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Wolf, Grieg & Janacek String Quartets

NI6289
£14.99

Details

Hailed for its “precision, assertiveness and vigor” (The New York Times), its “gripping intensity” and “suspenseful and virtuoso playing” (San Francisco Classical Voice) and for a “hair-raising performance (Strad Magazine), the Amphion String Quartet is a winner of the 2011 Concert Artists Guild Victor Elmaleh Competition. The Quartet recently served as the Ernst Stiefel String Quartet-In-Residence at the Caramoor Festival for the 2012-13 season and has recently joined the roster of the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center CMS Two program.

Wolf, Grieg & Janacek String Quartets

Reviews

'The debut recording of this exciting young quartet brims with propulsive energy and raw drama. The players bring jaunty exuberance to Wolf’s “Italienische Serenade,” an epic sweep to Grieg’s String Quartet in G minor and fiery temperament to Janacek’s String Quartet No. 2.' The New York Times, February 2015

'The Wolf on this disc is tremendous, I think they make a really nice case for it...They play [the Janáček] extremely well, it's stunning that a quartet that is only five years old can play it that well...they are a very impressive quartet.' BBC Radio 3 CD Review, November 2014

'The Amphion has championed the Grieg on an excellent recent recording on Nimbus Records.' The New York Times, January 2015

'This is a really excellent release. For a relatively young ensemble the playing of the Amphion String Quartet is remarkably mature and displays impeccable intonation, unity and glorious musicality.' Michael Cookson, musicweb-international.com

"These young players based in New York boast a formidable range of accomplishments: perfect chording, beautifully matched tone, precise technical command and, as a group, a natural ability to shape the music elegantly and sensitive. Wolf's Italian Serenade has an admirable lightness, plus a wholly appropriate sense of fun. The Greig is characterised by strong rhythms, energy and clear textures, bringing out all the harmonic coloration. What is less emphasised is the work's dark side, the sense of a threatening environment behind the human drama. The Vertavo Quartet, recorded in 1998, lack something of the Amphion's easy élan, especially in the finale's Saltarello, but they do project the gloomy episodes more convincingly as well as finding an authentic folk style for the third movement's Trio section, and crucially, providing an appropriate level of intensity for the major-key return of the motto theme in the final coda, where the Amphion fail to rise to the occasion. The Janá ek similarly offers vivid contrasts of colour and texture, the lyrical phrases beautifully turned, and well thought-out tempo relationships. But here, too, I felt something was missing. Where the Amphion value textural clarity, the Pavel Haas Quartet, producing a denser, more intense sound, give their performance a compelling feeling of continuity. Especially in the finale, with so many apparently disjointed ideas, the more laidback Amphion performance cannot match the Czech quartet's sense of triumphant resolution. For all that, this is an outstanding group from whom I'm sure I will hear a great deal from in the future." Gramophone February 2015