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Reviews: Haydn: String Quartets - Amsterdam String Quartet

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Reviews: 4

Site review by Geohominid December 28, 2007
Performance:   Sonics:    
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Review by nickc February 29, 2008 (6 of 8 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
I love this disc but not the programming! I am a typical collector, and would much prefer complete opuses to be recorded in the string quartet repertoire rather than selections. Having said that we are tempted in the liner notes with a statement that they will perform all the quartets in 2009. Please Mr Sacks take your microphones along!
Having got that off my chest what fantastic playing, although I would have preferred slow movements to be a little bit slower: Op.20/3 ASQ 7.39 vs. Lindsay 8.54, Op.74/1 ASQ 5.34 vs. Kocian 6.58, Op.76/1 ASQ 6.18 vs. Kodaly 7.42.
It is a lovely warm and resonant Channel recording from a church in Amsterdam.

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Review by analogue May 19, 2009 (3 of 5 found this review helpful)
Performance:   Sonics:  
While the music is fabulous and the playing is terrific I do not consider this a perfect recording/ transfer. Channel classics have a great reputation for producing great recordings and sacds but in my system at home this sacd sounds a little abrasive, heavy...almost lifeless. And in spite of it being a real dsd recording it sounds rather harsh and digital. I can attest to you that I own many, many sacd's and have heard a great many splendid dsd recordings that sound so much better than this one. This dsd recording does not sound as real and three dimentional as others in my collection.Its bottom end is dull.

In short there is something about the sound that prevents me from investing my emotions totally in the music.

And thats a real pity because the talent of the players in undeniable and the Channel label makes great sacds for the most part.

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Review by tonereef March 4, 2014 (5 of 9 found this review helpful)
This isn't a review of the music because I found this disc unlistenable due to its highly ambient church mic'ing, which virtually eliminates any direct sound in favour of an all-enveloping resonance. I've listened to many string quartet SACDs and CDs with varying amounts of resonance, but this is the most extreme I can remember. So beware: if you prefer chamber music played in a space designed for chamber music, look elsewhere. The strings have no presence, virtually no image specificity, and completely transformed timbres - the cello for example is little more than a blob of sound. IMO it's a waste of SACD technology to record anything this way, because there's no detail for high-res to resolve (even on my highly resolving Stax headphone system). It's a wash, literally. Channel Classics evidently had second thoughts, because the follow-up Amsterdam String Quartet Haydn SACD was recorded in a different church and mic'd way closer, so that the ambience imparts a pleasing sense of continuity to the playing rather than drawing attention to itself, much less taking over. It sounds gorgeous.

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