If you are looking for a set of the complete Beethoven String Quartets, track down Decca’s reissue of performances by the Takács Quartet. This ensemble was originally formed by four Hungarian music students in 1975. Forty years later, two founding members remain (second violinist Károly Schranz and cellist András Fejér). In the early 2000s they and two younger British musicians recorded this much-awarded Beethoven set. The mix of ages and cultural backgrounds in the quartet produced an ideal compromise between older European musical values and the detailed attack of newer ensembles. Beautifully recorded and, in the new reissue, sensibly packaged for collectors with space limitations, this is the definitive bargain box of this repertoire.

Conductor Karel Ančerl, a Jewish Czech musician, was one of the few people to survive Auschwitz (where he was sent from Theresienstadt in 1944). Ančerl made many recordings for Supraphon, predictably of Czech music but also some highly acclaimed Stravinsky. He took over the Czech...

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