Beethoven: String Quintets

***** Das seit Jahrzehnten in den U.S.A. beheimatete „Fine Arts Quartet“ und G. Sharon interpretieren in der vorliegenden Einspielung aus dem Jahr 2008 das Streichquintett vorzüglich. Auf der CD sind außerdem op. 104 und die Fragment gebliebene Fuge op. 137, alles in sehr guter Audio-Qualität."  (D. Hartmann,, 26. Juni 2014)

***** "Magnificent music superbly rendered. This recording of Beethoven´s rarely heard string quintets brings to us the finest music played by highly respected musicians: the Fine Arts Quartet and violist Sharon Gil. The performance of said quintets and of the Fugue Op. 137 are of the best sound quality and superior musicianship, perfectly recorded, so as to carry the listener to the highest level of pleasure. I heartly recommend this exceptional album." (Dr. Pedro A. Tesone,, May 28, 2011) Full Review

"Skill and dash...Striking music, eloquently played." (Alexander Bryce, Scotland on Sunday, 01 February 2011)  Full Review

**** "El Fine Arts está espléndido...acompañado del violista Gil Sharon, firmando unas versiones de referencia, principalmente por la belleza, el significado del sonido y el armónico empaste, especialmente en el Quinteto Op. 29 y su bello Adagio. Ya había una grabación extraordinaria de esta obra del Cuarteto de Tokyo con Pinchas Zukerman, que venía dentro de la integral de los cuartetos de cuerda o con la caja de los Cuartetos op. 18 (RCA), imagino que inencontrable. Es una lástima que no se acordaran del Op. 104, aunque esta del Fine Arts es magnífica, conteniendo toda la fuerza del original Trío en do menor. La Fuga op. 137 (de poco más de minuto y medio) es de 1817 y no nos descubre nada nuevo. Un acierto que el Fine Arts se haya establecido en Naxos." 

(Gonzalo Pérez Chamorro, Ritmo, December 2010)  Full review

"Grab this disc for your collection. Beethoven obviously liked something in the op. 104 arrangement that he felt superceded the op. 1 original, and op. 29 is a truly great work when played with the kind of spirit, subtlety, and vigor that Fine Arts and Sharon give it here. The sound quality is splendidly vivid and not overly reverberant." (Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare, Nov/Dec 2010)

"The Fine Arts Quartet have already given us some fine Naxos recordings...Ian Lace made their recording of the Fauré one of hisRecordings of the Year in 2009 – see review. Oleg Ledeniov – here – and Kevin Sutton – here – also praised the Fauré recording. I thought their version of the Franck well worth having...The Bruckner and Mendelssohn recordings have also been highly praised...You should not be disappointed by this new CD - stylish performances, well recorded, of attractive less-well-known Beethoven on an inexpensive but well-filled CD."  (Brian Wilson, MusicWeb International, October 2010)  Full Review

"The highly experienced Fine Arts Quartet (and their guest) represent a style of string-playing that places great stress on beautiful, rich tone. Beethoven's challenging, wonderfully imaginative writing for quintet in both the main works realised in a way that always sounds rounded and well balanced...The Fine Arts Quartet plays beautifully…these performances present a beguiling portrait."

 (Gramophone Magazine, October 2010) 

"The centerpiece of the program is the String Quintet in C major, Op. 29, finished in 1802, which is, if not a real rarity, certainly one of the least often performed among the major pieces of Beethoven's maturity. As performed here by the Milwaukee-based Fine Arts Quartet, with second violist Gil Sharon, it divulges absolutely no reason for its comparative obscurity vis-à vis the six early string quartets. In fact, maybe the ensemble deserves credit for finding the key to putting the quintet across. The players cultivate a heavy legato sound that's somewhat counter to fashion for Beethoven's chamber music but works like a charm here...The Fine Arts players get the exact shade of the second subject of the first movement.. And the big dimensions of the other movements and their sharply contrasting characters never escape their control. A bonus is the inclusion of the little Fugue in D major, Op. 137...Once again the quartet's performance is fresh, confident, and committed. The sound, recorded in a Dutch monastery library, is excellent, and at a budget price it's hard to hear this as anything other than the recording of choice for Beethoven's sole string quintet." (James Manheim,Allmusic, October, 2010)  Full review

"The Op. 29 String Quintet finds Beethoven at the top of his form, with music at once bold and imaginative...The Fine Arts Quartet with Gil Sharon [perform it] with confidence and aplomb. The sensitivity of the recorded sound also plays its part, since the resonance of the ensemble sonorities is matched by the details of the part writing. In other words the listener is granted the best of both worlds. There are some other good performances of the Quintet, for example by the Tokyo Quartet with Pinchas Zukerman (RCA) and the Quatuor Ysaÿe with Shuli Waterman (BIS), but with the added benefit of the advantageous Naxos price this new issue makes a compelling case for itself...The Op. 104 Quintet...makes for intriguing listening...Once again the Fine Arts ensemble performs with distinction, as they do also in the little Fugue in D major."  (Terry Barfoot, MusicWeb International, September 2010)  Full Review

***** "The Fine Arts Quartet delivers a strongly commited performance of this work [the Op.29 String Quintet], supported by a beautifully balanced but clear recording...They are particularly admirable in the finale, relishing the music's sudden bursts of aggression as well as its moments of outrageous humour...The powerful and expansive interpretation from the Fine Arts Quartet presents it [the Op. 104 Quintet] in an entirely new light, adding a mature and surprisingly sober reflection to its characteristically brusque and youthful energy." 

(Erik Levi, BBC Music Magazine, August 2010)  Full Review

BBC Music Magazine

"BEETHOVEN only wrote one string quintet, and that was fairly early in his career, but Naxos have teamed the Op 29 work with the adaptation of his C minor piano trio in a new release featuring the excellent US ensemble Fine Arts Quartet joined by violist Gil Sharon (8572221).  Another fine recording by this budget label, this is a must-have for any serious collector of chamber music...The pieces make a lovely pairing." (Steve Moffat, Village Voice Balmain,  25 August 2010)  

***** "A Rare Beethoven Masterwork...Lovers of Beethoven and of music slightly off the beaten track will enjoy getting to know Beethoven's lovely and unjustly neglected opus 29 String Quintet in C beautifully performed by the Fine Arts Quartet and Gil Sharon." 

(Robin Friedman,,  9 July 2010)  Full review

"It is throughout a most pleasurable release."  (David Denton, David's Review Corner, June 2010)  Full Review