It is perhaps a testament to the quality and abundance of Dvorák's output that his Essential String Quartets, the focus of this Supraphon set, should still take up three discs. Not surprisingly, the essential quartets are also the last five in a series of 14 published quartets, along with Cypresses, a reworking for string quartet of 12 of Dvorák's early songs. Dvorák's early quartets are not without their merits; they are solidly constructed and pleasing for listeners, but they lack the same level of maturity, authority, and confidence that prevail in these later quartets. Performing these sublime works is an ensemble that has devoted much of its three-plus decade career to the performance of Dvorák and his countrymen, the Panocha Quartet. Formed originally as a student group at the Prague Conservatory, Panocha has since risen to a dominant position among Czech quartets and is a leader in the interpretation of Dvorák and others. This set is no exception. Panocha uses its refined technical abilities to convey all of Dvorák's rhythmic intricacies, lyrical fluidity, and folk-infused writing. Its combined sound is mature and elegant, producing a truly homogenous quartet sound that still allows each individual part to be clearly audible. No note is taken for granted; no phrase is left unadorned. These are indeed the "Essential" Dvorák quartets, performed by an equally essential ensemble.