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James H. North
Fanfare, May 2013

The…op. 10…blossoms into a shining work of art in the hands of the Amar.

…in the C-Major Quartet…the elegant richness of the Amar’s ensemble wins me over, aided by Somodari’s gorgeous cello.…the Amar performance [of the op. 16] raises the music to previously unsuspected heights.

Naxos’s sound is warm and deep, preferable to that of any of the earlier recordings. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

William Bender
American Record Guide, November 2012

Of Paul Hindemith’s seven string quartets these are two of the most enjoyable and rewarding.

This recording was made by…[the] Amar Quartet…The taping was done at the studios of Swiss Radio in Zurich and is a model for the clarity, body, and rich sound that good string quartet recording demands. The…Amar has responded brilliantly. © 2012 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide online

MusicWeb International, September 2012

The Amar Quartet give an excellent account of these works—it is hard to believe Hindemith’s old team could have done it better. All four members face and pass many technically challenging passages, and succeed also in imbuing Hindemith’s not always outwardly expressive works with a good deal of warmth and intensity.

Sound quality is very good throughout.

If this first disc is anything to go by, this will be a must-have cycle for all lovers of 20th century music. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Julian Haylock
BBC Music Magazine, September 2012

These inventive pieces are brought stunningly to life by the young Amar Quartet. © 2012 BBC Music Magazine

David Hurwitz, June 2012

…full of good music and certainly worth the serious consideration of chamber music aficionados.

…I strongly doubt that Hindemith’s own quartet played these pieces nearly this well. He was by all accounts a rather dry performer, whereas this particular Amar Quartet invests the music with considerable warmth and manages to maintain a remarkably attractive ensemble tone even in the two finales where everyone is going crazy. If they keep up this standard, there is little doubt that this will become the reference edition in this music, and perhaps will win for it the friends that it surely deserves. The engineering is ideal, and does the performances proud. © 2012 Read complete review

Jean-Yves Duperron
Classical Music Sentinel, June 2012

[Paul Hindemith’s] String Quartets…have not received the exposure they deserve. Hopefully this excellent new recording by the Amar Quartet, the first in a projected release of all seven of Hindemith’s quartets, will generate enough interest and in turn shed more light on this composer’s output. The String Quartet No. 2 in F minor, Op. 10…clearly demonstrates this composer’s no-nonsense approach to music, where the brain rules the heart, and melodic and harmonic development are more important than emotive expression…this quartet begins in a style steeped in tradition and a positive outlook…The final movement is an impressive display of complex counterpoint, intricate tonal development, all very well counter-balanced by a beautifully lyrical central section, expertly rendered here by the Amar Quartet. The final two minutes alone of this quartet should be enough to convince anyone of this composer’s talents.

The String Quartet No. 3 in C major, Op. 16…opens Lebhaft und sehr energisch (Lively and very energetic)…The cohesiveness of the music belies its extremely complex counterpoint. The Amar Quartet members shine in this movement. The final movement is characterized by innovative ideas and techniques, marked by an intricate layering of all four lines, giving the music a larger-than-life demeanour.

Anna Brunner (Violin), Igor Keller (Violin), Hannes Bärtschi (Viola) and Péter Somodari (Cello), are the musicians who constitute the Amar Quartet. They’ve already released a dozen recordings…and based on what I hear in this present Naxos recording, they can carry their name with pride. © 2012 Classical Music Sentinel Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2012

Paul Hindemith’s quartets have not enjoyed a generous presence in the record catalogue, this new release from the Zurich-based ensemble very welcome. He was, by trade, an outstanding violinist and viola player who earned his early living as an orchestral musician, his international reputation as a composer beginning with the work we now know as his Third String Quartet. Unable to find a quartet with the time to study the score for its first performance, he was forced to create one of his own in which he played viola, and, in due deference to its leader, Licco Amar, named it the Amar Quartet. It was a short-lived period of success, the growth of the Nazi regime forcing his departure from his native Germany in 1940, eventually arriving in the United States where he took up citizenship. He was to compose seven quartets through much of his life, though the one now known as the First was not originally counted in the canon. This new cycle from the ‘new’ Amar Quartet starts with the Second completed in 1918 when he was twenty-three and caught up as a soldier in the First World War. There are moments that remind us of the horror which must have surrounded him, though the score essentially has its basis in the Germanic world of Reger, and, with abundant likeable thematic material, it is purely tonal. The Third came two years later and is also in three movements, its immediate success readily appreciated in its highly energized opening movement. A beautiful, but sad central movement leading to a vivacious finale. Throughout both performances the playing is immaculate, and the recording, by Swiss Radio, is as good as they come. At any price and outstanding release. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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