MusicWeb International‘s Dominy Clements reviews our new Bartók & Kodály recording:
“Bartók’s string quartets are amongst the most superb and striking of the entire 20th century, and the ASQ does them proud in these performances. They nail the heightened folk-music intensity of a movement such as the finale of the String Quartet No. 3, and the sheer mass which opens the String Quartet No. 5 has an almost orchestral weight. Subtleties and those glorious nocturnal atmospheres which Bartók creates, extremes of colour and shading in the sound in all dynamics, the Alexander Quartet lives and breathes every aspect of this music as if their lives depended on it.
“Having lived with this package for some time I have to say it easily passes my ‘desert island’ test: in other words, if all my other versions were dumped onto a desert island and I was left on the mainland with only this one, I would be perfectly happy. The Alexander String Quartet has an eloquence and sense of natural communicativeness which seems to lift a layer of difficulty from these Bartók quartets … gaining a warmth of expression which welcomes you in to this world of magic. Yes, brutality and dissonance isn’t shied away from, but neither is it presented as some kind of avant-garde motivational essence for these quartets. The ASQ’s Bartók/Kodály set is very much one to acquire for long-term appreciation.” — Dominy Clements, MusicWeb International
Read the full review on MusicWeb-International.com