Budapest Quartet

Franck: Piano Quartet in F minor; Fauré: Piano Quartet in C minor

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This disc is wrong in just about every way possibly. First and most, reissuing recordings made and paid for by Columbia on an Italian label with no financial or artistic ties to Columbia is ethically wrong. Second, having the Russian-Hungarian Budapest Quartet play music by French composers César Franck and Gabriel Fauré is aesthetically wrong. With a fat tone, wide vibrato, and heart-on-the-sleeve interpretations, the Budapest players' performances make Franck's Piano Quintet and Fauré's first Piano Quartet sound more like an overweight and overly sentimental German composer than lean and expressive French composers. Third, once the disc starts, the sound here is thick and turgid. Recorded live in the Library of Congress in 1956 and 1957, the original monaural sound was gray and lumpy, and this minimally remastered Italian release make the recordings sound nearly opaque. There are dozens of better performed and better recorded versions of these works available. Considering these flaws, this Urania disc will likely appeal only to those fans of the Budapest Quartet who do not already have the LPs.

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