32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
Britten's string quartets remind me of Shostakovich's late chamber music - string quartet no.13-15, violin sonata and viola sonata - for the intensely personal and inward-looking musical idiom, Britten's musical language is more subtle and ambiguous though. They are amazingly original and comlex, each time you listen to them you discover something new.
Belcea Quartet is an outstanding ensemble. Their performances are technically impeccable, deeply expressive and thoughtful, which reflect their deep understanding of Britten's music and genuine emotional involvement. They create amazing contrast between the evocative atmosphere of the slow movements and the dizzyingly complex fast movements.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
I hate the word "difficult" when applied to music and this is often the word applied to Britten in general and the quartets in particular.
Having said that anyone buying this disc more or less has fallen in love with Britten anyway and the quartets are probably best left until one is reasonably familiar with his style.
Beautifully played and spiky with an extra helping of acid
Get this and then get the Maggini set - I can't decide, though I do have a soft spot for the Maggini having listened to it whilst recovering in hospital, this set is somehow more focused.
Get both, put them on and let them soak in!
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 7 January 2013
A tremendous collection of the Britten Quartets, with superb performances matched by excellent recorded sound, and of course the music itself is sublime.