I’ve been on a reading kick, as you may recall from this earlier entry, and I’m also finding new recordings (both newly recorded and oldies reissued) and have found an example of each that you should definitely check out.
First, the new:
The Artemis Quartet, based in Berlin, has been one of my favorite quartets for some time now, largely due to their variety of interesting projects, including an amazing album of Piazzolla transcriptions, and their recent recording of the complete quartets of Beethoven. Their latest recording, of the last three Schubert quartets, is simply stunning. Beautifully homogeneous playing, a superb sonic conception, and well thought-out interpretations make this recording a must-buy.
Now, for the old:
The Quartetto Italiano was the favorite group of my youth orchestra conductor (and one of the great musical influences of my life) Harry Davidson, and our listening tapes for chamber music class were almost invariably of this group. Only recently have I come back to this group and been astounded by what I’d been missing all these years. I have to say that their interpretations of the two great French string quartets are unparalleled to this day. Their Beethoven set and Brahms set are also highly regarded by connoisseurs.