NEW MUSIC QUARTET Mendelssohn and Boccherini (1954/5) - PACM069

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NEW MUSIC QUARTET Mendelssohn and Boccherini (1954/5) - PACM069

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MENDELSSOHN String Quartets Nos 2 & 5

BOCCHERINI Four String Quartets

Recorded 1954/55
Total duration: 1hr 53:12

The New Music Quartet

This set contains the following albums:

Excellent double-set of Mendelssohn and Boccherini

The New Music Quartet - a short-lived but brilliant ensemble

These recordings are excellent examples of how well the better record companies adapted to and adopted the new technologies of the 1950s. Although the true advent of stereo was still to come, the rapid development of high quality tape and vinyl recording and reproduction helped to drive other advances in high fidelity recording equipment and techniques, with the net result being clear for anyone to hear.

The tendency was still to a certain dryness in studio recordings, especially in the field of chamber music - quite possibly a result of years of similar practise and expectations dating back to the age of acoustic recordings, which simply couldn't capture any easily audible room acoustics. Thus throughout the 78rpm age and into the early years of vinyl we still find quite dry and - to modern ears - slightly brittle or sterile recordings.

The judicious use of a modern convolution reverberation, reproducing exactly the acoustics of specific concert halls and venues, can greatly help in the enjoyment and appreciation of recordings such as this - the idea is not to swamp the instruments in echo, but rather to allow the string to resound more fully and in a more realistically rounded style as one would expect in a live performance environment.

This approach has worked particularly well here - take a listen to our Boccherini sample to hear what I mean. Despite the lack of precise stereo positioning (it remains, of course, a mono recording), the sound is full, clear and simultaneously contemporary and yet 55 years old. Ultimately it achieves - I trust - the goal of any restoration, which is to bring the listener closer to the music and performance, removing as much as possible in the way of sonic obstacles to enjoyment.

But that's all the boring technical stuff. What you need to know is that this is a truly superb quartet, playing at their height just before going their separate ways, and is absolutely not to be missed. Close to two full hours of uninterrupted musical pleasure awaits you!

Andrew Rose

  • MENDELSSOHN Quartet No 2 in A minor, Op. 13
    Recorded 7th January, 1954
  • MENDELSSOHN Quartet No 5 in E flat, Op. 44, No. 3
    Recorded 27th May 1954
    Issued as Columbia Masterworks ML 4921

  • BOCCHERINI Quartet in B minor, Op.58, No.4, G.245
    Recorded 11th May 1955
  • BOCCHERINI Quartet in B-flat, Op.2, No.2, G.160
    Recorded 11th May 1955
  • BOCCHERINI Quartet in E-flat, Op.53, No.1, G.236
    Recorded 19th May, 1955
  • BOCCHERINI Quartet in E-flat, Op.58, No.2, G.243
    Recorded 19th May, 1955
    Columbia 30th Street Studios, New York
    Issued as Columbia Masterworks ML 5047

 The New Music Quartet:
Broadus Erle, violin
Mathew Raimondi, violin
Walter Trampler,, viola
Claus Adam,
cello (Mendelssohn)
David Soyer, cello (Boccherini)