A massive set - 67 string quartets on 21 discs in a budget-priced, shelf-friendly, compact box. So the obvious question is: do you need it? The equally obvious answer is a resounding "yes" if you love these endlessly inventive quartets and if you appreciate superbly played performances that capture both the letter and the spirit of Haydn's genius. The Angeles String Quartet isn't as well known as some ensembles that have recorded complete Haydn sets, but they are superior to all, with the arguable exception of the Tatrai Quartet. They demonstrate technical polish and rich, warm sound that's never cloying. And they give these works the forward-moving impetus they need within a classical framework, eschewing both anachronistic Romanticism and the mechanical astringency of period specialists.
The release of this four-CD set of works for solo string instruments and orchestra pays tribute, as does the recently issued box-set of ‘British Piano Concertos’, to the imagination and vision of the late Richard Itter and his pioneering Lyrita label. For many, Lyrita was the British music label and was loyally supported by various ‘in house’ conductors, among them Adrian Boult, Nicholas Braithwaite, Norman Del Mar and Vernon Handley. Many of the recordings offered here are from the old Lyrita analogue and early digital catalogue but there are a few recordings made during the label’s short revival between 1993 and 1996 which were not issued until more than a decade after they were made. The set makes for fantastic value for money, each CD containing well over 70 minutes of music, and the performances are generally of tremendous vibrancy and quality.
These first complete recordings of the string quartets of Schoenberg, Berg, Webern and Zemlinsky have won numerous international awards and been hailed as landmarks in the discography of 20th-century music. Impeccable ensemble, superbly blended timbre and pure intonation ….This set [Schoenberg, Berg, Webern] is indeed a wonderful achievement (MusicWeb International). Febrile intensity and faultless proportioning of each formal structure [Zemlinsky] (Guardian).
Enthusiasts of microtonality have long been frustrated by the limited number of recordings that document this fascinating area of modern music. Fortunately for them, a landmark set has been released on Bayer Records by the Stamitz Quartet, presenting all 16 string quartets and a handful of shorter pieces by Czech composer and microtonal pioneer Alois Hába. His string quartets are firmly rooted in Western chamber music, so his chordal formations, rhythmic patterns, independent voice leading, and melodic shapes are quite similar to features of post-Romantic and early modern quartets. Yet Hába's music has this remarkable difference: his scales ……Blair Sanderson @ AllMusic.com
Over the past four decades, the Arditti Quartet have collaborated with almost all the great composers of our time, many of whom, from Elliott Carter to Karlheinz Stockhausen, Giacinto Scelsi to Harrison Birtwistle, have written pieces specifically for the group. But none of the Ardittis' associations have been as long-lasting and productive as that with Brian Ferneyhough. Since they gave the first performance of his Second String Quartet in 1980, Ferneyhough has ……..Andrew Clements @ The Guardian
I am very happy to have taken a chance and picked this up. Malipiero's string quartets are tonal and full of drama, yet avoid bland melodies or redundancy. In listening to these 8 works I was reminded a little of Bartok's first two quartets (before the full-on angular innovations), as well as the Debussy/Ravel quartets (Malipiero apparently spent a bit of time in Paris). While it would be debatable to suggest these works are in the same league as those, listeners who enjoy this medium with occasional dissonant spice will warm to these…..410 @ Amazon.com