Beethoven Complete String Quartets (10CD)
The Lindsay String Quartet’s award-winning and first Beethoven cycle (1979–83), originally recorded for ASV: risk-taking musicianship at the highest level.
‘We had spent more time on rehearsing and trying to understand Beethoven than any other composer: he was a God to us,’ writes cellist Bernard Gregor-Smith. Through the course of their 40-year career, the Lindsay String Quartet was synonymous above all with the string quartets of Beethoven. They began playing together in 1966 while still students at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Six years later, Ronald Birks took the second violin chair to join leader Peter Cropper, violist Roger Bigley and cellist Bernard Gregor-Smith.
Instantly recognisable even now and quite distinct from the ensembles of note who came before and after them, the Lindsays always sounded like a quartet of four discrete and entirely individual personalities. They soon became celebrated for a fierce, even ferocious commitment to both the notes on the page (taking Beethoven’s repeat marks seriously when it was still unfashionable to do so) and to the sometimes rough, often tough and yet elevated spirit of music that still sets a benchmark for both ensembles and listeners. The Lindsays left nothing in the rehearsal studio, even when the red light was on.