, May 2012
the playing of the CasalQuartet is better than good, it’s fantastic. You have to listen very closely to realize these are period-instrument performances, for none of the wheezy, whiny tone or off-center pitch is anywhere in evidence, nor do the players exhibit the slightest tendency to scoop or swoop with their bows, chop notes short, or make undue haste of fast-paced movements. Perhaps the ensemble’s exceptionally polished and refined execution is in some way related to the fact that it’s not a group that specializes exclusively in early music. The CasalQuartet may be heard in a wide range of repertoire spanning music from the 17th century to Erwin Schulhoff, Viktor Ullmann, tango, and jazz.
But it’s not just the ensemble’s technical mastery that impresses; the players’ interpretive insight and musical intelligence make for readings that are dynamic and revealing. The Haydn quartet is given a performance more exciting than any I can recall ever hearing. I know it’s a longshot, but if the CasalQuartet were to record a complete cycle of Haydn’s string quartets—a new one would be welcome—I’d be first in line to buy it. © 2012 Fanfare Read complete review on Fanfare