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Paul Orgel
Fanfare, May 2017

These are polished, sensitively performed, and safely recommendable performances of two of Brahms’s greatest chamber works, recorded with nicely detailed sound. Tempos are well chosen, and a wide range of musical characterization is achieved. Each player sounds technically impeccable, with virtuosity to spare, but focused, perhaps more than necessary, on subordinating their individual lines to a collective ensemble sound. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Paul L Althouse
American Record Guide, March 2017

The four players here have been active over much of Western Europe, but all have had some Russian training. Their Brahms is rich and expressive, unmannered and technically secure. Tempos are in the conventional range with no attempts at showiness or virtuosity. All four are terrific players, but I was most taken with pianist Nebolsin, who plays with subtle grace and admirable clarity.

A fine job all around. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, February 2017

Three Russians and a German—Barakhovsky, Zemtsov, Nebolsin, and Schmidt—contributed to these fine performances. …they perform these works with all the freshness and passion of a new love or a new discovery. © 2017 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, November 2016

Though Johannes Brahms had reached maturity as a composer when he wrote the three Piano Quartets, they can be looked upon as the precursor for his symphonies. As a pianist of considerable standing, he uses the keyboard to carry forward the thrust and melodic invention in both works, the three string players adding an extra dimension, often in the form of substantial decoration. Certainly his thematic material is just as powerful and memorable as in any of the four symphonies that followed, the scherzo in the First Quartet bubbling with vitality and happiness, while his slow movement offers of gentle musing before the work ends in a Gypsy Rondo, full of Hungarian verve. The Third Quartet was a reworking of a score that had preceded the First Quartet, and does not as readily lodge in our memory. Never afraid to add some personal touches, the performances come from a quartet formed from top soloists in their own right—the violin, viola and cello of Anton Barakhovsky, Alexander Zemtsov and Wolfgang Emanuel Schmidt, partnered by the pianist, Eldar Nebolsin. They have the feel of a group who have become welded together by years of mutual performances, the balance between them, as melodies are woven, being so perfectly weighted. The tempos also have that natural feel with scherzos that are never rushed, while the string intonation is impeccable, and Nebolsin does his best to temper the weight Brahms has resided in the keyboard. Naxos has struck pure gold, and I hope the foursome will add the Second Quartet, and then go on to make many more recordings for the label. © 2016 David’s Review Corner

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