- String Quartet No. 6 in D major, Sz. 114, BB 119
- String Quartet No. 4 in C major, Sz. 91, BB 95
- String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Sz. 67, BB 75 (Op. 17)
- String Quartet No. 5 in B flat major, Sz. 102, BB 110
- String Quartet No. 3 in C sharp major, Sz. 85, BB 93
- String Quartet No. 1 in A minor, Sz. 40, BB 52 (Op. 7)
- Want it by Thursday, October 18? Order by 12:00 PM Eastern and choose Expedited Shipping at checkout.
The six string quartets of Béla Bartók mark a high point in the genre, and even though their myriad technical demands, rhythmic complexity, and bracing dissonances are no longer obstacles to frequent performance, they still present a major challenge for any string quartet. The Heath Quartet has been performing since 2002, and it has considerable experience with repertoire ranging from Beethoven to contemporary music, though this 2017 set on Harmonia Mundi shows that even after 15 years of music-making, these musicians can still be in awe of Bartók's achievement. There can be no doubt about the Heath's proficiency, because the playing is quite clean and precise throughout, and the virtuosity needed to play the knottiest passages, as found in the tight counterpoint of the "String Quartet No. 3" and the "String Quartet No. 4," is clearly evident in these performances. Yet at times the Heath seems to approach Bartók with a nervous edge, which seems exposed in the more delicate writing of the desolate last movement of the "String Quartet No. 2," or the fragile "night music" movements of the "String Quartet No. 5," where the group's playing seems a bit hesitant. Even so, the Heath confronts the quartets with determination and passion, and the set is consistent in its energy and finesse. Harmonia Mundi's recording brings out the subtlest shadings and effects, and makes this one of the cleanest-sounding traversals of the quartets.
|Label:||Harmonia Mundi Fr.|