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Stephen Francis Vasta
MusicWeb International, January 2013

The Vlach players…allow the textures to blossom from the interplay of individual lines. They certainly know how to “land” the big homophonic moments, as their direct, energetic attack at 1:19 of the scherzo demonstrates.

This performance of [the first movement] sounds well-organized and expressive. The opening attack, while gentle, is forthright, the long-breathed cantabile theme already moving with clear purpose. The second theme’s dotted rhythms at 1:39 are lithe and springy, yet unobtrusively projected; the third subject, counterpoint and all, is delicately intoned.

In the Andantino, the players explore a nuanced palette of colours and dynamics. The melancholy opening flows…the yearning second subject, with its pulsing accompaniment, makes a nice contrast.

…this isn’t a score you’ll often encounter, either in concert or on disc. So, at Naxos prices, this sensitive, stylish issue is worth checking out. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Colin Clarke
MusicWeb International, July 2009

The infinite length of the first movement invites a different course of listening, one that quite simply goes with the flow in what can seem like an eighteenth-century Czech stream of consciousness. It is important to jettison expectations of duration, and once that is achieved much enjoyment is there for the taking. The Andantino, too, as an easy fluency about it, along with a distinct conversational element that exists between the four protagonists.

The third movement quotes “Hej, Slované”, a patriotic song popular during the development of the Czech national movement. It is here that the lack of depth of field to the recording is felt the most, however—the finale seems less afflicted somehow. The finale is perhaps the most meandering movement. It is, though, the one with the most obvious Dvořákian fingerprints—there are moments when the composer almost seems to be putting his characteristic gestures in quotation marks, they stand out so much. It is as if he suddenly finds his voice for a moment, then turns down the focus after a short period to return to the earlier modes of expression.




Patricia Kelly
Courier Mail, June 2009

The Vlach Quartet Prague (Jana Vlachová, Karel Stadtherr, Petr Vemer, Mikael Ericsson) is right in the heart of this musical territory. Its warm instrumental tone is ready to bounce into action when the rhythmic pace kicks in.  The four players seems to respond to that dynamic impulse innately with playing that captures crucial elements, the colours, the light and shade, the dancing melody, in Dvorak’s writing. Apparently this quartet was neither published nor played in the composer’s lifetime which probably indicates some dissatisfaction with the piece, yet in structure and mood it heralds the bigger things to come and it is this detailed imagery that the Vlach Quartet Prague express with a subtle vitality.



Giv Cornfield
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, May 2009

This quartet is an epic work of symphonic proportions, that brings to mind those overlong symphonies of late romantic composers like Bruckner and Mahler. The work is over an hour long (the first movement alone is just short of 24 minutes!). Indeed, it is such a taxing work that it required four sessions, months apart, to record. Not surprisingly, it is not a piece that falls lightly on one’s ears, like most of Dvořák’s chamber music. Indeed, it is hard to imagine what the composer had in mind when toiling at this quartet, since it is not an attractive concert work. To their credit, the Vlach’s turn in a fine reading of a work lacking in universal appeal.






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12:27:10 AM, 23 August 2014
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