Brahms: String Quartets 1 & 3 / Borodin Quartet
With the String Quartet in c-minor, Op. 51, No. 1, the Borodins take a sensible time scale in the Allegro introduction wherein they accentuate the lyrical while de-emphasizing the dramatic, thusly realizing a very apprehensible presentation. The Russians achieve an especially ethereal ambience in the rare Romance. There is a joyous buoyancy with piquant pizzicati in the trio of the Allegretto, and a vivid intensity in the Finale where the lucidity of timing and phrasing aid in aesthetic perception. In the first movement of Brahms' Bb-major String Quartet, Op. 67, the Borodins achieve the longest timing on record (:11mins), exceeding the Austrian Alban Bergs by a full minute. They follow up with a rapturously ecstatic reading of the Andante which parallels the visions of the Emersons and the Melos, while actually coming in under the timings of the LaSalles, Amadeus, and ABQ. The Borodins nicely reveal the glassy am steg timbres (cf. Schönberg's Quartet No. 0) with the guitar-like pizzicati passages in the Allegretto. At :10mins. the Borodins' realization of the concluding set of Variations is again virtually the longest on record.