David Saemann | 02/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This is not a reissue of the Budapest's stereo remakes of the Mozart Quintets. Rather these are monaural recordings from 1941-56, made when the Quartet was in better technical shape. The sound engineering is vivid throughout, even on Quintets 2 through 5 which were recorded on 78 rpm discs. The performances in general are quick and unsentimental, but with lovely tone quality and great energy. Even the early First Quintet, K. 174, is given a reading that fully appreciates the stature of the writing. As in Mozart's String Quartets, these are pieces that Mozart shared at home with his string playing friends--and the Budapest preserve both the intimacy of utterance and the grandeur of concept. The third CD in the set has reissues of stereo recordings I have on LP. The sound quality has been improved in the Clarinet Quintet, which was squeezed onto one LP side, while the other two works have been given good but not exceptional transfers. David Oppenheim, better known as a classical record producer for Columbia, is a good clarinetist, and the whole performance of the Quintet is both warm and subtle. Horszowski, the pianist in the First Quartet, is slower than George Szell in the classic Budapest recording from 1946, but this later performance has much to say in a warm and leisurely way. As for Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, it is played with verve and style. I was lucky enough to get my copy of this out of print set for $6, but it definitely is worth much more."