This is a very useful collection of the major Dvorak quartets. The recordings were made in 1985 & 1995 (10 & 11); 1992-4 (Cypresses & 12); and 1983-4 (13 & 140. All are perfectly acceptable and the recorded sound should not form any reasonable obstacle to listening enjoyment. In particular there is no recorded harshness encountered when recording balances are too close. There is a believable ambiance maintained throughout the whole set.
The style of playing here is essentially lyrical with a forward pulse in the faster movements that adds to a strong sense of the dance. In short, one could observe that the music is propelled forward with a clear awareness of the folk dance inspiration of much of the music and that the melody lines are lyrical to the point of being singable in nature. The technique of the players is such that tuning and tonal control is never in doubt. This is quartet playing that seems entirely idiomatic in the sense that one could easily imagine it being just what Dvorak himself would have had in mind with this very Slavonic music.
The playing is sweeter and lighter on its feet than the series on Naxos played by the Vlach Quartet and is markedly different to that of the Pavel Haas Quartet view of a pair of quartets which emphasis the drama of the music at the expense of the folk-based lyricism of the works. All of these alternatives are recommendable and are well respected. However, this set by the Panocha Quartet is especially appealing in all the ways mentioned above.
This set offers a desirable compilation of the major quartets in notably idiomatic interpretations and is therefore very collectable
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