I bought this set in Dec. '01 and it has since become a favorite in my collection. Schubert is a great composer and in my opinion, the quartets are where he really shines.
Sadly, it is hard to find recordings of all but the last four. In total, there are fourteen plus two fragments- one incomplete and one lost. They are all here and at such a good deal! The first two discs (first five quartets and a fragment) really stand out. These were quartets Schubert composed as a student and they capture well the energy of youth and have a beautifully simple quality that always makes Schubert stand out. The middle discs track his early career with a more mature motif development revealing a taste of the boldness to come from his later quartets. Not as melodic as the first quartets in my opinion, but a treat nonetheless. Then ah! the last three discs. "Rosamunde," "Death and the maiden," Quartettstatz and C 703. Can you possibly go wrong? Don't answer that. You know it doesn't get better!! Now we come to recording quality. Well, the Melos Quartet recorded these in the mid 70's. They've been digitally touched up and well done. Still, not convincing enough to sound like new. Treble and Mid is alright but the Bass is really lacking and overall, it still lacks the full sound of recordings from the Emerson and Tokyo quartets. Still, with touchup, these recordings sound more like late 80's- Not Bad! This is a great deal for a great price. For better quality, I also picked up Emerson's recording of the late quartets, but you will be hard pressed to find a recording of the early and middle works...and what works they are!!!