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A most enchanting disc!
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Containing Dvorak’s Sextet and his two Terzetto’s for strings, the last being a transcription by the composer himself of the Romantic pieces, the music is wonderfully lyrical and often of a sunny nature. The reading of the Sextet is given in a relaxed manner that one wonders how the players find as much around the notes as they do given the actual tempo is not really so relaxed; the hazards of perception as opposed to reality! One reason that the notes sound completely without a harried character is the spacing of the instruments around the listener for the extra space the surrounding placement affords the ear an ease of picking out all the lines with far greater ease than one would normally hear in concert or in stereo. Swapping between the two layers provides subjective confirmation and although not definitive proof, the playing does acquire a more smiling presence when scattered around the listener.

The playing of the Auryn Quartet and guests is very alluring indeed; there is not a tonal lapse to be heard throughout any of the three works. Their phrasing is very natural sounding, balancing the longer line with the more immediate phrasing exquisitely. Their skill of playing the Romantic Pieces arrangement is so successful that one rarely (if ever) misses the extra range of tessitura that the piano brings. Indeed, so well played is this account that this listener is tempted to supplant this version in his affections from that of the original. The dynamic range of the players is judged carefully so as to not transform “simple”, folk-inspired, music into high Romantic drama and the overall effect is to calm the soul. I found this delightful but there may be some who prefer a bit more zest in the faster movements; each approach can be enjoyable when done well & so it proves to be here.

In terms of actual placement when listening in surround, which this listener found to be highly effective, the layouts of three works are as follows:

Sextet: Violin 1/2 (in front of listener), Viola 2/1 (beside the listener), Cello 1/2 (behind the listener)

Terzetto Op. 74: Viola (in front), Violin 1/2 (beside the listener)

Terzetto Op. 75a: Violin 1/2 (beside the listener), Viola (behind)

In terms of timbre the Tacet sound is highly revealing (there are only good things here to reveal, fortunately!) and the mind revels in the textures as they are spun around the head.

Highly recommended.

John Broggio

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