S0128. BUDAPEST STRING QUARTET (Joseph Roisman, Alexander Schneider, Boris Kroyt, Mischa Schneider): The Late Quartets, incl. Ops.127, 131, 132 & 135; Op.18, #5 - Minuet (all Beethoven). (Austria) 2-Sony MH2K 62873, recorded 1940-42. Gatefold Jacket has Brochure, w.archival photos; Discs feature original Columbia 78rpm labels. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 0074646287323
“Some people at Sony have used their ears and eyes wisely to come up with ‘Masterworks Heritage’, a mid-price reissue series drawing on treasures from the Columbia/CBS/Epic vaults and packaging them not in the usual fragile, space-consuming jewel boxes, but in slim, sturdy cardboard folders that suggest the sleeves of old. Furthermore, the funky charming cover illustrations and disc label art of the original 78s and/or LPs is reproduced as well.
Sony has chosen interpretations not previously available on CD, most from monophonic recordings of the 1940s and '50s.”
- Herbert Glass, LOS ANGELES TIMES, 5 Jan., 1997
“As the classical-record business casts about in all directions these days, nothing happens in a vacuum. In a market hopelessly glutted with reissues and repackagings, any new recording competes not only with its contemporaries but also with virtually all of recorded history. Such, at least, is the case with Beethoven's string quartets.
Sony Classical, in its highly touted Masterworks Heritage series, offers its share of the Budapest's first cycle of the quartets, which Columbia picked up in the early ‘40s where HMV had left off in Europe. Here, available for the first time in more than four decades, are the Budapest's original studio recordings of the Quartets Nos. 1, 4, 6, 9 and 11 (MH2K 62870; two CD's), and Nos. 12, 14, 15 and 16 (MH2K 62873; two CD's; with the Minuet from the Quartet No. 5)….. expertly restored by Seth B. Winner Sound Studios
Still, it was those early studio recordings that defined the sound and style of the Beethoven quartets for many listeners a half-century ago: relatively airless, wiry and incomparably intense. The tension could only have been heightened by the limitation in these 78-rpm recordings to four-and-a-half-minute ‘takes’.
- James R. Oestreich, THE NEW YORK TIMES, 23 Nov., 1997