Bartok Quartet: Beethoven SQ Op. 18 No. 4 + Lajtha Cinq Etudes - Hungaroton LPX 1120
Jacket VG / LP NM / Hungarian pressing
This handsome LP from Hungaroton (LPX 1120, Hungarian pressing, yellow label, stereo) features the Bartok Quartet’s magnificent accounts of Ludwig van Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 4 in C minor Op. 18 No. 4 and Laszlo Lajtha’s Cinq études pour quatuor à cordes (String Quartet No. 5), both works vivdly recorded in Budapest in the early 1960s.
At this time, the Bartok Quartet’s roster boasted leader Péter Kolmós, 2nd violinist Sándor Devich, violist Géza Németh, and cellist Károly Botvay.
No less absorbing is the haunting quartet of Laszlo Lajhta, a marvelous piece of quartet writing in 4 movements, with a particularly evocative Molto tranquillo slow movement. His compatriot Bartok remains the most obvious model, but Lajhta’s work betrays a Gallic influence as well, reflecting the composer’s deep esteem for Debussy. In the end, he remains his own man, with a work that holds its own, both in inventiveness and craftsmanship, with any number of 20th Century quartets in the central repertoire. A real find.
There are informative liner notes (uncredited) on the reverse side of the jacket, provided in German, Hungarian, and English. The striking cover photo of the Bartok Quartet is uncredited.
The condition of the jacket is VERY GOOD. There is wear and discoloration along the edges, as well as aging and general wear. However, there are no seamsplits or owners' markings and the album remains very solid, bright, and attractive – in all, a very good collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is near-MINT. Though the surfaces are not perfectly silent (and thus I have rated it NM vs. MINT) this is a fine copy and playback is superb. If you must have perfect surfaces, then please do not buy this LP. Overall, this rates as a NM collector's copy.