This is excellent quartet playing. Some listeners might well prefer a touch more rhythmic drive in, say, the first movements of the C major and E major quartets, but the Auryn's almost improvisatory spontaneity goes right to the heart of what fine chamber music performance is all about. For example, the tiny hesitations in the phrasing of the C major quartet's opening prepare us for, and explain, Haydn's harmonic surprises without ever telegraphing his intentions. Similarly in the amazing "Gypsy rhapsody" slow movement, despite the necessary prominence of the first violin, the other players truly react to him, surfacing now and then to suggest a hint of countermelody, or a touch of polyphony here and there. It's quite marvelous. The gorgeous slow movement of the E major quartet is magnificently sustained, while the soft ending of the G major quartet's finale is perfectly timed. Tacet's engineering, typically splendid, captures the tangy, resinous timbre of the quartet warmly and unobtrusively, letting the players rather than the microphones balance the ensemble. A beautiful disc, plain and simple.
David Hurwitz

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