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Herald Scotland | Michael Tumelty | 9 March 2013
My goodness, here is something special. Volume 1 in a new recording of Beethoven's complete string quartets is a stunner. The group, the Quartetto di Cremona, was established in 2000 and has been around a bit, though they are new to me. Here they play the sixth of the opus 18 set, the blistering opus 95 (the Quartetto Serioso, so-named by Beethoven) and the final quartet, the opus 135. The sheer power, energy and attack from the group, on my first hearing of the disc, totally took my breath away. They have a big, bright, full-on approach, which, in the rebarbative opus 95, is completely shocking. The group sound reminds me in some ways of that of the great Quartetto Italiano, and it is no surprise that the Cremona Quartet was directly influenced by Piero Farulli, the viola player in that legendary group. This is a major series on the German Audite label, without question. Seek it out.