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Beethoven's Music Still Kicking as Elias Quartet Salutes the Master's String Works

By Philip Trapp on Apr 24, 2016 05:09 PM EDT

The music of Ludwig van Beethoven never goes out of style. As proof, the London-based Elias Quartet are wrapping up their multi-year campaign in effort to perform all of the composer's string quartets under the guise of "The Beethoven Project."

Wigmore Hall released Elias Quartet's Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets -- Volume 1 in 2015. With the record's release, the culmination of "The Beethoven Project" presents itself as a double-disc album sure to entertain all manner of the legendary German composer's fans.

The Elias String Quartet began performing as an ensemble back in 1998. The group was founded by cellist Marie Bitlloch and violinist Donald Grant. Filling out the band since the year 2004 are violinist Sara Bitlloch, Marie's sister, and violist Martin Saving. As explained by Sara in an interview on their website, the four members' musical contributes to their unique playing style:

"We come from diverse backgrounds, but I think in terms of styles of playing, the more ways we have of expressing things, the more interesting a quartet can be. It's really the big challenge to bring all these differences together, but it's also an amazing thing when it works. The result is somehow bigger than the sum of its parts. No one person comes through as just [themselves]. They're always a part of the four, and it's the combination which is so interesting."

The Elias ensemble has performed Beethoven's beloved catalog of string music in various venues throughout the U.K.. They have now performed all 17 of Beethoven's string quartets. The entirety of "The Beethoven Project" will eventually comprise six total albums, with the remaining five volumes to be released at a later date. As noted by the group in a conversation with Presto Classical, the troupe do not take the affair lightly and delight in presenting such marvelous material:

"Presenting a Beethoven cycle must be every quartet's dream. His pieces are a sort of bible of the string quartet repertoire and they work fantastically as a cycle."

Listen to the Elias Quartet below.

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