Végh Quartet

Mozart: 6 String Quartets

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If the name Végh Quartet means anything to you, if the thought of its set of the late Beethoven quartets takes you back, if the memory of its Heiliger Dankgesang, Op. 132, lifts your soul, this re-release of the Végh Quartet's 1951-1952 recordings of six of Mozart's late quartets will be -- and certainly should be -- irresistible. While these earlier performances are not quite in the same class as their later Beethoven recordings in terms of emotional depths or spiritual heights, they are still superlative. It's true that for some listeners, the Hungarian quartet's tone may be perhaps too lean and the ensemble too clear. But since the Végh's clarity is coupled with intellectual lucidity and leanness with expressive intensity, the performances have a concentrated strength that few other performances can touch. And it's true that for some listeners, the Hungarian quartet's phrasing may be too clean and the interpretations may be too subjective. But since the Végh's subjectivity leads to musical epiphanies and the cleanliness leads to aesthetic sublimity, the performances have a transcendent artistry that few other performances can approach. So while these recordings understandably may not be to every taste, those who like them will love them and those who love them will revere them. Archipel's remastered sound is amazingly crisp and honest, if possibly a tad too close.

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