Budapest String Quartet - The Complete Beethoven Quartets
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The modern standard of performance in the Beethoven quartets was set by the Budapest String Quartet, wrote The New York Times. One of the 20th centurys very finest chamber ensembles, the Budapest String Quartet recorded the complete Beethoven cycle three times first on 78s in the 1940s, then between 1951 and 1952 in mono, and later in stereo. The 195152 cycle, which has acquired legendary status, is now reissued as a complete set, the first time that Sony Classical has published it in its entirety since the first issue. The Budapest Quartet was the quartet in residence at the Library of Congress from 1938 until 1962, a position created so that they could make regular use of the Librarys collection of Stradivarius instruments. Their regular performances at the Library all made use of these remarkable instruments, and the quartet also used them on these recordings, made in the Library itself. This Beethoven cycle has acquired legendary status. Anthony Tommasini of The New York Times wrote that his favorite performances of the six early Opus 18 quartets are the ones included here, supple, luminous and insightful. NPR critic Lloyd Schwartz calls the entire cycle my touchstone for Beethoven quartet recordings. Founded 100 years ago in 1917, the Budapest Quartet was at the height of its success in the early 1950s, under the leadership of first violinist Joseph Roisman. They had settled in the United States in 1938 at the same time as taking up their position at the Library of Congress, and they disbanded after 50 years in 1967.
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