First at all. I've always thought that Gilels is a superb musician altough something cold to my taste.
His readings of Rachmaninov lack that humanism that should be in your mind your soul and your fingers when you play that romantic composer.
I make this previous statement because when I decided to acquire this record in those Lp's days , in 1980., I did it because the two only references that I knew still didn't fill my requests.
So it happened the incredible. What happened in that recording evening? I don't know but Gilels was enraptured and possesed by Dionsyan inspiration and The Amadeus quartet in their best.
The result was an amazing performing, from the first bar to the last one. Every note is played with a comittment like the same Casals would have been present in the recording studio. What kind of playing! Personally I think this is the definitive version of this quartet op. 25.
Don't think I've tried. I tried with Serkin-Bush, I've bought Edwin Fisher and I found in New York Badura Skoda Janigro Fournier and all those recordings were well made but without enthusiasm and even an atom of sparkling light.
Many people don't seem understand that Brahms' shyness and all those comentaries about his craft , would make him the first on the line in Beethoven's heritage in his time.
For me, (and this is a personal consideration), Brahms suffered a personal crisis knowing the huge responsability upon his shoulders when he presented his first Symphony. And the fact that seems prove this statement is that the first symphony is Op.48.
This long speech allows me conclude that in the chamber music's mood he seemed to feel less presure and he , in certain way he felt with a major liberty to compose. Remeber also that the chamber music was a more intimate music and not for all the great audiences.
In this sense, even to understand the musical language of Johannes Brahms, please go and listen first all his chamber music. You'll find such kind of hidden treasures such the clarinet's quintets and his two strings quintets, for example, and then go for meeting the symphonic Brahms.
And if you had some doubt about the quality and great musicality of this genere in Brahm's music, go and explore how much of his music was played by Casals in Prades. Doesn'it tell you anything?
Back to the quartet op. 25, you'll find a young Brahms, in the peak of his craft.
And consider this recordings among the best performers of this important sign Deutsche Grampohone.
The sound in CD is fabolous.
Don't miss that version for any reason. It's essential for you to have it in your personal collection.
And then you 'll forget the others versions you had before.