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Penguin Guide, January 2009

HAYDN: String Quartets Op. 64, Nos. 1- 3 8.550673
HAYDN: String Quartets Op. 64, Nos. 4 - 6 8.550674

These Kodály performances are all enjoyable, but the set seems to get better and better as it progresses. Op. 64/1–3 were recorded on 25–29 April 1192; the last to be done, the B flat major, is remarkably successful, with a vigorous opening Vivace assai and a rapt Adagio. The other three works were taped on 1–3 May, and clearly the group had found its top form. The Adagio cantabile e sostenuto of No. 4 finds them at their most concentrated: the Lark has never soared aloft more spontaneously and the Minuet and finale of No. 6 close the set in a winningly spirited fashion. The warm acoustics of the Budapest Unitarian Church provide a mellow and expansive sound-image, but not an orchestral one, and detail remains clear. A most enjoyable set.

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