When the two quartets on this CD were recorded, the Kodaly Quartet ("KQ") had been playing together for over twenty years. It shows. What is evident on this CD is the perfect cohesion of the musicians; they clearly have an intimate knowldedge of the score, have played these two quartets many times over the years, and thoroughly enjoy playing together. Yet, although the KQ had been together for more than two decades at the time they made this recording, the performance of these four highly talented musicians sounds fresh and exciting, as if they were exploring the magic of these quartets for the first time, and truly conveys their passionate enthusiasm and love for this music.
The sound engineering on this digital recording is first-rate, with a bright, clear sound that gives a feeling of immediacy and presence to the instruments. Although I somewhat prefer the deeper, richer sound of the Cleveland Quartet in its recording of these same quartets, I very much like the sound of the KQ as well and enjoy listening to the same quartets performed by both groups.
The allegro movements on this CD have rhythmic energy and vitality, while the adagio movements are played with a beautiful tenderness, pathos, depth and sensitivity to every nuance of every note that allows the listener to savor every note and that takes the listener on a wonderful musical journey deep into the inner world of Beethoven's late quartets.
The musicianship of the KQ is superb, with the musicians conveying the full range of emotions in this musical microcosm: playfulness, elegance, wistfulness, anxiety, and brooding intensity.
I am very highly pleased with every volume of this series of the complete Beethoven string quartets by the KQ. The CD booklet has information on the KQ and a well-written and informative essay with historical information and a musical analysis of each of the two quartets.
This is an excellent CD at a very reasonable price. I would gladly have paid twice as much for it. In fact, it's almost unbelievable that a CD of such high quality is available at such a low price. Very highly recommended.