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John Miller, April 2014

The Young Danish String Quartet…seem to have a real sympathy and understanding of Nielsen’s quartets…They produce performances to rival the best of previous recordings, and use the authoritative Carl Nielsen Edition. Their ensemble is well-integrated and balanced…warm and incisive in tone, crisp in attack. For sheer exuberant energy input, they have no parallel, yet their portrayal of Nielsen’s lyricism and expressiveness misses none of his gentle sensitivity.

Adding to the excellent performances is Da Capo’s well-focussed and transparent recording, where all of the inner detail of the pieces is clearly on show and instrumental timbres sound satisfyingly natural. Copenhagen’s Danish Radio Concert Hall casts a warm, cleanly responsive acoustic which lets the crescendos expand without strain and gives a glow to the softest notes.

Highly recommended for chamber music lovers. © 2014 Read complete review

Gramophone, September 2011

People talk of Mendelssohnian traits in the First Symphony but the Germanic influence is far more keenly felt—and then edged away from— in Nielsen’s finely balanced chamber works for strings.

Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, September 2007

…these are works no music-lover and serious collector should be without. They are gorgeous, and magnificently played by these young Danish players… © 2007 Fanfare Read complete review

David Fanning
Gramophone, July 2007

I’m not sure what the members of the Danish Quartet, who recorded the Nielsen quartets more than effectively in 1992 (Kontrapunkt, 10/93), think about a “young” incarnation appearing 15 years later. But I hope they would doff their caps in admiration, because these new recordings are top-notch, and I’m happy to echo and endorse the enthusiasm they have already generated in Denmark.

The benchmark recording has been that of the Kontra Quartet (BIS, 4/92–nla), sympathetic interpretations of works which do not enshrine the absolute finest of Nielsen, for all that he was an orchestral violinist and an experienced and enthusiastic performer of string quartets. But the new Quartet, all in their early twenties, bring a freshness and energy plus a level of sheer accomplishment that I don’t ever remember hearing in these works. Far from defensiveness or special pleading, they simply assume that they are playing high quality music and that their job is therefore to give it their all. The results are joyous, effervescent.

The First Quartet is the most striking beneficiary, since it can too easily sound texturally over-written and structurally effortful, as in the finale’s contrived “Résumé”. Such reservations are hard to entertain while listening to this thoroughly infectious account. Nielsen asks for energy in the first movement, and that is what the Young Danish Quartet give him, along with large-scale sweep and mellifluous tone throughout. The Fourth Quartet, a tough-minded cousin to the comic opera Maskarade, is interpretatively more challenging, and the Young Danish Quartet may in future find more subtly shaded routes through it; in the meantime their expressive candour and passion are entirely to the good. They are joined in the Quintet by Tim Frederiksen, under whom they studied at the Royal Conservatory in Copenhagen, and without quite transmuting base metal into gold, they display the various facets of what was a breakthrough piece for the young Nielsen to their best advantage.

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