PLAYED BY THE GAUDEAMUS QUARTET
I picked this up some time in the 90s and loved it from the first listen. I’ve never heard a better version, although the Alban Berg Quartet’s recording is also pretty good.
Dating I think from 1967, this for me is a perfect combination of composition, performance and recording.
Running at about seven minutes in total, the Three Pieces capture in miniature the techniques of the maximalist ‘Rite of Spring’ and distill them down to their essence.
The performance is wonderful, with plenty of edge and no prettiness or romanticism.
There’s an immediacy to the recording which brings out the more astringent part of the bowing sound and is perfectly suited to Stravinsky’s music.
For me it all adds up to a magical recording- one which I return to again and again.
This doesn’t seem to be a very celebrated record, and I can find very little about it on the web. Even Discogs doesn’t give any date, although 1/6/’67 is scratched onto the runout of my copy…