Recording of the Week Lindsays lead the bargains
To welcome in the New Year we’ve just started one of our very occasional Half Price Special Offers. Amongst other things it includes virtually the entire catalogue of the Lindsays, including both of their Beethoven String Quartet cycles as well as their highly acclaimed Haydn Quartet series.
The Lindsays disbanded and went their separate ways back in 2005, and soon after that their record label (ASV – part of a group called Sanctuary) was bought by Universal (the major which also owns Decca, DG and Philips). It was bought for the pop rather than the classical side and resulted in all the classical catalogue disappearing overnight. Since then it has gradually been trickling back and most (but not all) of the very good recordings are now available again, including almost all the recordings made by the Lindsays.
Of their two Beethoven Quartet cycles the second one (completed in 2003) is generally considered superior to the first (late 1970s) one, although before it appeared, their first cycle was still considered one of the best cycles on record, winning a Gramophone Award amongst other things. I was reading about the TV presenter John Suchet recently (who has written several books on Beethoven). He laments the fact that he had waited until his fifties before discovering Beethoven’s String Quartets. He had previously felt frightened by them but in hindsight now regrets missing out on thirty years of listening time! I think there is a certain aura about the quartets - particularly the late ones - which gives some people this view, but it really is misplaced and I’d urge anyone to get to know them, and with these Lindsays recordings currently at half price, there has never been a better time to start.
After my glowing appraisal of the Quatuor Mosaïques’ Haydn recordings late last year (Newsletter 11th Nov 08) I was accosted by Presto Classical’s owner about how I could write a whole article on Haydn Quartets and not mention the Lindsays. I suppose it comes down to how you want your Haydn to sound. For me the purity of the Mosaïques’ sound combined with their suppleness of phrasing and dynamics is a winning formula, but I have to admit that if you want to go right to the heart of the music, the depth of understanding which the Lindsays demonstrate throughout their Haydn recordings is unparalleled. They haven’t recorded a complete cycle, but all the most important ones are available and there are several Penguin Rosettes and Building a Library Recommendations amongst them.
Half Price Lindsays recordings: