I can testify that I heard the Vegh quartet in about 50 concerts in their great times in the fifties until the early seventies having studied cello with their cellist Paul Szabo in the fifties. There are two sets of the complete Beehoven by them. The first recording from the fifties is not impressive. The second recording was made after they had met and worked with Pablo Casals.
I can say that this second recording set gives an exactly true impression how the band sounded at the time. Vegh did not have the fat "international high class standard"-sound you hear from most Russian and American violinists. He had a slender and very speaking sound, using intonation as a coloring effect, lots of variation in his vibrato and tempo. Yes and his breathing was sometimes audible on stage, so what? On good concert days he achieved a mystic identification with the work, being constantly surprising (his theory was that you have even to surprise yourself), you sat at the edge of your seat and waited eagerly what happened next. The only violinist that has this effect I know today is Patricia Kopatchinskaja. Their cellist Paul Szabo had a velvety and seducing sound, which is very clearly reproduced in these recordings. The viola player Janzer was world class and was also the violist in Arthur Grumiaux chamber music recordings.
A agree with some of the reviewers that this is the best completely recorded Beethoven cycle. It is only surpassed in places by the recordings of the late quatuors by the Buschs.
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