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Bartok : String Quartets Nos 1 - 6 [Complete] - Apex

Keller Quartet Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
Price: Ł6.35 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over Ł10. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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The Keller Quartett was founded in 1987 in Budapest at the Liszt Conservatory of Music, where its members studied with Sandór Devich, András Mihály and György Kurtág. All three of these distinguished professors remain mentors, and Kurtág continues to compose music for the quartet. From the outset, the quartet distinguished itself with superlative ... Read more in Amazon's Keller Quartet Store

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Frequently Bought Together

Bartok : String Quartets Nos 1 - 6 [Complete]  -  Apex + Bartok: The Orchestral Masterpieces
Price For Both: Ł15.96

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Product details

  • Audio CD (20 Mar 2006)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Apex
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 58,761 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. Bartók : String Quartet No.1 Op.7 Sz40 : I Lento
2. Bartók : String Quartet No.1 Op.7 Sz40 : II Poco a poco accelerando all'allegretto
3. Bartók : String Quartet No.1 Op.7 Sz40 : III Introduzione - Allegro - Allegro vivace
4. Bartók : String Quartet No.2 Op.17 Sz67 : I Moderato
5. Bartók : String Quartet No.2 Op.17 Sz67 : II Allegro molto capriccioso
6. Bartók : String Quartet No.2 Op.17 Sz67 : III Lento
7. Bartók : String Quartet No.4 Sz91 : I Allegro
8. "Bartók : String Quartet No.4 Sz91 : II Prestissimo, con sordino"
9. Bartók : String Quartet No.4 Sz91 : III Non troppo lento
10. Bartók : String Quartet No.4 Sz91 : IV Allegretto pizzicato
See all 11 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. Bartók : String Quartet No.3 Sz85 : I Prima parte - Moderato
2. Bartók : String Quartet No.3 Sz85 : II Seconda parte - Allegro
3. Bartók : String Quartet No.3 Sz85 : III Ricapitulazione della prima parte - Moderato - Coda - Allegro molto
4. Bartók : String Quartet No.5 Sz102 : I Allegro
5. Bartók : String Quartet No.5 Sz102 : II Adagio molto
6. Bartók : String Quartet No.5 Sz102 : III Scherzo - Alla bulgarese - Trio
7. Bartók : String Quartet No.5 Sz102 : IV Andante
8. Bartók : String Quartet No.5 Sz102 : V Finale - Allegro vivace - Presto
9. "Bartók : String Quartet No.6 Sz114 : I Mesto - Piů mosso, pesante - Vivace"
10. Bartók : String Quartet No.6 Sz114 : II Mesto - Marcia
See all 12 tracks on this disc

Product Description

2CD Keller Quartet

Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
41 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Overlooked and Undervalued 22 Feb 2008
Format:Audio CD
This is an excellent set of Bartok's string quartets and is fabulous value for money. I think I'm right in saying that the set was issued originally in the mid-1990s on Erato, a lable that has pretty much vanished as the "major" record labels become "minor". The set offers stunning performances, as noted by both UK and US professional critics, but rarely appears on "the radar" of record buyers. At the price, you really can't go wrong and I would recommend this CD as a great first choice for those curious about this supposedly "difficult" music.
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A strange and desolate beauty 18 Nov 2009
By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I first encountered the violinist Andras Keller when I acquired the superb Kurtág - Kafka-Fragmente, which shows the terrific precision and vividness of his playing to optimum advantage. When I then learned that he led a quartet with whom he had recorded the iconically difficulty Bartóks I had the mental tussle of deciding whether my collection needed an alternate copy to my, considered by many as definitive, Takacs version, Bartók: The String Quartets (2 CDs). My first efforts at getting to grips with these works had been with the Emerson set, but after finally admitting defeat I defected to the Takacs', finding them superior in so many ways. Bartók's quartets are not like anyone else's, and not even very much like any of his other music. They tend to be constructed as juxtapositions of heterogeneous blocks of tightly woven harmonic and contrapuntal texture, with only emergent hints of thematic material to unify their structure. As such, it is the handling of the transitions between these blocks that gives huge scope for interpretation by players ambitious enough to attempt them, and that also determines how successful they will be in presenting the works as organic wholes or as crumbling patchworks. Anyway, at less then a third of the price of the Takacs, I plumped to give these a go and they have surpassed all expectations. I'm going to have to do some careful comparisons to decide whether they fully replace my Takacs versions. Read more ›
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Benchmark recording, unmissable bargain! 6 Mar 2010
Format:Audio CD
I have (or have had) at least ten complete sets of the Bartok quartets on LP and CD in my possession down the years, and have no hesitation in saying that this Keller Quartet set is the one I would recommend first, especially to anyone new to the work. Whilst I would not want to be without the insights of the Tokyo, Vegh and various Juillard versions (the Takacs never excited me, I'm afraid) I find that the Kellers engage, move and stimulate me throughout the cycle with remarkable consistency.

