New Orford – New Brahms

I found this to be a deceptively simple recording. Last count had 58 recordings of Brahms’ Op. 51 quartets, so competition’s stiff. The first few times I listened to the New Orford recording, I thought it sat somewhere in the middle of the pack — well-played, but not especially noteworthy.

But then I started listening more closely, and more critically. I realized that what the New Orford brings to these works are transparent performances. Their interpretation seemed more concerned with serving the music, rather than making a mark on it.

The New Orford has a near-perfect ensemble blend that to my ears made it seem as if I was listening to a single instrument, rather than four. If you want to introduce someone to these works, this recording is a great place to start. The New Orford Quartet delivers solid performances of these works — performances that I appreciate more with every hearing.

Johannes Brahms: String Quartet Nos. 1 and 2, Op. 51
New Orford String Quartet
Bridge Records 9464

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