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It's all about the music, dude! Sit down, relax and listen to some tunes.

OK - here goes

I thought the 1949 Julliard performances of the 5th and 6th Quartets were wonderful - amazing sound quality for that era, and the intonation and general command of the rhetoric of the two works are no less amazing! It's all the more impressive because this was a time well before the era of electronic tuners which help so many of today's string players "tune" their ears! Those Julliard players had obviously tuned their ears natur'ly! ;-)

Having said that however, I remain as before in my opinions about these works - and I think we got off the track just a bit on this element of the discussion: I like the Bartok Quartets OK, but I still think they're overrated. My favorite is probably the Sixth, because it builds its structures in a more patient, inevitable way compared to the other works, which sometimes seem to flit from one idea to another and undermine their own continuity. Well (you say), maybe that's what Bartok was after. I don't disagree - maybe it WAS what he was after. But it's certainly not always on MY wavelength. ;-)

I was playing the Fifth Quartet when Madeline came back from shopping. The fourth movement was playing as she entered the room and commented, "Ooh! Ugly!". Later on, in the fifth movement, where that little children's theme appears just before the end, she exclaimed, "OMG! That is SO lame!". Nevertheless, she was also amazed at how good those 1949 recordings were!

Regarding the Scherchen Beethoven Fifth with the RPO, I was very surprised that the articulation was so clear at the breakneck speeds he was taking (except in the second movement). Big thumbs up for this aspect of the performance! Nevertheless, I feel a lack of tonal weight in this performance/recording, and I really miss it. This missing weight of tone makes the performance sound somewhat small scaled (to me anyway). Again, the performance has some good qualities, but it wouldn't be among my faves.

Thanks all I can say at this point.


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