Naxos Brahms reviewed

09 September 2016 / News

Our brand new CD release for Naxos, Brahms String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2, is the first in a series of three in the pipeline covering the string quartets and quintets of Johannes Brahms and has received glowing reviews in the first weeks of its release. Here is an extract from the review in ‘Classics Today’, regarded by founder and Head of Naxos, Klaus Heymann as “the most important classical review platform in the United States”:

There is no holding back in these performances: the NZSQ literally attacks and wrestles Brahms’ scores to the ground – a positive, friendly intervention, for the good of all concerned. These performances should not disappoint any listener, whether you hate Brahms or love his music, because they take you out of the realm of preconception and just deliver aggressive, uninhibited, and yes, passionate expressions of these scores, respectful of the composer while always working to realize the fullness of the music that Brahms struggled so long and hard to create.  

Closer to home, New Zealand Herald reviewer William Dart gives it a 5/5 and the verdict “Homegrown Brahms shows Kiwi quartet at its best”, while the verdict in the Otago Daily Times, was “Treat for chamber music fans.”

We recorded this disc back in 2014 at St Anne’s Church in Toronto with producers Bonnie and Norbert Kraft. Reviewers have mentioned the sense of creative collaboration that comes from many years of playing together as an ensemble, so it is wonderful to listen back on the work we did on this recording with our long-term colleague Doug Beilman as second violinist.  

Rolf has this to say about the two quartets on this recording:

“Brahms discarded over twenty string quartets before he finally felt satisfied to publish his two Opus 51 quartets in C minor and A minor respectively. On an emotional level, these magnificent works complement each other beautifully.  The C minor's passionate outer movements and soaring romantic slow movement form an ideal contrast to the poetic, introspective and probing A minor quartet with its brilliant finale.  These works bridge the gap of quartet masterpieces from late Beethoven and Schubert to those of Bartok and Shostakovich.”

We’ll have copies of the CD for sale at our concerts on the Chamber Music New Zealand QuintEssence tour, and you can also contact us at the NZSQ office to order a copy nzsq@nzsq.org.nz

We are extremely grateful for the financial support we received from Peter and Carolyn Diessl, and from Victoria University of Wellington, which made these recordings possible. We do hope you’ll explore this wonderful music with us!

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