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Unlike the previous reviewer, I think that the Emerson's performances of these wonderful quartets were enjoyable and polished. Like him I prefer the rather gutsier Borodin performances. Both are, however, world class, and I don't think that a 1 star rating does anything like justice to this collection.
I should probably start this by saying that I love Shostakovich. That being said, I would highly recommend his string quartets to anyone, especially at this price. This set is a great bargain. I have no qualms with the quality of the recording. However, I did not realize when I bought it that this was a LIVE recording. I find the fact that the applause is included to be highly annoying. However, if you do not mind, then go for it!