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Gil French
American Record Guide, July 2009

No need for fear and trembling knowing that the Concertino Quartet are players from the Moscow Philharmonic. Their tuning, intonation, technique, ensemble, sensitivity, and depth of expression result in total musicality…the superb balances never bury the viola and allow even the second violin a clear place on the stereo spectrum.

Robert R. Reilly, May 2009

Volume 13 of Marco Polo’s complete String Quartets of Louis Spohr (1784–1859), featuring Nos. 9 and 17, is now out. If you have been following my reviews of this long-running cycle, you will know what to do. Get it.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, March 2009

That Louis Spohr trained over two hundred violinists, composers and conductors is probably folklore, but it indicates the impact that he had on German music in the 19th century. Born in 1784, he became a member of the court orchestra while still a teenager, and from there developed into the most highly regarded German violinist of his time. As a composer he built an enormous catalogue of works including numerous operas, nine symphonies, fifteen violin concertos, and among a veritable deluge of chamber music came his thirty-six string quartets. His detractors would cite too little inspiration spread over too many works, but he had the ability to fashion the most pleasing scores.The Ninth, which opens volume 13 of Marco Polo’s ongoing series of quartet recordings, was one of the most frequently performed from his younger years. It has an abundance of attractive melodies, with a scherzo and finale that possess the fast flowing gossamer lightness that became Mendelssohn’s trademark. The Seventeenth came ten years later, though Spohr hardly changed his style throughout his life, the one surprise coming in its unusual ending. I suppose it tells us everything we need to know as to Spohr’s decline in popularity during his lifetime, for we are now at that point in time when Beethoven and Schubert were pushing forward the boundaries of music, and Spohr could not progress with them. We are here made aware that the Ninth poses many intonation problems for the leader in the second and fourth movements, the Moscow Philharmonic Concertino String Quartet, which was formed in 1994, offering a safe guide to the music’s uncomplicated delights. Good sound quality.

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