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, February 2010

The Fine Arts Quartet brings a distinguished and learned approach to these works. Highly recommended.

Penguin Guide, January 2010

The Fine Arts Quartet…strike(s) a splendid balance between vitality and elegance, the Intermezzo of the A Major Quintet is engagingly played, the Scherzo is crisp and brilliant, the Adagio of the B Flat Quintet is most warmly and stylishly played, and both Finales sparkle. The recording is excellent.

Nigel Simeone
International Record Review, December 2009

Naxos has another winner on its hands with the Fine Arts Quartet and Danilo Rossi (viola) and this has the fascinating bonus of the original third movement of the Op.18 Quintet.

Sentinel, November 2009

Mendelssohnian magic! I first listened to samples of these quintets on the amazon site, inspired by other reviewers, and was struck by the infectious music-making of the Fine Arts Quartet. Having now listened to the complete works, I can only agree with my fellow reviewers that this is music to bring a smile to your face, and a lift to your heart. The quality of the playing gives such a zestful ‘bounce’ to the movements that this has the quality of a live performance without the attendant niggles. Highly recommended.

David Bryson, August 2009

HIGH FIVES. 2009 is the bicentenary year of Mendelssohn’s birth, and I can’t imagine a better monument than his string quintets in this superb recording…Mendelssohn’s idiom is a delicate flower, calling for a patrician poise from the players to match the patrician elegance of the music. One real benchmark for measuring the performances is how the scherzos are handled. Mendelssohn’s scherzos are something unique in the history of music…To my ears, the Fine Arts Quartet have the idea of it to absolute perfection. This is artistic interpretation, itself a form of artistic creation…Schumann, with characteristic generosity, described Mendelssohn as the Mozart of the 19th century. Mendelssohn at his best has something of the same sense about him that he is one of the beloved of God as Amadeus himself has. This is the sense that makes me as enthusiastic as I am about this disc, and I recommend it entirely without reservation.

Steven Ritter
Audiophile Audition, December 2008

What a joy to hear the Fine Arts Quartet back in stride! Certainly they rank as one of the best of the last hundred years, and almost always underrated. But there is no period instrument puffiness or strident adherence to dogma here; no sir, these are passionate, impassioned, and fervently lustful readings that cry damnation to all that get in their way. Actually, I don’t recall the Fine Arts ever sounding this violently tempestuous in any reading I can immediately bring to mind. Who cares—this one sings and soars with a free spirit and a dare-you-not-to-like-it attitude that is great fun to hear…This Naxos [release], recorded last year in Germany has as much pride and spirit as I can imagine, and certainly fares well considering the price. If you have not made the acquaintance of these works before, there is no excuse for not indulging now, and while they are not Mozart, they are interesting and rewarding, played immaculately and in fine sound. Full review

Les Introuvables de Nereffid, October 2008

THE BEST OF 2008 (headline)…This is a list of albums that have got good reviews from various sources: the print magazines Gramophone, BBC Music Magazine, American Record Guide, and Fanfare and the web sites Classics Today, MusicWeb, Klassik Heute, and Classics Today France.

Fanfare, September 2008

The performances by the Fine Arts Quartet and violist Rossi are very fine.

Terry Barfoot
MusicWeb International, July 2008

The sheer élan with which this piece opens is breathtaking. The music requires playing of a high order to make its mark, and it receives this from the Fine Arts Quartet and their guest violist, Danielo Rossi. Full review

Terry Barfoot
, July 2008

MusicWeb International critic’s choice: Recording Of The Year 2008.  “The best of Mendelssohn can be found in the chamber music, and these vibrant, brilliantly played performances bring further confirmation of the rewards this repertoire can bring.” Full review, June 2008

The performances here by the Fine Arts Quartet, augmented with violist Danilo Rossi, are tight, lucid, energetic, and life affirming...This disc should be heard by anyone who enjoys Mendelssohn's music in general and his chamber music in particular. Full review

J Scott Morrison, June 2008

TWO GLORIOUS STRING QUINTETS BEAUTIFULLY PLAYED (headline)...On this disc there is absolutely nothing I could find fault with. Their playing is sophisticated, nuanced, spirited and entirely satisfying. Full review, June 2008

STRINGS THAT SING (headline)...The Fine Arts Quartet and Daniel Rossi give the works lovely, well-balanced readings that fully bring out their tunefulness and emotions. Full review

Simon Thompson
MusicWeb International, June 2008

The performances from the Fine Arts Quartet are ideally suited to this kind of music. They tailor their sound perfectly to the very different demands of each movement and carry off the technical issues flawlessly...The musicians work together as an integrated unit and listen to each other to "gel" seamlessly...One can hardly imagine these works being given a more sympathetic reading. Full review

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