DGG 2-LPs 138 894/5: Beethoven String Qtets Op 59, Amadeus 1960s
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Background on this item -
The Amadeus Quartet was a world famous string quartet founded in 1947. Because of their Jewish origin, violinists Norbert Brainin, Siegmund Nissel and Peter Schidlof (later violist) were driven out of Vienna after Hitler's Anschluss of 1938. Brainin and Schidlof met in a British internment camp on the Isle of Man; many Jewish refugees had the misfortune of being confined by the British as "enemy aliens" upon seeking refuge in the UK. Brainin was released after a few months, but Schidlof remained in the camp, where he met Nissel. Finally Schidlof and Nissel were released, and the three of them were able to study with violin pedagogue Max Rostal, who taught them free of charge. It was through Rostal that they met cellist Martin Lovett, and in 1947 they formed the Brainin Quartet, which was renamed the Amadeus Quartet in 1948.

The group gave its first performance as the Amadeus Quartet at the Wigmore Hall in London on 10 January 1948, underwritten by Imogen Holst. Touring extensively, the Amadeus performed throughout Europe, Canada, the United States, Japan, and South America. Noted for its smooth, sophisticated style, its seamless ensemble playing, and its sensitive interpretation, the quartet made some 200 recordings, among them the complete quartets of Ludwig van Beethoven, Johannes Brahms, and  Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. For concerts as well as recordings of string quintets (Mozart, Franz Schubert, Johannes Brahms, Anton Bruckner) and string sextets (Brahms) they invited regularly Cecil Aronowitz as second viola and William Pleeth as second cello. Though they emphasized a standard Classical and Romantic repertory, they also performed works by such 20th-century composers as Béla Bartók and Benjamin Britten who wrote his third quartet expressly for them.

The Amadeus was one of the most celebrated quartets of the 20th century, and its members were awarded numerous honors, including:

The Order of the British Empire, presented by the Queen.
Doctorates from the Universities of London, York, and Caracas.
The highest of all German awards, the Great Cross of Merit.
The Austrian Cross of Honour for Arts and Sciences.

The quartet disbanded in 1987 upon the death of the violist Peter Schidlof, who was regarded as irreplaceable by the surviving members. Brainin died on 10 April 2005 and Nissel on 21 May 2008.

Beethoven's String Quartets op. 59 also known as The Razumovski Quartets, dedicated to the Russian ambassador, are considered to be genuine symphonic quartets due to the extension of the architectonic structure and the form in general, through the expansion of the space meant for development or due to the fugato style specific especially to symphonic forms.
While not the first complete recorded cycle of the Beethoven String Quartets, the Amadeus Quartet's late-'50s early-'60s set of the complete Beethoven quartets may be the first great recorded cycle. The Amadeus Quartet was a part-Austrian, part-English ensemble that fused elegance and intelligence and expressivity with virtuosity to create a style of quartet playing wholly suited to the Viennese classics from Mozart through Brahms but which fit Beethoven like a hand-tailored suit. While other ensembles had recorded the Beethoven quartets before the Amadeus, none of those performances had the clarity and lucidity the Amadeus brought to them. Forty years later, the Amadeus' Op. 18 Quartets are still among the best ever recorded: graceful and gracious, witty and intelligent, polished and expressive, the Amadeus' performances embody all that is best in the "early" quartets. The Amadeus' Op. 59 is nearly as great: its complete control of tempo and texture clarifies the thematic and harmonic structures of the quartets and only in the most strenuous passages and deepest movements does the Amadeus seem ever so slightly out of its depths. ~ James Leonard, Rovi

DGG (Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft) Records 2-LP set - YELLOW record labels with RED and BLUE lettering. Sporting the famous Blue and white TULIPS running around the entire rim of the record labels - this logo indicates the earliest pressings for this record label, GERMAN version (see pictures)
Records Made in: GERMANY
Pressings are in STEREO - from the early 1960’s - the set comes in a large, gate-fold jacket with information printed on the inside of the jacket
Record Speed: 33 1/3 rpm
Records Made in: circa early 1960’s (Tulips)
Record Catalog Number: 138 894 / 95

This listing is for a very rare, out of print LP title featuring the music of -


Performed by -
The Amadeus-Quartet:
Norbert Brainin, 1st violin
Siegmund Nissel, 2nd violin
Peter Schidlof, viola
Martin Lovett, cello

Title / Music on this item / Track Listings -
String Quartets Op. 59, No. 1-3 “Rasumowsky” -
1. String Quartet in F Major, Op. 59, No. 1
2. String Quartet in E minor, Op. 59, No. 2
3. String Quartet in C Major, Op. 59, No. 3

The gate-fold jacket is in Near Mint minus condition.
The jacket is completely solid and intact with no seam splits! It does show some light shelf wear, primarily at the corners and seams. The jacket is covered in “clarifoil”, front and back - this is the same light plastic, transparent material used on the highest quality and expensive DECCA recordings. Have a close look at the pictures and you will better understand and see the condition of this item.
The jacket has NO drill holes or saw marks of any kind.
There is NO hand writing on the front, inside or the back of the jacket - recording information is printed on the inside of the jacket.
The cover has clean and sharp colors - see pictures with this listing for more detail.

The LP (vinyl) itself:
The LPs are in near MINT minus condition!! - A finer copy of this vintage LP set would be very difficult to find.
The LPs retain much of the original gloss and sheen!
The records have NO serious marks on them, obviously well taken care of.
The record labels have NO significant spindle marks on them.
This is the superb copy you have always wanted in your collection - any super picky audiophile should be happy with this one!
This LP does have some light marks (spider marks mostly) which are caused by sliding the LP in and out of the inner sleeve and are usually not audible on most audio systems (this depends on the sensitivity of your arm/cartridge/table).
As for any record, even brand new ones, for best results we recommend a thorough record cleaning before playing!

Please understand that this is a vintage record set - as such, one cannot expect the vinyl to sound like a brand new, audiophile pressing! Some noise is inevitable - for best results, always properly clean your LPs before playing them.

The LP is an audiophile quality pressing (any collector of fine MFSL, half speeds, direct to discs, Japanese/UK pressings etc., can attest to the difference a quality pressing can make to an audio system).

A Short Note About LP GRADING -
Mint {M} = Only used for sealed items.
Near Mint {NM} = Virtually flawless in every way.
Near Mint Minus {NM-} = Item has some minor imperfections, some audible.
Excellent {EXC} = Item obviously played and enjoyed with some noise.
Very Good Plus {VG+} = Many more imperfections which are noticeable and obtrusive.

Don't let this rarity slip by!!!

  • Item #: DGG 2LPs 138 894-5 NM
  • Manufacturer: DGG - Deutsche Grammophon Gesellschaft Records
  • Condition: Used

DGG 2-LPs 138 894/5: Beethoven String Qtets Op 59, Amadeus 1960s

Price: $79.99
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