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SCHUMANN: String Quartets Nos. 1-3


Naxos 8.570151

   MusicWeb International, February 2010
   Penguin Guide, January 2010
   Penguin Guide, January 2009
   Penguin Guide, December 2008
   Stringendo, October 2008
   Amazon.com, February 2008
   American Record Guide, September 2007
   Crisis Magazine, August 2007
   Les Introuvables de Nereffid, March 2007
   Limelight Magazine, March 2007
   Musical Pointers, March 2007
   The Strad, March 2007
   Gramophone, March 2007
   Fanfare, March 2007
   The WholeNote, February 2007
   Scene Magazine, February 2007
   MusicWeb International, February 2007
   Infodad.com, January 2007
   Tidningen Kulturen (Sweden), January 2007
   Stephen Pettitt Music Services, January 2007
   Classicalsource.com, January 2007
   The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, January 2007
   Jessica Duchen's Classical Music Blog, December 2006
   Amazon.com, December 2006
   David's Review Corner, December 2006

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Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, February 2010

Naxos offers a splendid bargain in the form of all three works, squeezed onto a single CD, by the Fine Arts Quartet (8.570151), which Göran Forsling made Bargain of the Month—see review—a judgement with which I am happily in accord…The playing is full of nuance and the high-spirited account of the finale sets the seal on a fine recording…The performances of other two Op.41 quartets are equally attractive.



Penguin Guide, January 2010

KEY RECORDING/TOP RECOMMENDATION

Having all three of Schuman’s Opus 41 Quartets on a single Naxos disc makes a superb bargain…The Fine Arts Quartet, founded as long ago as 1946, remains a magnificent interpreter, here vividly recorded in sessions in Holland in 2006.




Penguin Guide, January 2009

Having all three of Schumann’s Opus 41 Quartets on as single Naxos disc makes a superb bargain. These fine works, notably the last and most impressive, No. 3, are the products of Schumann’s extraordinary year of chamber inspirations, 1842, which also saw the composition of the Piano Quintet and Piano Quartet. The Fine Arts Quartet, founded as long ago as 1946, remains a magnificent interpreter, here vividly recorded in sessions in Holland in 2006.



Recorded Classical Music, 2008
Penguin Guide, December 2008

The Fine Arts Quartet, founded as long ago as 1946, remains a magnificent interpreter, here vividly recorded in sessions in Holland in 2006.



Kirsty Humphrey
Stringendo, October 2008

Schumann’s string quartets show influences of Beethoven’s late quartets and the quartets of Haydn and Mozart. They are, however, masterpieces in their own right, filled with ‘musical inventiveness, youthful exuberance and intense poetic feeling’ (Keith Anderson). As one would expect from this distinguished Quartet, the quality of the performance is very fine, creating a highly enjoyable listening experience.




Ra Gannon
Amazon.com, February 2008

This is one of the few CD’s that have all 3 quartets on one CD and happily it is also one of the best. The playing is warm and very clear and add to this the budget price of Naxos , this is an unmissable treat.



American Record Guide, September 2007

One of the very finest chamber-music recordings of the year. Full review



Robert R. Reilly
Crisis Magazine, August 2007

"I cannot leave the theme of chamber music without recommending the Naxos release (8.570151) of Robert Schumann's String Quartets Nos. 1-3, played so expressively by the Fine Arts Quartet. Playing of this caliber in music this wonderful makes for an outrageous bargain." Full Review



Les Introuvables de Nereffid, March 2007

THE BEST OF 2007 (headline)…Here are the albums that have got the best reviews from Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, Classics Today, and MusicWeb.



Richard Gate
Limelight Magazine, March 2007

The three string quartets by Schumann deserve to be heard more often than they are…they contain much beautiful music. [The Fine Arts Quartet] is a fine ensemble, giving excellent performances of these quartets. Its tone throughout has just enough edge on it to be stimulating and each of the players, all of them virtuosi, is very successful in making his instrument heard—the part playing is excellent. The group avoids the dynamic excesses that plague much quartet playing today.



Ying Chang
Musical Pointers, March 2007

This is an excellent issue of the once neglected Schumann quartets. Full review



The Strad, March 2007

"The tone, as ever with this line-up, is both beguilingly tangy and warm...The lyrical side of Schumann, which predominates in the quartets, is beautifully handled."



