I hope these new recordings of the three Rasumovsky Quartets find an enthusiastic audience. After the retirement of first violinist Peter Oundjian from an injury, the Tokyo Qt. went through a transition, but they have emerged sounding better than ever, particularly in these well recorded CDs. Always known for tonal beauty and pinpoint ensemble, the Tokyp has qcquired more maturity and depth while retaining a romantic stance that's a little old-fashioned. Their expressivity stands in marked contrast to the steel polish of the Emersons and the too-fierce attack of the Takacs (now going thourhg a transition with a new violist).
I was going to write a comparative article on the Rasumovsky sets from seven different groups, but in the end I didn't have enough praise for the Guarneri, Takacs, Juilliard, or Emerson performances. For real depth and tonal beauty combined, I favor the Alban Berg over all comers. For Middle European solidity at a bargain price, the Kodaly Qt. on Naxis is quite good. For Russian musicianship at its finest, the Borodins are wonderful despite absurdly over-resonant recordings that make them sound biger than life. the new Tokyp set is right up there, however. For me, these are the best new Rasumovskys in decades.