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EVANS, R.: String Quartet No. 1 / GLASS, P.: String Quartet No. 2 / ANTHEIL, G.: String Quartet No. 3 / HERRMANN, B.: Echoes


Naxos 8.559354

   The Strad, November 2008
   Gramophone, October 2008
   MusicWeb International, October 2008
   South Florida Classical Review, September 2008
   Infodad.com, September 2008
   Sequenza21.com, August 2008
   The Telegraph, August 2008
   Toronto Star, August 2008
   Montreal Gazette, August 2008
   Records International, August 2008
   BBC Music Magazine, August 2008
   Montreal Gazette, August 2008
   Allmusic.com, August 2008
   Amazon.com, July 2008
   Music & Vision, July 2008
   The Buffalo News, July 2008
   MusicWeb International, July 2008
   David's Review Corner, July 2008

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The Strad, November 2008

The Fine Arts quartet gives [these four quartets] full measure…[Evans Quartet]: In this egalitarian and at times contrapuntal work, they are careful to keep the textures clear, and make the most of the intense slow movement and the dancing finale. In Philip Glass’s Second Quartet…they do well to convey a feeling of emotional involvement…The Fine Arts Quartet plays [Antheil’s Quartet] with energy and open-hearted emotion, deftly negotiating the kaleidoscopic whirl of material in the last movement…Of these four works the most rewarding is Bernard Herrmann’s Echoes…to which the players bring reserves of subtlety.



Peter Dickinson
Gramophone, October 2008

Evans’s quartet joins a pleasing programme…I find Herrmann’s Echoes the most intriguing…Hitchcock aficionados may well find themselves creating mental images to match the moods of these evocative pieces…It is to be hoped that other quartets may find their way to this concert piece by Herrman at last…Expertly played, like everything else here.



Bob Briggs
MusicWeb International, October 2008

This is an interesting and intelligently planned recital mixing the unknown with the well known…the performances of the Fine Arts Quartet are full-blooded and very committed…well worth having for the Herrmann and Antheil scores which should be better known. Full review



South Florida Classical Review, September 2008

Vigorous and committed playing by the Fine Arts Quartet…the present disc offers an offbeat program and a real discovery with Bernard Herrmann’s Echoes. Full review



Infodad.com, September 2008

The four 20th-century quartets played by the Fine Arts Quartet show some of the very different directions in which chamber music moved in the last century...the Evans work is lively and tuneful...the quartet by Herrmann…is in a single movement whose 10 sections are skillfully linked in an understated way. And the Antheil is fun…Full review



Sequenza21.com, August 2008

The new Naxos recording by the Fine Arts Quartet…suggests that Evans was wise to share the piece with the world…The piece contains lovely string writing and some wry, often delighting, harmonic swerves…what makes the Second Quartet [Glass] so effective is the freshness and energy with which these gestures are employed…the [Antheil] quartet’s deliberate angularity and even its occasional Bartókian bumptiousness contain considerable wit and charm…[Herrmann’s] Echoes…emonstrates that the epic sweep of his cinematic style could also be applied with good results in chamber music. Full review



Matthew Rye
The Telegraph, August 2008

Most interesting are the Third Quartet of George Antheil, where Dvořák meets Shostakovich, and Bernard Herrmann’s Echoes for String Quartet, music that typically combines atmosphere (it was written for a ballet) with motivic tautness…the attractive First Quartet by the Fine Arts Quartet’s violinist Ralph Evans has plenty of substance…the players’ advocacy is never in doubt. Full review




John Terauds
Toronto Star, August 2008

Veteran violinists Ralph Evans and Efim Boico, violist Yuri Gandelsman and cellist Wolfgang Laufer…bring their assured, no-nonsense playing to four American pieces written during the quartet’s lifetime. The oldest…is George Antheil’s String Quartet No. 3. We also get a dynamic reading of the “Company” Quartet (No.2) by Philip Glass, written in his typical, layered note-patterns, and Evans’ rich and inventive String Quartet No.1, from 1995. The standout is by film composer Bernard Herrmann, whose fabulously melancholy Echoes for String Quartet was written a decade before he died. Full review




