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Robert Matthew-Walker
International Record Review, January 2012

BRITTEN: String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2 / Three Divertimenti 8.553883
BRITTEN: String Quartets No. 3 / Simple Symphony 8.554360

well worth acquiring, for they exhibit an understanding of this by no means immediately comprehensible music…these two single CDs are strongly recommended… © 2012 International Record Review

Penguin Guide, January 2009

BRITTEN: String Quartets Nos. 1 and 2 / Three Divertimenti 8.553883
BRITTEN: String Quartets No. 3 / Simple Symphony 8.554360

The Maggini give clean, direct performances of the first two numbered quartets, not as intense as some but fresh and thoughtful, well coupled with the three colourful Divertimenti of 1936. The Maggini’s second CD is even finer than their first. They give a strongly characterized reading of Op. 94. The Poco adagio of the Quartettino is particularly searching, while the account of the Simple Symphony (which opens the programme) is as sprightly and sparkling as you could wish. First-class recording. The almost Mahlerian All Marcia is the musical source of the penultimate movement of the song-cycle, Les Illuminations, written six years later. This pair of Naxos discs all but trumps the opposition.

Robert Moon
Audiophile Audition, March 2000

"Although Britten is principally known for his operas and vocal works, there is much to explore in his instrumental oeuvres. This is the second of the Naxos discs devoted to his string quartet compositions and it's a beauty. The Maggini String Quartet was formed in 1988 and named after the well known early seventeenth century Brescian violin maker Giovanni Paolo Maggini, and example of which is played by violinist David Angel. I am familiar with their Naxos recording of chamber music by E.J. Moeran, well worth exploring.

"The Third Quartet is a very profound and ultimately serene work, and the Maggini Quartet feels every ounce of it's sorrowful beauty. Need I say that this is one of the great performances and bargains in the Naxos catalog?"

Patrick Szersnovicz
Le Monde de la Musique, January 2000

"Le Quatuor Maggini fait montre de maîtrise, de conviction et d'une grande musicalité rendant justice à fugace beauté de Troisième Quatuor...

"The Maggini Quartet shows control, conviction and great musicality in the fleeting beauty of the Third Quartet..."

David Hurwitz, October 1999

This exceptional second volume in the Maggini’s survey of the complete Britten music for string quartet spans the composer’s entire career, from the rarely heard chamber version of the delightful Simple Symphony (based on tunes written when the composer was nine years old), to Britten’s final completed work, the Third Quartet. This last item is a true masterpiece—as sad and poignant a farewell in its way as Mahler’s Ninth. The magnificent finale, a Recitative and Passacaglia composed as a tribute to the city of Venice, haunts the memory long after the last note has died away, and the Maggini Quartet finely balances the movement between the need to press forward and music’s elegiac reluctance to yield up its final goodbye. It may come as a surprise to some that Britten, the great composer of operas and choral works (such as the War Requiem), also is such a master of chamber music’s most daunting medium, but it really shouldn’t. He was a great composer, period.

Arnold Whittall
, January 1998

"[The Maggini Quartet's] account of the trickily allusive Third Quartet is, and will surely remain, hard to beat."

Classic CD, November 1996

"The Maggini's performance is so good that it bears comparison with any of its rivals, and the couplings make it especially attractive.

Excellent recordings. Strongly recommended."

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