yes this cd is certainly recommended for fine, vibrant yet nuanced performances by one of the current young quartets "du jour" - namely the Belcea Qrt. most fans of classical music should already have a copy of the Debussy + Ravel quartets (there are many other very fine vesions by amongst others - the Quartetto Italian, Melos, i also have the Tokyo Quartet version) as harmonically innovative + fairly lush early 20th C quartet works by two of the master composers and the Belcea's play these works with plenty of panache.
what attracted me to this cd when i bought it some five or so years ago, was the curiousity of the newly emerging Belcea Quartet (hence the EMI debut series mark) at budget price, but also of the far less well known late 20thC fellow french composer Henri Dutilleux. his solitary quartet was performed + rehearsed in the prescence of the Composer in the Belcea's student days + therefore the performance here (much like the Fitzwilliams did for Shostakovich) brings an extra level of authenticity . The Dutilleux quartet "Ainsi la Nuit" from 1976 is worthy of people's attention certainly, although is fairly typical of late modernist composition with a complex labrynthine contruction with a whole host of arresting effects (pizzicato, high harmonics, contrasting dynamics etc) resulting in a difficult but fascinating work that repays closer + repeated listens. it still sounds Gallic (just) in its refined use of harmonic material but far less approachable than the Ravel or Debussy works sharing soundworlds roughly similar to Bartok,Ligeti or Ades . not an easy listen but rewarding all the same + a welcome addition to the French quartet canon that makes this cd release rather more valuable.
overall - recommended alone for the fine playing + inclusion of the rare Dutilleux.