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Takacs Quartet: Bartok - String Quartets 2, 3 & 6

 NR (Not Rated)   DVD
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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4.0 out of 5 stars No other option May 26 2013
By David M. Goldberg TOP 500 REVIEWER
Verified Purchase
Bartok’s 6 string quartets, and Shostakovich’s 15 works in the same genre, have been compared with Beethoven’s 16 by many musicologists. I do not agree, as they never ------ whether early, middle or late --- reach the sublime heights attained by the last-named, but I would agree that they are the next-best that we have, and they stand head and shoulders above most string quartets that have seen the light of day since the dawn of the 20th Century. I first became acquainted with Bartok’s quartets when I purchased what I believe were the first two vinyl sets to be released in the ‘60s, recorded by the Vegh and Julliard ensembles. Over the years, I have added performances by the Fine Arts and Vermeer Quartets, and I have to say that I prefer all four to the present performances. Here I seem to be a voice in the wilderness, for their CDs have been highly praised by the critics of both Gramophone and Penguin, as well as by 3 out of 4 Amazon.com reviewers. Let me focus on what I perceive as their shortcomings. First and foremost, Bartok’s dense atonal scores come across initially as not much more than pure noise, but with patience and persistence, it does not take long to realize that buried quite deep in the welter of sound are haunting, wistful, cute or downright jolly melodies that one can recognize and actually hum. Listening to these works becomes an intriguing game of “spot the tune”, but to do so, the playing has to be of a very special quality that allows these melodies to sing through even when they are competing with the rough and rustic background in which they are embedded. I did not find sufficient clarity and due sense of emphasis required for this achievement in the playing of the Takacs. Not that they played badly, but simply that they did not play as well as performances that I prefer. Read more ›
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Jacket misinformation Oct. 12 2006
By Richard W. Yiengst - Published on Amazon.com
Great quartet playing with perfect give and take among the players. How-

ever the jacket as shown on Amazon is incorrect. The disc does not contain

Quartet #4. Just 3,2, and 6. Be aware of this if you order. Bartok is not easy listening, but it is worth the effort to listen, or some moving

experience will be missed.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Oct. 26 2006
By Peter T. Sipos - Published on Amazon.com
Highly recommended.

The playing is exciting and flawless. The sound (DTS and 2 channel) is perfect. The video is "high definition", though I'm not sure what is meant by that, since the disc isn't either HD-DVD or Blu-Ray. But whatever the technical meaning, the picture is crisp and full of color. The backdrop is a richly decorated victorian room, a feast for the eyes. The camera-work is varied but not too busy - just perfect. The introductory interviews are insightful and entertaining.

As far as Bartok's quartets (2, 3, and 6 on this recording), that's beyond the scope of this review. For anyone not familiar with them, a Google search is in order.

This is a VERY musically and visually satisfying disc. I hope they release the other three Bartok quartets soon.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Totally Biased Comment Aug. 1 2008
By C. Oran Ball - Published on Amazon.com
Verified Purchase
The reviews by Mr. Sipos and Mr. Blackburn are underwritten here. But, further:
Anyone who knew the Bartok quartets only through LPs, tapes, and
CDs, such as, heretofore, I, has a wonderful revelation forthcoming!
I have been listening to these marvelous compositions for well over
half a century. Now, in one blown-away sitting, the sixth quartet
has been remade for me! (You can tell that my bias is entire.)
I do believe that any who try this DVD will never judge Bartok's music
in the same way again!! I will clap at every showing!
4 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Buyer beware. July 23 2009
By Felipito - Published on Amazon.com
These are not live performances. The Quartet is miming to recordings. A major disappointment! Stick to the Cd's.
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