Beethoven: Quartet No. 4, Op. 18
(the Paganini String Quartet; Victor, 6 sides). Robert Maas, onetime cellist with the famed Pro Arte Quartet, founded the crack Paganini Quartet three years ago. In this recording, the last one made before his death, he has left the most finished performance on records of Beethoven's passionate early quartet. Recording: excellent.
Gould: Spirituals for Orchestra (the Philharmonic-Symphony of New York, Artur Rodzinski conducting; Columbia, 6 sides). Composer Morton Gould, a master of syrupy orchestration, has sweetened this music (some of it his own) until it smacks more of cotton candy than hominy grits. Performance and recording: good.