Walden Quartet: Kodaly Op. 10 & Szymanowski Op. 37 String Qts - Lyrichord LL 22
Jacket NM / LP NM / US pressing
This lovely LP – a superb collector’s copy – from Lyrichord (LL 22, US pressing, black/silver label, stereo) features the eminent Walden Quartet of the University of Illinois in magnificent accounts of Zoltan Kodaly’s String Quartet No. 2 Op. 10 and Karol Szymanowski’s String Quartet in C Major Op. 37, the latter in particular quite rare on record at the time this forward-looking album was issued, circa 1960.
Kodaly’s String Quartet No. 2 Op. 10 has been well-served on record, with brilliant renditions by no less than the Hollywood, Vegh, Hungarian, and – more recently – Hagen Quartets. The Walden’s reading is no less masterly, wholly within Kodaly’s soundworld. The Szymanowski is arguarbly even finer, a remarkable achievement given that the the work had an even barer performing tradition, at least outside of Poland.
The Walden Quartet of the University of Illinois was comprised of violinists Homer Schmitt and Bernard Goodman, violist John Garvey, and cellist Robert Swenson.
There are informative liner notes (uncredited) on the reverse side of the jacket, provided in English only. The striking cover art is similarly uncredited, alas.
Those unfamiliar with Lyrichord pressings would do well to seek them out. Aside from truly fine production standards, they typically features artists who, if not marquee names, were nonetheless exceptionally talented individuals who might have enjoyed greater renown had they been luckier or had they sought such fame.
The gradations of condition I use are as follows: MINT, Near-Mint, Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor.
The condition of the front laminated jacket is near-MINT. There is minuscule wear at corners, but that is all. There are no seamsplits, bends, owners' markings, or other defects, and the album remains solid, bright, glossy, and highly attractive – overall, an outstanding collector's copy.
The condition of the LP itself is near-MINT. Although surfaces are not completely silent (and thus I have rated it NM vs. MINT), this is a fine copy and playback is superb. However, if you must have perfect surfaces, then please do not buy this LP – this is a lovely collector's copy.