outlines the Wihan Quartet’s origins via recollections from the players themselves, as well as giving rehearsal footage and character portraits of each player. Some of the statements are controversial but that was probably the idea.
Colin Clarke, Musicweb-international.com