28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Perfect balance in every respect,
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This review is from: Beethoven Complete String Quartets,Quintets and fragments (Audio CD)
I haven't had the chance to listen carefully to all performances in this set yet, but at Amazon's electronic behest I thought I'd jot down some initial impressions for the sake of others thinking of perhaps investing in it. First point, the set is excellent value for money. Secondly, the sound is on a par with any modern sets, very lifelike, with enough reverberation to prevent either the excessive in-your-face shrillness of some recordings, and the cathedral-like haze swamping others. As to the performances, I can say that intonation is spot-on, no player is noticeably stronger or weaker than the others, the sounds blend nicely yet each instrument can be followed without difficulty. Dynamics range from the most delicate of pianissimos to the heartiest of fortissimos, with everything in between. Perhaps the most appealing factor for myself, though, is the avoidance of the excessive vibrato which has made other sets unlistenable for me. As good as the Alban Berg set is, for example, in so many ways, the vibrato became a distraction for me, and audio samples of other sets seems to present the same characteristics. In this set, vibrato is indeed used, but seems much more judiciously applied than in any other set I sampled (among which Takacs, Lindsays, Borodin, Alexander, Emerson and others), allowing me to focus more on the music, which is of course among the greatest ever composed for this configuration of instruments. Heartily recommended.