Mozart: The Last Four String Quartets Volume 1

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"Well, he is certainly late and without doubt great, but I'm really referring to these two beautiful string quartets, played here with warm and mellifluous dedication by the rightly lauded Chilingirian Quartet. The D maj K.499 'Hoffmeister' has claims to be the single string quartet I would want to keep if I could only have one example of the form. This recording is as near-perfect as the one by the equally superb Belcea Quartet, which I also highly recommend. Each of these two works lasts roughly twenty-five minutes, so there is plenty of space for the mature Mozart - into his wizened thirties by this time - to explore melody, mood and dynamic, and this he does to sublime effect. Both these exceptional works are played on this 1983 recording (in a church in Holborn, London) with enough of a mix of brio and the necessary ambivalent sense of melancholy, never too far away, to both charm and arrest the listener. There may well be recordings and performances of these quartets that are more up to the minute in technological terms, or have a more incisive thrust to them, but to be quite frank, I don't need to hear them. What Mozart intended and composed can be found in full measure in these devoted performances. The booklet notes (only in English) are comprehensive and excellent, and I can only urge lovers of this repertoire to hear what the members of the Chilingirian do with it. It is all I could wish for."-KaleHawkwood

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