Album: Beethoven, Complete String Quartets Vol 2 - Belcea Quartet (Zig-Zag Territoires)

The second volume in the Belcea Quartet's Beethoven Cycle extends from the pastoralia of the third and fifth Opus 18 quartets to the tortured interior manifesto of the Grosse Fuge.

Most listeners will head straight for the blockbusters in this four-disc set. The vibrato-free molto adagio of the Opus 132 Quartet in A minor is stunning, but the first and second Razumovsky Quartets are equally arresting, with a wild tang at odds with this pristine ensemble's default sound.