The Léner Quartet's groundbreaking Beethoven
Remastered for finest sound quality
The Léner Quartet has become something of a legend amongst string quartets. Founded in Budapest in 1918, though based for most of their career in London, they made the first of some 450 recorded 78rpm sides in 1923. They began the first ever recorded cycle of Beethoven Quartets for Columbia in 1927, the centenary of Beethoven's death, setting the established standard for these works.
Amazingly, very few of their recordings have been restored to the catalogue; their Beethoven cycle was issued in Japan only in the late 1990's but quickly slipped back out of the catalogue. Perhaps one reason for this is hinted at in an article from the All Music Guide, which states: "By 1950, the Léner Quartet recordings, mostly made in the 1920s, must have seemed ancient by comparison as the group favored a broad, fat string tone more readily associated with arch-Romantic performance practice. Nonetheless, this is precisely why some of the Léner Quartet recordings are being revived on CD more than 50 years after they were largely regarded as obsolete artifacts belonging to a bygone era. While the Léner Quartet's approach to Classical-era literature may seem a bit too precious, the recordings of the late Beethoven quartets and works by Brahms, Dvorák, and similar repertoire directly comes from the heart of the late-Romantic idiom. This group of recordings within the extensive body of work left by the Léner Quartet represent an authoritative interpretive viewpoint on late-Romantic quartet literature and warrant revival."
I hope that this Pristine Audio Natural Sound restoration will help to put the quartet firmly back on the map of the great string quartets of the twentieth century.Andrew Rose
BEETHOVEN String Quartet No. 5 in A major, Op. 18 No. 5
Janos Léner, violin
Jozsef Smilovits, violin
Sándor Roth, viola
Imre Hartmann, cello
Recorded in 1936, released as UK Columbia LX 611-3
Matrix Nos CAX 7821-6, all first takes
A Pristine Audio Natural Sound restoration by Andrew Rose