Budapest String Quartet, Beethoven: Complete String Quartets

Archives like those for the old Columbia Records are the gift that keeps giving, not just in easy money for Sony but in new opportunities for music consumers. And now, finally, they’ve reissued one of the absolutely essential recordings in the classical repertory, the Budapest String Quartet’s 1951-52 complete Beethoven Quartets.

71FMbG+JuQL SX522

This is arguably the finest cycle of the Beethoven Quartets ever recorded, certainly it’s the most important. At this level of playing and interpretation, it’s only peers are the cycle from the Hungarian Quartet, and Budapest’s live recordings from the Library of Congress—the Hungarian set is less famous though to some just as good, while the live recordings are truly amazing, objectively they are better, but the complete set is more than three times the cost of this reissue, and that’s if you can find them (there is also a stereo set that the Budapest Quartet recorded in the 1960s—it is excellent, but the earlier recordings are just a bit better all around).

If the LoC recordings are Babe Ruth, the 1951-52 box is Willie Mays, and the Hungarian Quartet is Mickey Mantle. Now, Willie Mays is one of the greatest ballplayers of all time, he just never won 100 games as a pitcher, like Ruth did. Buy this, you will regret nothing, and you will have one of the cornerstones of the Western classical tradition and of a good music library.

“I dig the jacket!”

Kurt Elling

“Anyone who can write with insight and authority about Alas No Axis, Sonic Youth, Elvis Costello…Missy Mazzoli and William Britelle, and…Mahler…is okay in my book.”

Darcy James Argue

Like what you read? Subscribe for 2018 to have access to all content. Only $20 for the calendar year!

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s