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No need whatever for apologies, Atonal. Your radar's probably working a lot better than mine seems to be these days.
The cellist did indeed stand up and was quite as animated as her colleagues.
You're right about cold churches. We were sat right at the back and got a icy blast every time someone arrived. Thankfully there were no latecomers and the temperature, if hardly balmy, was fine for the concert. I remember a not so pleasant experience in one church many years ago in winter when I trekked along to see Bach's B Minor Mass. The heating had packed up and it simply got colder and colder as the evening wore on (and on, and on) and great though the work is, the sight of breath freezing in the air, hunched shoulders. scarves wrapped around heads and communal teeth-chattering did rather detract from the greatness.
Wondering what people think about performances of String Quartet Op 131?
There has been various threads on Beethoven's late String Quartets, drinkwine, where some good exchanges have taken place concerning the Op.131 as well.
As briefly as possible: the field is saturated with various good, interesting, strong, solid performances. There are the very Classics -not to be missed- of the Hungarian, Italiano, Amadeus, Talich and the benchmark-revelatory of Vegh Quartets.
More recently, the superb Prazak, the versatile Tacacs, the compelling Hagen, the very individual Petersen and the powerful Belcea, among many, have recorded very impressively and convincingly this most demanding and rewarding work.
Some less known (or advertised) and individual recordings, worth investigating and indulging may be: the Brentano String Quartet (on Aeon), the Ayrun Qu. (on Tacet), the brilliant Suske Qu. (on Berlin, now on Brilliant) , the Wihan Qu. (on Nimbus) and even the Cleveland (on Telarc).
For the String Orchestra version, there is always the by now iconic recording by Bernstein with a most brilliant VPO (on DG), the legendary one by Sandor Vegh (on Capriccio) and a very compelling recording of A. Previn (on DG and with VPO shining throughout again!).
P.S.: Another quite interesting question is the relationship of Opp. 131 and 132 (the other glorious and very monumental work in this field) and their roles in Beethoven's output in the genre.
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