Magazine article Gramophone

Old Friends Revisited

Magazine article Gramophone

Old Friends Revisited

Article excerpt

Just as numerous readers will have learned the greatest of all symphony cycles through one or other of Bruno Walter's recordings, the Amadeus Quartet will have served a similar purpose for the greatest of all string quartet cycles. For me, and I'm sure for many, the Amadeus Quartet's DG set from the early Sixties remains more or less de rigueur, but now Audite has come up with a credible supplement, except that there's no Harp Quartet (Op 74) and the version included of Op 127 dates from some five years later than the last of the others, by which time lead violinist Norbert Brainin's vibrato was beginning to widen (though his intonation remained true). The remainder of the set was taped by RIAS ('Radio in the American Sector') between 1950 and 1962.

I was delighted to revisit this wonderful music as presented by expert guides who over the years I have grown to love and respect. One or two differences are worth noting. For example, the development section of Op 18 No 2's opening movement is more emphatically played than on the DG recording and the heavenly 'Heiliger Dankgesang' slow movement from Op 132 is both marginally broader and darker-hued than on the DG alternative. …

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