The Strad's experts evaluate the latest string recordings
Haydn: String Quartet in G major op.77 no.1, Dvořák: String Quartet in G major op.106
Monday, 01 March 2010
St Lawrence Quartet
ArtistShare AS 0100 (artistshare.com)
Two magnificent late quartets in G major by two great composers raise the expectations; but sadly, a lot of water has flowed down the St Lawrence since the eponymous ensemble began its career, and I fear a certain amount of erosion has taken place.
To put it bluntly, the intonation on offer here is not good enough for me to give even a cautious recommendation. One factor that has remained constant is engineer Judith Sherman’s ability to produce lifelike recordings, and the intonational failings of the players – especially leader Geoff Nuttall – are ruthlessly exposed.
The interpretations have the right ingredients – the Haydn is vigorous, Dvořák heartfelt – and there are nice dovetailings and taperings of phrases, such as one gets only from an experienced group. But pleasure is not the word for what I felt when listening to this disc, which comes with rudimentary presentation.
From the March 2010 issue. Subscribe to The Strad or download our digital edition as part of a 30-day free trial.