Miss this one at your peril.

I've been raving about this group since the German label Audite released the first volume in their Beethoven string quartet cycle. The Quartetto di Cremona is absolutely the full Mediterranean Monty with their big, open, attacking sound, robust and muscular projection, hyper-confidence of comprehension and delivery.

All of their strengths are enshrined in this sensational set of performances, with the nervy edge in opus 18, no 4, the fast-flowing opening cello theme of opus 59 no 1, and, fantastically, in the brilliant, grinding opening and spine-tingling playing throughout a truly great, wonderfully structured and gripping account of opus 133, the Great Fugue. If you can get through this lot without your hair standing on end, see your doctor. I've already suggested they are the natural successors to the late Quartetto Italiano. This is all the confirmation I ever needed. I'm deliberately jumping the gun here: it's due out on June 2. Be ready.

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Michael Tumelty