Mozart: String Quartet in A major, K464; Beethoven: String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 127
For listeners who recall with fondness the glory days of the Amadeus Quartet, the Austrian-English ensemble active from 1947 through 1987, this disc coupling Mozart's "String Quartet in A major, K. 464," with Beethoven's "String Quartet in E flat major, Op. 127," from a 1956 live broadcast performance from the WDR of Köln will be most gratefully received. For those who don't, the Amadeus' sweet, vibrato-tinged tone, cogent but comfortable tempos, and easy but intense interplay may prompt them to rush out to hear more. As were the two studio recordings of the Mozart's "A major Quartet," the Amadeus' Mozart here is supremely elegant and wholly human, while its Beethoven E flat major, like its studio Beethoven, is completely relaxed yet totally focused. But unlike the studio recordings, the Amadeus live is slightly more driven and much more concentrated and the results are performances that may for some outshine the group's studio recordings. The monaural broadcast sound here is surprisingly clean considering its vintage, though of course it cannot touch the transparent stereo sound Deutsche Grammophon gave the Amadeus in the studio.