Recording of May 1997: Beethoven: The String Quartets JA on the sound

Sidebar: JA on the sound

String quartets are often not particularly well-served on record, the sparse scoring either being rendered too dry, too scratchy, or too "bathroomy." While DG's engineers have gone for a close perspective, resulting in full-bodied sound, the balance is still not in the listener's face. Personally, I would have liked a little more of the room to leak around the outlines of the instruments—as it does in the Op.59 performances—but this is still a fine recording overall.—John Atkinson