Critic’s Choice

Thu Feb 13, 2020 at 12:54 pm

In looking over the “Beethoven 250” celebrations taking place across New York’s musical institutions, it would be easy to focus on the composer’s orchestral works: his piano concerti and especially his symphonies left an enormous footprint on the genre well into the twentieth century. Yet he was no less adventurous in his chamber output: if anything, smaller formats lent themselves better to experimentation, so that the ingenuity of his quartets often outran that of his symphonies. 

The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center is celebrating Beethoven’s contribution to the chamber repertoire with a complete quartet cycle performed by the superb Danish String Quartet. The (mostly) sunny Op. 18 and Op. 59 Razumovsky sets have passed, but listeners still have a chance to track Beethoven’s artistic development to the Grosse Fuge and the astonishing final quartets, where we hear a master taking on convention as an adversary.

The Danish String Quartet continues their cycle of Beethoven’s complete string quartets over three remaining concerts at Alice Tully Hall: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 5 p.m. Sunday and 7:30 p.m. February 18.

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