Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
op. 76/3, “Emperor”; op. 76/4, “Sunrise.”
String Quartet in A,
PENTATONE 5186 189 (SACD: 79:26)
Italiano’s quadraphonic 1970s Beethoven recordings for Philips have been trickling out in four-channel remasterings courtesy of PentaTone. I don’t know whether the use of one of the op. 18 quartets as filler in this Haydn release suggests that PentaTone is running out of quad masters, or if, conversely, there are many more riches to come. Whatever the circumstances, this release is as welcome as its predecessors. The Haydn is vigorous and rich, but not too thick and beefy; when required, delicate, but not prissy; eventfully phrased, but not mannered. The group has particular fun with the hurdy-gurdy episode in the first movement of the “Emperor” Quartet, without overplaying it. There’s some odd tonal shading in the second movement, but otherwise, throughout this disc, the fast playing is reasonably lean, bright, energetic, and incisive, and the slow playing is warm and lyrical. The rear channels are used for ambience and atmosphere only. If you are equipped for four-channel SACD playback, do not hesitate to acquire this disc.
FANFARE: James Reel
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