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William Kreindler
MusicWeb International, July 2012

The Quartet No. 10 is built entirely from a four-note motif. Hill’s skill at thematic development and his experience as a quartet player are amply demonstrated. The first movement has a somewhat Elgarian wistfulness, occasionally descending to sentimentality, with the middle movements showing a contrapuntal skill not often credited to Hill and the last movement having some truly eloquent pages. The Quartet No. 11 is impressionistic in idiom and altogether more serious than its predecessor, although the two works were written in the same year. It has been recorded more than once before and is probably the best known of the quartets. The harmony is reminiscent of Delius, but the use of D-major tonality follows older procedures, though in an original way. The slow movement makes excellent use of the viola (no surprise to those who know the composer’s fine Viola Concerto) and has a haunting ending. The third movement is somewhat folkish, but again pays tribute to Delius at the end.

There is an energetic scherzo (Life as play), well-played by the Dominion Quartet and Richard Mapp, and the choral Gloria in Excelsis Deo. As vocal chamber music the finale is quite enjoyable…

…on the basis of this disc, I can highly recommend the series, both for committed playing and as first documentation of an important part of the quartet repertoire. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Byzantion
MusicWeb International, March 2012

Hill’s Quartets are often deeply conservative, recalling, sometimes quite vividly, Beethoven, Dvoƙák and Tchaikovsky—and that is certainly true of the retrospective Tenth Quartet. In the Eleventh, on the other hand, the soundworld is more modern, with more of the rich, exotic tonality of Strauss or early Shostakovich making its presence felt. Nonetheless, both Quartets are almost anachronistically late-Romantic, and given also the fact that they are mellifluous, beautifully crafted and basically wistful in character, likely therefore to appeal to the widest of audiences.

The Dominion Quartet was formed in 2006 to record works by New Zealand composers. Hill, as an honorary Kiwi, is done proud by their spirited and thoughtful espousal. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, January 2012

These performances by the Dominion String Quartet of New Zealand are uniformly superb, making a strong case for this undeservedly forgotten composer…The eight vocalists give an enthusiastic account of the concluding paean, both individually and en masse…the quartet recordings are quite good, projecting a suitably sized soundstage in a warm venue…the piano is effectively captured… © 2012 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review



Robert R. Reilly
Catholic News Agency, January 2012

Robert Reilly’s Favorite of the Year

I’m sure you will find this music so attractive that you will want every installment, including this one… © 2012 Catholic News Agency See complete list



David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2011

When the first disc in this cycle of Alfred Hill’s quartets was released, just over four years ago, I wrote that ‘had the composer’s name been Dvořák they would be frequently heard’. Hill represented both Australia and New Zealand during the first half of the 20th century, for having been born in Australia in 1869, he had spent his younger years in New Zealand before, at the age of seventeen, leaving to study in Leipzig. There the influences of the Brahms and Dvořák were to have a lasting effect on his own works. Returning to New Zealand he remained there for twenty years, before moving back to his homeland in 1910 where he lived until his death in 1960. A prolific composer who wrote ten operas, thirteen symphonies and seventeen string quartets, this Naxos initiative helping much to revive his name. The Tenth and Eleventh quartets date from 1935 and are fixed within the mode of Dvořák, which makes them totally out of date with all that was happening in Europe. But do forget when they originated, for they are full of attractive melody… The Dominion Quartet, largely formed from members of the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, present smooth playing well suited to Hill…






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