EDITORS CHOICE – GRAMOPHONE September 2016 The opening movement of Op 44 No 1 has just the right sense of unfettered exultation, with plenty of warmth without any loss of clarity. Throughout, you’re aware of characterful individual contributions within an impeccable ensemble. In the slow third movement the Parker are utterly poetic, the first violin a degree more restrained in terms of vibrato than the Cecilia’s, while the touches of rubato are unerringly judged. The Parker take the joyous Presto a degree faster than the Cecilia, yet never sound breathless, compared to which the tangily characteristic period-instrument Eroica tread a middle ground.
They capture the very different character of Op 44 No 3 equally vividly, relishing the harmonic crunches that spice the first movement. Throughout, the Parker’s reactivity makes for the most engaging music-making, be it in the slow movement or the scherzo, where they balance drive and play. The immediacy of the Parker’s playing is matched by the immediacy of sound and altogether this is a delectable addition to the Mendelssohn quartet discography. Harriet Smith, Gramophone