Why? Well, I think it's partly to do with the authentic sprung quality this Budapest group give to Bartok's rhythms - nothing mechanical here - and partly to do with the first violinist (András Keller's) unfailingly precise intonation and beauty of sound. There is no ostentatious showiness about these performances: just wonderfully vibrant music making, clearly caught by the Erato microphones and now issued at an unmissable price. Don't hesitate!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't I have more than 5 stars? 30 Nov 2008
Format:Audio CD
In my view the most consistantly excellent set of Bartok's quartet recordings and my personal favouite. It did have a very short life on Erato before that label was swallowed by Warner. All credit to Warner for reissuing at this great price, but it is true that Erato had no time to promote and so an accident of timing has prevented these recordings becoming classics, as they deserve. You will not find no.s 3,4 or 6 done better by anyone, anywhere in the catalogue. Buy this now while you still can!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars pin-sharp and faultless 28 Nov 2012
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
For one whose `default' listening revolves mainly around modern jazz and `world' music, it required an effort of will to come to terms with Bartok's quartets. Listening attentively, however, one begins to realise that, distilled within these 150 minutes, is the autobiography of one of the greatest artists of the 20th century in any medium. Béla Bartók (1881-1945) came from a uniquely diverse cultural background which included Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian and German influences. A child prodigy, he could distinguish different dance rhythms and play over forty pieces on the piano before the age of four.

In this idiosyncratic music all of these ingredients are combined, together with vivid reflections on the momentous events of the first 40 years of the 20th century. In doing this Bartok extended the sound-range of the classic string quartet in a way that no other composer has succeeded in doing. Ranging from the elegiac to the ribald, from serenely pastoral to screechingly parodic, this music never ceases to surprise. In its astringency and intelligence it is a perfect antidote to the `Classic FM' schmalz that nowadays assails us whether in restaurant or dental surgery.

To these ears, and without making comparisons, the playing of the Keller Quartet is pin-sharp and faultless; their dynamic range from pianissimo to the jagged fortissimo chords - for example in the allegro of the 4th quartet - never ceases to amaze. In the final quartet composed in 1939 (and the dates of all 6 are significant), a `spooky' high-register tremolo mutates via swooping glissandi into banjo-like pizzicato - to ruminative `night music', and back to an unsettling tremolo. The constant transitions and transformations of time and mode are brilliantly handled by the four players.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Equal to Takacs
I had to hear these recordings - at a low price - and ended up preferring them to the Takacs set. Even if you think the latter superior the price difference should swing it, I... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Lance Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars Great set
Good recording. Good performances. Good price. I have the Takac's also, which seems to be the standard for these pieces, but I can't say I don't find this as enjoyable. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Mike PP
5.0 out of 5 stars Bartok : String Quartets Nos 1 - 6 [Complete] - Apex
These are excellent string quartets well written and well played, I can recommend them as part of a library of quartet music to study
Published 10 months ago by I. P. Cheneour
5.0 out of 5 stars Glad I picked this set
In terms of which set to choose, it was a choice between the Takacs or (this) Keller quartet recording of the complete string quartets on CD. Read more
Published on 5 April 2011 by maximus
4.0 out of 5 stars a very good performance
I'm not a musician, so if you are one, please bear that in mind: I cannot give musical analysis. That said, I can only compare this performance with the performance that outstrips... Read more
Published on 3 April 2011 by Mr. P. Noakes
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Bartok Quartets Cycle
Why pay lots for the Takacs, the Tokyos, or follow along with the herd and buy the new Belcea set? Savvy collectors are well in with the Keller Quartet (recently on ECM) and this... Read more
Published on 25 Jan 2009 by Philoctetes
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