Takács String Quartet

Brahms: String Quartet; Piano Quintet

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This 2007 Hyperion disc coupling Brahms' Piano Quintet in F minor and String Quartet in A minor is the Takács Quartet's second time around on both works. In 1991, the then all-Hungarian ensemble had recorded the pieces for Decca with Hungarian pianist András Schiff joining them in the quintet. The Takács Quartet of 1991, however, was not the Takács Quartet of the 2007. In those days, the group consisted of violinists Gabor Takács-Nagy and Karoly Schranz, violist Gabor Ormai, and cellist András Fejer, while these days, the group consists of violinists Edward Dusinberre and Karoly Schranz, violist Geraldine Walther, and cellist András Fejer. Not surprisingly, the differences between the two recordings are considerable. The old Takács Quartet was a warmer, richer, rounder, and more obviously a Central European ensemble while with an English first violinist and an American violist, the new Takács Quartet is tarter, tighter, leaner, and more manifestly international. Joined by English pianist Stephen Hough in the quintet, the new Takács Quartet's turns in big, heroic interpretations that complement rather than contradict their earlier recording's more lyrical approach. Imagine the relationship as a syllogism: the old Takács Quartet's performances are to the Budapest Quartet's as the new Takács Quartet's performances are to the Juilliard Quartet's. Hyperion's sound is clean and colorful.

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