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(...) The Auryn Quartet plays both Op. 51 quartets with an ease and confidence that enable the listener to forget the composer's manufactured complexities. Their tone is sufficiently dark to remind the listener that Brahms is, after all, a Romantic composer. They play with a slight legato, giving the music a greater sense of flow. The members of the Auryn engage in a mutual conversation that never seems to be forced. But they always provide that necessary spirit of inwardness that is the most unique aspect of Brahms' music.
The final string quartet that Brahms composed, the String Quartet in B flat major Op. 67, is his sunniest and most accessible. Here darkness gives way to the innocence and joy of nature with the added excitement of the hunt. This quartet owes its beautiful disposition to Haydn for there is much in its playfulness and effortless flow of melody that is reminiscent of the great Classical composer. Composed in 1875 it was immediately popular and has remained so. Brahms himself considered it his best string quartet. The Auryn Quartet really shines in their performance of this piece. They play it with such finesse and grace that one smiles throughout the work, usually yielding to the temptation to replay it. It is a fitting end to a splendid disc.
The sound quality of this audio DVD is simply superb, with an immediacy and presence that gives one the illusion of a live performance. The soundfield is both wide and deep, all around you - using Tacet's "Real Surround Sound" which places the listener in the midst of the quartet. Each of the four instruments is in its own definite aural space while allowing each one to bloom. Tacet specializes in this form of surround sound and the results are excellent. And all three quartets are offered on a single audio DVD, making it a bargain as well if you have DVD-A playback capability.
Mike Birman

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