Cuarteto Casals Celebrates Twenty Years with a New Beethoven Cycle
For its 20th anniversary, the internationally-celebrated Cuarteto Casals launches a large-scale Beethoven cycle, both in the studio and the concert hall, including performances in London, Barcelona, Vienna, Paris, Amsterdam, Tokyo and Madrid, as well as the German cities of Hamburg, Bonn and Berlin.
The centerpiece of the concerts and recordings for harmonia mundi is the 16 Beethoven quartets. “Playing the complete Beethoven quartets is the greatest challenge for any string quartet. Essentially, we have prepared for this for 20 years and are very excited to finally be able to play the cycle in its entirety. It is a journey through all facets of human experience: from the most comical, absurd scenes to the most profound and intimate movements in Western music. It is a kind of miracle that Beethoven’s music is at once extraordinarily personal and universal at the same time ... always greater than any one individual.”
In its explicit bid to “newly illuminate” Beethoven's quartet works, the Cuarteto Casals has chosen a characteristically innovative structural arrangement for its studio recordings. The works will not be presented in the typical grouping of early, middle and late periods: rather they will be arranged according to each quartet’s place within Beethoven’s musical development. In each of these three periods, there are works of the “beginning”, i.e. of first inspiration and exploration (“Inventions”), followed by works of the “centre”, i.e. works with in which the full potential of Beethoven’s language is fully realised (“Revelations”), and finally works of “transfiguration”: a conclusion or closing, yet with an intimation of possibilities to come (“Apotheosis”). The first of the three box-sets, “Inventions” (with op. 18,1; op. 18,3; op. 18,4; op. 59,1; op. 127; op. 135), is scheduled to appear on harmonia mundi in June/July 2018, and the remaining two sets will be issued in 2019 and 2020 respectively.