Thu, Oct 24, 2013 - Page 11 News List

Classical CD reviews

By Bradley Winterton  /  Contributing reporter

This is that nothing can compare with the old recordings of the celebrated Budapest Quartet. They have the supreme quality of emphasizing the darker side of Mozart, in my view the ultimate Holy Grail. No set of all ten quartets from the Budapest Quartet, it seems, exists, but performances of the six “Haydn” quartets have been collected into one box, and this must stand as the Ultimate First Choice, incomplete though it is. It’s most easily bought from www.prestoclassical.co.uk.

Meanwhile, the Dissonance can be heard played complete, in 1953, by the Budapest Quartet – sound only — on YouTube (uploaded by viool7). This — so grand, so sad — is a pinnacle in the field of any Mozart quartet listening experience.

Watching the players is more difficult, though the Hagen have issued DVDs of all ten quartets, and the Gewanthaus Quartet of three of them. So, what else is available on YouTube? For some reason, the

Dissonance features prominently. You can see it played by the young Stradivari Quartet in London’s Wigmore Hall in 2011, by the New Russian Quartet, and by the St. Petersburg Quartet, as well as by the Gewanthaus and the Hagens. Take a look and make your choice. But whatever you do, don’t fail to listen to the incomparable Budapest item.

MOZART: “HAYDN” QUARTETS

Mozart

Budapest Quartet

Magdalen METCD8011 [2 CDs]

THE GREAT STRING QUARTETS

Mozart

Chilingirian Quartet

CRD 5005 [5 CDs]

THE STRING QUARTETS

Mozart

Hagen Quartet

DG Collectors Edition 4776253 [7 CDs]

ALBAN BERG TELDEC RECORDINGS

Mozart and others

Alban Berg Quartet

Teldec 2564696067 [8 CDs]

MOZART STRING QUARTETS

Mozart

Talich Quartet

La Dolce Vita LDV 1006 [7 CDs]

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