, June 2001
Listening to this fine CD I felt again that, during his last 20 years, Vagn Holmboe (1909-96) was the greatest quartet-writer alive. Of course, I haven't heard all the quartets written in the last quarter of the last century...That quartet, like the others, doesn't have the range of Shostakovich or Bartok, but Holmboe was after something fundamentally different, involving a refinement to the point of disappearance, a contrapuntal technique so clear that it became elemental, with an emotional force all the stronger for its deceptive simplicity.
These quartets are like water: the purest water in all its natural forms - stream, river, lake, sea; torrent, shower, drizzle, mist. Like water, this music seems basic to life, and never to be taken for granted...
The performances are fluid, engaging, and delivered with thorough understanding...
The third movement of No. 14 is too fast; but most other tempos are well chosen. In No. 15's first movement, the motto rhythm has more varied interpretation than I'd like. But the overall performance is impressive."