In mid-1987, the Amadeus Quartet (under the slightly differentiated name ‘Amadeus String Quartet’ to distinguish them from their Deutsche Grammophon recordings) went into the studio to begin a projected cycle of the complete Beethoven quartets. In the event, they are the last recordings ever to be made by the Quartet, for the death of Peter Schidlof resulted in the Quartet disbanding – and the end of a truly remarkable era of music-making. These ‘middle period’ quartets of Beethoven – two of his most popular – were recorded at a venue often used by Decca, the Church of St. Barnabas in London and the sound engineering is more homogenous, less first-violin centric.
1-4 String Quartet in C major, Op. 59 No. 3 ‘Razumovsky’
5-8 String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 74 ‘Harp’
Amadeus String Quartet
Recording producer: Christopher Hazell
Recording engineer: Simon Eadon
Recording location: St. Barnabas, Woodside Park, London, UK, June-July 1987
‘it goes without saying that admirers of this much-loved ensemble will not want to be without this disc … the opening of Op. 74 is beautifully played … They bring no lack of intensity to this great music which they have served so well in the concert hall over the past four decades … The Decca recording is admirably clean and present.’ Gramophone