Bel­cea Quar­tet EMI Clas­sics 394 4002 (2 CDs)

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - Music Reviews - MICHAEL DER­VAN

The Bel­cea Quar­tet, now on disc with a new cel­list (An­toine Led­er­lin re­plac­ing Alas­dair Tait), re­main an ensem­ble that like to ex­plore ex­tremes. In this new record­ing of the six quar­tets of Béla Bartók, the sin­gle most highly re­garded body of quar­tets the 20th cen­tury pro­duced, the Bel­ceas take very much a 21st-cen­tury approach, lav­ish­ing all the qual­i­ties of melt and dis­solve, of colour­ing and shad­ing, that string play­ers have ac­quired in deal­ing with more re­cent reper­toire. The ef­fect is tonally rav­ish­ing in ways the com­poser is un­likely ever to have imag­ined, though, para­dox­i­cally, for all its ex­tra­or­di­nary fi­nesse, the out­come is some­times what you would have to call Bartók-lite. www.emi­clas­

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