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Penguin Guide, January 2009

Very well-played accounts of both Quartets from the New Haydn Quartet, which, taken on their own merits, have much to recommend them—warmth, intelligence and some finesse. In the slow movement of the D minor the group has real eloquence, and in the finale it scores by observing the exposition repeat. However, it is not in the same league as the Brodsky, which remains a strong choice.

Jeffrey Joseph
The Strad, November 2001

"The Moderato e semplice of Tchaikovsky's Quartet no. 1 in D major is expressively performed, with determined input from all musicians, especially in the latter stages of the second subject. Indeed the codetta material proves almost violently energetic.

"There is a decisive account of the metrically elusive Scherzo and the capricious, often fragmented music of the finale is intelligently and satisfyingly rendered; note also delightfully suave solos from violist Gyorgy Porzsolt, powerful canonic work and a meticulous fugato in the development.

"The Second Quartet in F major represents a massive leap in terms of personal input and resourcefulness of writing. The first movement features tigerish exponency, complementing both the raising of the emotional temperature and the increased compositional complexity. At the same time a high level of technical efficiency is maintained. In the Andante ma non tanto, plaintive intermingling lines, feverish sequences and suggestive low-string solos are all realised with conviction, while polished vehemence typifies the closing Allegro con moto; this movement also features an unashamedly expansive climax. In contrast there is a rather fey Allegro giusto, where plentiful charm underpins Tchaikovsky's musical badinage.

"The slightly top-heavy sound is so bright immediate that I had to adjust my volume control at the outset."

David Nice
BBC Music Magazine, August 2000

"Tchaikovsky's two most familiar facets, the objective Classicist and the subjective Romantic, find their ideal crystallisation in his first two string quartets. In the two slow movements by which any performance stands or fall, the New Haydn Quartet achieves unexpected results...the determined ecstasy which pushes its way through the bitter tears of the Second Quartet's slow movement meets with full-throttle orchestral effect that carries us through to the agonised return of the main theme-and these players certainly know how to maintain their intonation under pressure.

"Elsewhere it's much as you might imagine from this cultured Hungarian quartet. The short motifs and irreproachable part-writing in the First Quartet's other movements carry more than the usual echoes of Mozart and Haydn."

Victor Carr, July 2000

"For a time, Tchaikovsky's string quartets seemed unjustifiably consigned to the far corners of the repertory. While they may not be exemplars of Beethovenian classicism or cogency, their own particular qualities of melodic profligacy, rhythmic originality, and dramatic argument make a strong case for their wider exposure. If ensembles can regularly program Debussy and Ravel quartets, there's no reason why they shouldn't do Tchaikovsky. The New Haydn Quartet clearly has no doubts about the quality of the music, approaching it with all the intelligence, musicianship, and enthusiasm one would bring to quartets by Beethoven, Bartok or Dvorak. Quartet No. 1's first movement second subject receives a loving caress at a slightly slowed tempo, as does the wistful violin solo in the beautiful Andante Cantabile movement. One of Tchaikovsky's most telling characteristics is his unique ability to build up sequences of almost unbearable tension, as he does in Quartet No. 2's first movement with its spiraling chromatic melodic ladder. The New Haydn players shirk not a bit from this purple passage, infusing it with a steely edge and power more typical of works such as Shostakovich's quartets. They are equally committed in the anguished slow movement, here conjuring up the world-weary spirit of Eugene Onegin, while they toss aside their tear-filled hankies and kick into high gear for the dancing finales of both works…

"This release is self-recommending, and a vital addition to the Tchaikovsky discography."

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