Bartók’s complete string quartets, as played by the Végh Quartet back in 1954, is still the best interpretation of this fabulous musical encapsulation of the 20th century. The first Quartet (1907) glorifies Beethoven’s 16th, while the sixth closes with the quarter tones of a wistful (mesto) and gradually etiolating refrain. In turn expressionist, with Webern-like denseness, then discursive, exploiting timbre to the full, the rural undercurrent is magnified, its acoustic scale and inventive rhythms inspired by contemporary music from central Europe, Turkey and North Africa. In all, a sense of powerful authenticity: a genuine transfiguration.
Remastered from studio first stereo recordings (1954)
PRD 250 358