Duncan Druce
Gramophone, March 2007

The outstanding aspect of these performances is the quality of sound, rich and beautifully blended. With a heartfelt, expressive quality, they’re able to bring out fully the lyrical side of Schumann’s invention…Throughout, the tone is full and rounded, and never harsh…Their playing is elegant and singing…It’s lovely quartet playing, and I’ll want to return to it. Full review



William Zagorski
Fanfare, March 2007

Edge-of-the-seat playing marked by probing insights…The FAQ’s intonation and balances are beyond reproach. Its ensemble is razor sharp in the quicker music, and in the slower moments its phrasing breathes naturally (no mean feat). Given the competition by such ensembles as the Emerson, Melos, and Takács Quartets, they shine. The sound of this disc is excellent, capturing the quartet’s distinctive timbre and steering a judicious course between linear detail and ensemble heft and mass. In short, this is desert island stuff. Full review



The WholeNote, February 2007

"...a must for any serious lover of string quartet music..." Full Review



Scene Magazine, February 2007

The gently beguiling presentation of the music by the world-class Fine Arts Quartet is executed with the introspective nuance necessary for the performance of any Schumann composition. This is an animated, invigorating recording that will satisfy both the seasoned and amateur music enthusiast." Read full review [page 27].



Göran Forsling
MusicWeb International, February 2007

The unanimous attack and the homogenous sound at once places this group among the elite of today’s chamber music ensembles. Full review



Infodad.com, January 2007

"The Fine Arts Quartet plays the works with sensitivity, apparent ease and a fine sense of give and take...The Quartet makes a strong case for all of them." Full Review



Tidningen Kulturen (Sweden), January 2007

"It can hardly get better than this (headline)... The American 'Fine Arts Quartet' of course raises high expectations, but this new recording makes immediately clear that it can hardly get better than this. With close rapport, the musicians perform intensively with their instruments: one can only give oneself to the music." ("Amerikanska 'Fine Arts Quartet' väcker förstås skyhöga förväntningar, men denna nyinspelning klargör omedelbart att bättre än så här kan det knappast bli. De tätt sammanlänkade musikerna levandegör intensivt med sina instrument: det är bara att låta sig omslutas.")



Stephen Pettitt
Stephen Pettitt Music Services, January 2007

A great bargain. Full review



Colin Anderson
Classicalsource.com, January 2007

These lovingly prepared and perceptive readings from the Fine Arts Quartet, captured in lucid sound, have one re-thinking this particular body of Schumann’s work with rejuvenated interest. Each work, no, each movement is a gem…Such soulful utterance is tenderly brought out by the Fine Arts Quartet, its members deft and buoyant…one hears, gratifyingly, many ‘old-style’ touches from the Fine Arts musicians…this is the sort of playing that makes one want to explore further the Fine Arts Quartet’s projects…thoroughly recommendable…a release and an ensemble that is once messenger and champion of Schumann’s quartet triptych. Full review



Giv Cornfield, Ph. D
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, January 2007

The year 1842 was devoted by the newly-married Schumann to chamber music. Significantly, the Piano Quartet and Quintet were composed for his pianist wife Clara Wieck, and are truly inspired works. The Fine Arts Quartet made a name for itself in the 1960s and has gone through numerous personnel changes, but if the present recording is any indication, this fine ensemble continues to ride high.



Jessica Duchen's Classical Music Blog, December 2006

"CDs of the Year 2006: SCHUMANN The complete string quartets. Fine Arts Quartet, Naxos, 8570151. Just out! The Fine Arts Quartet was my big chamber-music revelation this year: it's that golden-age edge that I adore, the intense sweetness of first violin Ralph Evans' tone, the beauty of the close-knit sounds and the completeness of their involvement in the music - as superb as ever in Schumann's personal, subtle and sensitive quartets which, again, are never played as often as they should be." ( Jessica Duchen's Classical Music Blog, Dec.23, 2006)




J Scott Morrison
Amazon.com, December 2006

It has been extremely unusual until very recently for all three Schumann Quartets, his Op. 41, to be recorded on one CD…This is, I believe, the best of the lot…The Fine Arts Quartet…is one of America’s best quartets…This is an outstanding set. Full Review



David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2006

Long phrases are a characteristic of the playing, the four priceless instruments sounding exquisite in the quiet and pensive passages, the slow movement and opening to the finale of the second quartet never having emerged with greater beauty. The first and second quartet's scherzos bubble with pleasure.






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