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Discussion: String Quartets, Vol. III: Haydn - Nordheim - Bartok

Posts: 6

Post by Beagle February 17, 2013 (1 of 6)
It is good to see this disc, volume III to Haydn, Solberg, Grieg: String Quartets - Engegård Quartet and Beethoven, Nordheim, Bartok: String Quartets - Engegårdkvartetten: forming a kind of 'patchwork series'. This sort of mixed offering, i.e. more than one composer on a single disc, used to be referred to as "a hybrid disc" -- that term as we know has now been usurped by CD/SACD platters. My preference is for unmixed blessings, but the Engegårders are SO good, I won't complain.

Even better news: "The great quartets of Joseph Haydn are an ongoing project...". If I live to see a box set from them, I'll gladly cash my Old Age Security cheque to buy it.

Post by Beagle May 9, 2013 (2 of 6)
Engegård 'Blue' arrived today, and it's love at first sound: crisp but with warm depths.

The 2L choice of venue (small ensemble in large space) works wonderfully, e.g. no phantom cello reflections on the wrong side of the stage etc. The cello is definitely in the classic right-hand position -- but on a raised platform, so that the cello -holes are at the same height as the higher instruments. And I note that the quartet is arranged in one of my favourite alternative seatings: viola, violin1, violin2, cello; this gets a nice stereo separation between the two violins while bringing the less-audible lower strings to the fore. This works especially well for the Bartók where the low voices dominate.

Warmly recommended!

Beagle on the Rock

Post by Lute May 9, 2013 (3 of 6)
Beagle said:

Even better news: "The great quartets of Joseph Haydn are an ongoing project...".

I haven't heard any of those yet. But that IS good news! Sometimes I am a little slow to get new releases. ;-) Recently I got Haydn: Famous String Quartets - Gewandhaus-Quartett ...and love it! It would be nice to see (and hear) the Gewandhaus-Quartett release some more Haydn on SACD as well. One can't get enough of Haydn's quartets. I am sure I will be adding 2L's series to my collection...hopefully sooner rather than later. 2L has spectacular sound. I also recently got Grieg: Choral Music - Grex Vocalis. And as Polly says "with singing of this quality and purity few would object to having front row seats".

Post by hanser May 10, 2013 (4 of 6)
Beagle said:

Engegård 'Blue' arrived today, and it's love at first sound: crisp but with warm depths.

The 2L choice of venue (small ensemble in large space) works wonderfully, e.g. no phantom cello reflections on the wrong side of the stage etc. The cello is definitely in the classic right-hand position -- but on a raised platform, so that the cello -holes are at the same height as the higher instruments. And I note that the quartet is arranged in one of my favourite alternative seatings: viola, violin1, violin2, cello; this gets a nice stereo separation between the two violins while bringing the less-audible lower strings to the fore. This works especially well for the Bartók where the low voices dominate.

Warmly recommended!

Beagle on the Rock

Hi,

are you talking about stereo or multichannel? I am a bit confused, how there can be stereo seperation between the violins, when they are both almost together in the middle of the stereo panorama. Or are you talking about MC, where 2L is famous for placing one instrument per quadrant?

Post by Beagle May 10, 2013 (5 of 6)
Hello Hanser,

The two violins are less "almost together" in the back-left/back-right positions than in the classic front-left/back-left positions, i.e. the alternative seating leaves more left-right space between them. The booklet shows the seats as a flattened arch (not a 4-quarters circle) facing three front mikes and two more mikes set well back. (I listen in stereo with separately amplified Hafler circuit.)

Post by Beagle May 10, 2013 (6 of 6)
Hi Lute,

I'm glad to hear that you are enjoying Papa Haydn; I think he could easily lay claim to the "Most Enjoyable Classical Composer" title. Here is a link to the list which I compiled in 2011 of Haydn quartets on SA-CD: http://hmv.sa-cd.net/showthread/68337/68459.

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