“Quartet No. 1 (1938) played by the Alexanders has a beauty we won’t often hear from it. There’s plenty of vigor when it’s called for — vigor is not synonymous with intensity—but there is an intoxicating lyrical spirit that controls the performance.
“The Alexanders show us how much more emotional profundity comes from Shostakovich’s quartets when musicians use more restraint in bringing a specific agenda to them. The Alexanders have great confidence in this music, which breathes in this performance. They are making me admire these quartets more than I ever have. There is an overall warmth, both emotional and sonic, that I don’t remember. Highly respected recording engineer Judith Sherman is a full partner here, as she often is.
“Again, we have a clear sense that it is the music rather than the musicians that is in control, which inexplicably deepens the listening experience. This is an illusion, of course, which is a credit to the Alexanders.” — Bob Neill, Positive Feedback Online
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