Sunday 3rd JanuaryJanuary 4, 2010
OK, so I must stop beginning posts with “OK”… Actually this will be a brief post, seeing as I have spent just about all of today toiling in front of the pages of this blog, but being a Sunday, and given that my work here today has had a Beethoven / Lindsay Quartet soundtrack to it for the last fourteen hours I thought I should write about the late Beethoven quartets again. The thing about this music is, I think that I can put it on in the background while working and have it sit there as some kind of pleasant aural colouring for the room, something that won’t distract me too much, but work in an, if you like, ambient way. For a while it works, but every so often there would be a sudden attack, a moment of drama or intensity and I would find myself pulled quickly away from what I was focussing on and having to pay attention to the music. When this happened I would often not know which movement I was listening to, having lost track when not concentrating, and would have to pick up the CD sleeve to check. If there was ever a mark of good music this might be it, that ability to grab you even when you are trying hard not to be grabbed.
The late quartets in The Lindsays’ set are just sublime, so so powerfully played. The 13th quartet (Op.130) which is one of my very favourites also has a recording of the alternate ending that Beethoven wrote included as well, which makes listening though without concentrating a slightly odd experience, but is great to have their as a historical add-on. The recording of the Grosse Fugue here is also absolutely captivating, so sad, so deeply, simplistically moving. I liked the Emerson Quartet’s recording of this piece a lot, but in the Lindsays’ hands there seems to be another level of intensity and depth there. Every last quiver of the bow against strings seems audible, you can almost feel the vibrations in the music as well as hear them. Listening again now as I type the hairs are stood up on the back of my neck. So good…
Tomorrow I return to a schedule of daily CD Reviews, as I badly need to catch up on the backlog here. Fortunately not very much new arrived over the Christmas and New Year period, but my week’s break leading up to Christmas put me behind a bit. Besides, look at how many Brian has written over the last couple of days. Has someone been feeding him fizzy drinks again? 😉