And strange that Stuart Sillitoe in his review did not mention it. I'm not at all in the business of sniping at our reviewers (they are too valuable for that!), but Stuart's review did strike me as an odd one. He mentions both sets of the Borodin Quartet's recordings (and both are, in my view, indispensable) but then he doesn't offer much in the way of a more detailed comparison between the Borodin's and the Quatuor Danel recordings. And his final judgment is that the Quatuor Danel set trumps both Borodin sets on account of superior recording quality. However I thought the recording quality was really something pretty terrible. I simply couldn't listen to it! Whereas - and again my personal view - the later Borodin Quartet set has an especially fine recording quality (and contains an exceptional set of performances).
Ah well, as Heraclitus might have said, all 'truths' are relative.
Strange also that no mention was made of other Shostakovich recordings. Maybe it is not a thing to boast about, but I happen to have 13 different complete sets sitting on my shelves (I gulped when I counted them up just now). In my view all 13 are preferable to the Quatuor Danel in terms of recording quality (I just can't judge their performances because I simply couldn't listen to the things - I found it frustrating and even painful). And among those 13 I'd single out the Alexander Quartet. together with the Fitzwilliams, the Mandelring, and the Sorrel Quartet recordings as providing especial satisfaction. I'm also keeping fingers tightly crossed that the Carducci Quartet, whose complete cycle I heard over a wonderful weekend at Aldeburgh last year, will be able to complete their recorded set. Simply on account of the wretched sound of it there just isn't a place there for the Quatuor Danel set - which is a great pity, but damn and blast the recording engineers responsible for it! I'm always keen to learn from contrary views, but in this case I find it difficult to understand the basis on which Stuart is enthusiastic about the Quatuor Danel set.
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