There have been a couple of rather exciting records recently of Vanhal symphonies; but this disc, though pleasant enough, is a good deal less arresting. These six quartets were written about 1770, for oboe or flute with strings, as domestic diversion or background entertainment music. They would still serve that purpose admirably; Vanhal was a polished composer, with a secure technique and a pleasing vein of melody. The first movements here, most of them in a moderately fast tempo, unwind with considerable charm — sometimes (as in No 2) the lines are quite elaborate, and several (for example, No 4) have a pleasant vein of wit. There are several expressive slow movements — an undemanding eloquence to the Cantabile of No 1 and real expressiveness in the Largo of No 5, for example. I liked the wit in some of the finales, such as No 3's, but there isn't really anything that grabs you, that really insists on your attention — Vanhal's world is just a little too conventional for that.