Anyone familiar with the work of Borodin will immediately recognise the gentle musicality that is his hallmark. This is music to embrace. First performed in St Petersburg in 1880 the A major quartet has something of the 'the Russian soul' - a kind of melancholy wistfulness - pervading it. Not that the music is in any way depressing, just that it is full of reflective tranquillity, built around long, singing melodies. The second movement in particular has this feel; perfect for enjoying beside a flickering log fire on a winter evening. That flickering feeling is also present in the Scherzo, while the last movement bustles to a conclusion.
The D major quartet was written two years later and is far more familiar. The well-known Notturno third movement is perhaps Borodin's most played music, and that same lyrical quality pervades the whole work. From the outset Borodin weaves tapestries of beautiful melody back and forth through the instruments. It may not be profound or challenging but it is sublime and somehow life-affirming.
Throughout both works the Haydn Quartet play with warmth and understanding, drawing out the rich warmth of the music. Tempi are well chosen and their articulation is clear. Whether this music is new to you or whether you know every note this is a recording to be recommended, as well as being the usual Naxos good value. Put another log on the fire, close your eyes and float away.