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Allen Gimbel
American Record Guide, September 2016

All of this is nicely crafted and palatable to the academic and festival audiences it is intended for. Performances are good… © 2016 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide



Peter Quantrill
The Strad, August 2016

The more varied pacing, dynamic relationships and instrumentation of the Dumbarton Quintet bring sweet relief at the end of the disc. Committed, idiomatic performances… © 2016 The Strad Read complete review



Charles T. Downey
The Washington Post, July 2016

Tower’s music sounds more compelling, more animated, but also more balanced in Daedelus Quartet’s hands, including in the “Dumbarton Quintet,” joined by Blair McMillen, who has succeeded Tower as pianist with her ensemble, the Da Capo Chamber Players. © 2016 The Washington Post Read complete review



Bruce Reader
The Classical Reviewer, June 2016

This is a wonderful work given a vibrant, exhilarating performance.

Joan Tower writes wonderfully for the string quartet medium bringing forth music that is full of fine textures and colours and indeed vibrancy as well as intense feeling. All the performances here are excellent as is the recording. © 2016 The Classical Reviewer Read complete review



Laurence Vittes
Gramophone, June 2016

Naxos’s fourth all-Joan Tower CD presents the premiere recordings of three quartets and a piano quintet, composed over a 10-year span and performed by two outstanding American quartets. Although there are similarities to the style throughout the 64 minutes of music, their shape and content are tied closely to the title each comes with. © 2016 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Geoff Brown
BBC Music Magazine, June 2016

Everything is performed with high panache, and recorded with the warmth and clarity that every fine chamber group deserves. © 2016 BBC Music Magazine



Grego Applegate Edwards
Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review, May 2016

All of this is music of great strength, depth and seriousness. The performers give their considerable all and the results are extraordinarily moving. The quartets and quintet occupy a special place in the chamber music of our new century thus far. They are triumphant in attaining that inner place reserved for our greatest composers in those moments when they attain a supreme focus of expression. © 2016 Gapplegate Classical-Modern Music Review Read complete review



Paul Driver
The Sunday Times, London, May 2016

This disc of fairly recent chamber works by one of the most prominent American composers (b1938)—best known for Fanfares for the Uncommon Woman—makes a vivid case for the timeless relevance of the thoroughly well argued in music. The three quartets move lithely and often athletically within a post-Bergian, mid-20th-century harmonic idiom. No 3, Incandescent, ends thrillingly with the re-emergence of the opening D in octaves. Shostakovich’s influence on the Dumbarton (piano) Quintet is profoundly absorbed. © 2016 The Sunday Times, London



Ettore Garzia
Percorsi Musicali, April 2016

Joan Tower’s string quartets claim a special versatility within 20th century chamber music: homages and the tributes to friends, artists or specific events are developed with a new centre of gravity and the score for strings is ready to guide us into a convergence between Shostakovich’s style and the moods of Schoenberg. This new collection for Naxos highlights one of the peaks of Tower’s compositional style and give us a new interpretation of the sense of adagio, of the liturgical sense of composition with elements of unsuspectable elements of minimalism, very distant from orchestral settings. © 2016 Percorsi Musicali



David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2016

Heading towards her octogenarian years, Joan Tower has joined the great composers born in the 20th century with her wide-ranging portfolio of works. Composed over the past twelve years the four scores here recorded have her musical fingerprints throughout, the happy blend of modern tonality having its roots in mainstream music at the time of her birth. Each quartet is shaped in one continuous movement divided by varying moods, the opening of the Third having an attention grabbing thematic kernel from which the work grows organically, at times almost embracing the Second Viennese School before it returns to the character of the work’s opening in a vivacious final section driven by a motor rhythm of Minimalist tendencies. There was a gap of five years to the Fourth, completed in 2008, and subtitled Angels, its name taken from the festival, Music from Angel Fire, who commissioned the score, and from the ‘angels’ who came to her aid when he brother suffered a stroke. Tower offers no narrative to the score, but it obviously relates the turmoil that is often resolved only to return as potent as ever, the ending becoming quite frenetic. It is performed by one of America’s finest chamber groups, the Miami String Quartet—who gave the work its premiere—their admirable inner detail equally making their account of the Third totally riveting. Four years later the Fifth—White Water—was music intended to relate the fluidity of water and is often expressed by the use of glissandos. This score also received its premiere by the recording artists, the young North American, Daedalus Quartet. Only Stravinsky and Copland had previously been commissioned by Dumbarton Oaks Foundation, Tower’s Piano Quintet readily likeable yet somehow far less memorable than her quartets. Exceptionally fine recorded sound. © 2016 David’s Review Corner





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