26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A worthy companion to the later Vegh recordings,
This review is from: Beethoven: The Complete String Quartets + Grosse Fuge [Les Quatuors a Cordes] (Audio CD)Five stars-- yes. This set and the Vegh (on individual Valois discs) are the only integral sets I have in my CD collection. I even traded out all but a few individual recordings, because I kept returning to these performances. Both would get 5 stars from me.
I find the Hungarian account equal to the Vegh in all respects, while offering valuable contrasts in matters of text and recorded sound. For example, here opus 130 is offered with the second finale, and the Grosse Fuge is given as a piece in its own right -- as was the accepted case until the last 25 years or so. The Vegh place the Fuge in its original position as the finale of op. 130, with the alternate finale as an "encore."
The recorded sound in the Hungarian set is excellent mono, without the balance favoring the 'cello -- a distinctive feature of the Vegh recordings that contributes to their oft-noted warm, rich tone. The Hungarian sound is beautifully focused, however, and never harsh or dry. There is ample resonance and weight to the forte passages, yet they never sound less than clear to me.
Just last night I listened to Quartet No. 16 with great pleasure.
Let's say 4 stars at the price for this set; 5 stars for the price I paid.
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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 20, 2008 5:23:11 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 26, 2008 7:54:42 PM PDT
Laraine A. Barker says:
Thank you. My memory obviously serves me correct (that the LP recordings I have of the Hungarian Quartet are indeed in mono). I'm reluctant to check because going through my LP collection invariably sets off a fit of the "I wants". I do remember these were considered "definitive" recordings at the time. I opted for the Alban Berg set on CD, mainly because it was offered to me for $42 including postage (it's $97 new) and, judging from what I can find, collecting all the Lindsay performances would set me back several hundred dollars.
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 6, 2012 8:48:08 AM PDT
D. M. Ohara says:
The recordings were made in Paris in the early 60s. They were recorded in stereo, but first issued in mono and later in stereo. I bought them in stereo as 10 LPs in 3 boxes on Seraphim in the USA in 1967.
Posted on May 29, 2013 6:19:07 PM PDT
The Hungarian recorded the complete quartets twice: once in mono (1953, these recordings) and again in 1966 in stereo. The stereo recordings were the ones that appeared in the US in the late '60s on Seraphim LPs. From what I can tell, the two sets share the same basic interpretive stance and differ mostly in details. The stereo recordings are available now only as part of EMI France's 50-CD set of Beethoven's works. I think all were recorded in France between 1964 and the late 1970s.
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