Montreal Gazette, August 2008

Offbeat but listenable: a nice combination. Full review



Records International, August 2008

Evans…finished it in 1995: distinctive, personal and generally tonal, it makes a fine disc-mate for Glass’ nine-minute piece from 1983, Antheil’s conservative, folk-oriented in a Dvořákian way, quartet of 1948 and Herrmann’s single-movement piece from 1965…particularly good to have a new recording of anything by Herrmann! Full review




BBC Music Magazine, August 2008

…rare excellence…a fine four by four…Howard Goldstein hails the fine arts’ imaginative set(headlines)…Fine Arts Quartet are this month’s premiere group…For over 65 years, the Fine Arts Quartet has set standards of style and repertoire that have rarely been equalled.



Arthur Kaptainis
Montreal Gazette, August 2008

A touch of vanity publishing here, as the opening item is by Ralph Evans, first violin of the venerable Fine Arts Quartet. A piece with roots in his early teens, it proves vigorous and tuneful, though more interest attaches to George Antheil’s Quartet No. 3 of 1948, a remarkably folksy effort for a self-proclaimed modernist bad boy. Philip Glass’s predictable Second Quartet at least has the virtue of economy. Best is Bernard Herrmann’s Echoes, a sombre but varied 20-minute score of 1966 that benefits from the composer’s vast practical experience in film. There is imagery here, but also depth and cohesion, all warmly conveyed. Like most Naxos American Classics releases, this recording was made elsewhere (in the German town of Steinfurt, to be exact)…a nice combination.



Allmusic.com, August 2008

Naxos’ Four American Quartets is a refreshing and intriguing program that whets one’s appetite for the remaining slate of Fine Arts Quartet releases…[Evans’ Quartet] is whimsical and clever, and in relation to the Babbitts and Boulezes of that time, this quartet has a Flying Spaghetti Monster-ish aspect to it. It is the Darmstadt school turned on its head, containing no specific references to pre-existing music, yet Evans constructs fleeting figments of tonality in a formal design that is architectonic, rather than based on psychological form or other established strategies. Evans’ quartet is both engaging and amusing and well deserves recording…It is stimulating to hear this quartet [Glass No.2] played with a little more bite than is the norm…Fine Arts’ recording represents a positive step toward establishing this excellent quartet [Antheil No.3] to a well-deserved place in the main quartet literature…Full review



Amazon.com, July 2008

...a disc of 4 rarities, all of them worth your time. Recent Fine Arts Quartet releases have included the likes of Schumann and Mendelssohn, but this is a valuable trip off the beaten path. Full review



Music & Vision, July 2008

A thoroughly winning CD…the [Fine Arts Quartet’s] present personnel are still going strong and Naxos’ typically generous 62.5 minutes of wholly engaging playing time reveals the ensemble in its element. Full review



Jeff Simon
The Buffalo News, July 2008

Should anyone wonder why this disc leads off with Ralph Evans’ Quartet No. 1 instead of the wonderful 1948 Quartet no. 3 by George Antheil, the obvious answer is that Evans is the Fine Arts Quartet’s first violinist so he should jolly well be able to feature his own work. Meanwhile, though, it is neither his quartet or Philip Glass’ String Quartet no. 2 (inspired, somewhat incredibly, by Samuel Beckett’s “Company”) that distinguishes this disc but rather the Antheil and the concluding Bernard Herrmann “Echoes for String Quartet” from 1965. Both the Antheil Quartets and violin/ piano sonatas may be in masterpiece territory and ought to be American repertoire staples. Antheil composed some for films but Herrmann was one of the greatest of all American film composers. The “Echoes” was the first concert work he’d published in 25 years.



Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, July 2008

Here are four string quartets by American composers, all vivid and in diverse styles. Full review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, July 2008

Those living in Europe can easily forget the enormous amount and diversity of chamber music produced in the United States during the 20th century. This arresting disc provides a guide to quartets from composers throughout the century.






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11:45:17 AM, 21 October 2014
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