Magyar Narancs: The Masters Collection: Tátrai Quartet
Those who – like the author of the present article – started to attend concerts in the early 1970s could still enjoy the special experience offered by the Tátrai string quartet. Their performances always featured spontaneity, and naturalness, breathing formation of melody, transparent sounding, lively characterization, and the liberty of the atmosphere of chamber music. As the band was formed in 1946, and its members reached adolescence before WW2 the Quartet – whose first violinist had Imre Waldbauer among his teachers – preserved, and passed on a great deal of the performance traditions of romantic roots that characterizes the great chamber music era of the first half of the century.
The triple album published by Hungaroton presents a series of treasures of the history of Hungarian artistic interpretation creating a particularly colourful picture of the quartet’s art. It was a wise decision to select recordings from their heydays, i.e. a little more than two decades between 1957 and 1978. The pieces chosen from even that limited period reflect an ideal degree of variety. As Haydn was the group’s stated favourite the album has two quartet recordings by him. Bartók is similarly represented by two string quartets (4th and 6th), and Kodály by his 2nd, and contemporary Hungarian music, which the Tátrai band likes to promote, is evoked through Lajtha’s splendid 10th quartet inspired by Transylvanian folklore. The list broadens into a tableau of Hungarian instrumental performing art of olden days by adding Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet in A major, Boccherini’s D major guitar quintet of Spanish flavour, and Dohnányi’s piano quintet in E flat minor. In the three former works Béla Kovács, László Szendrey-Karper, and Ernő Szegedi bring back the most enjoyable pieces of the Hungarian music of the era.
Source: Magyar Narancs