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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterly Performances, 16 Oct. 2009
By 
Graham (Fife, Scotland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bartok: Complete String Quartets (3CD) (Audio CD)
I first got to know these recordings in 1963 when they were available in the UK on Saga ten shilling (50p) LPs. I still have the LPs, but it is wonderful to have these masterly performances now on CD, without all the pops, clicks and other noises that were on the Saga pressings, which were seldom of the best quality.

The Bartok string quartets were the first real advance in quartet writing since Beethoven, and even today they are stunning in their originality. In them this great composer, perhaps the greatest of the twentieth century, explored a new and exciting sound world. No one else has equalled Bartok's achievement, not even Shostakovich in his great cycle of fifteen quartets.

There have been many fine recordings of these works (Emerson, Alban Berg and Tokyo amongst others), but for me, and I am sure many others, these accounts by the Fine Arts Quartet are something special. The distinguished American critic Harold C. Schoenberg, who was never one for handing out lavish praise, wrote in the New York Times, "The Fine Arts Quartet is an excellent ensemble: secure in intonation, musically alert, precise in workmanship. It makes a good showing in the Bartok quartets, approaching the music with sensitivity and instrumental strength."

As well as the six quartets, we are also given a recording of an interesting discussion of the first quartet by the members of the Fine Arts Quartet. The sound, even by today's standards, is very good.
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Bartok: Complete String Quartets (3CD)
Bartok: Complete String Quartets (3CD) by Bartok: Complete string Quartets (Audio CD - 2013)
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