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Phillip Scott
Limelight, September 2020

ASQ founder’s quartets offer a delightful chamber music discovery.

Weiland’s music is rigorous, skilful, taut in counterpoint, clean in texture, mellifluous, tonal but not in a dated or restrictive way, and structurally traditional. You might call it the relaxed version of Modernism.

These pieces, from 2011 and 2012 respectively, were composed for William Hennessy, first violin of the Melbourne Quartet and former leader of the ASQ. The performances could not be bettered, and the recording is perfectly balanced. © 2020 Limelight Read complete review

Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, August 2020

The Australian Melbourne Quartet (MQ), whose members include William Hennessy (violin I), who was mentioned above, Markiyan Melnychenko (violin II), Keith Crellin (viola) and Michael Dahlenburg (cello), deliver totally committed, sensitive accounts of both works. These selections make it easy to understand why Weiland is considered one of today’s finest composers in this medium.

…This release merits an “Audiophile” rating. © 2020 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review

Richard Hanlon
MusicWeb International, June 2020

The Melbourne Quartet absolutely inhabit each of these big, serious works. There is never any sense of indifference or ‘play-through’; every nuance, texture, colour and beat cuts through with clarity and style. On this evidence one cannot help but wonder why Weiland’s profile on disc is non-existent. I do not know anything about him, save for the brief details provided on his website, but to my ears his is music of palpable humanity and profound vision. Although his language is very different, the integrity and craftsmanship that pours forth from these quartets recall the seriousness of purpose and classical stylings of Robert Simpson, who as far as I’m concerned remains (by some margin) the finest composer of string quartets these islands have yet produced. I have little doubt that admirers of his magnificent cycle will respond just as readily to Douglas Weiland’s quartets.

The Naxos sound constitutes one of the most natural, generous and sympathetic quartet recordings I have yet encountered on the label. Hats off to the engineers who have harnessed the impressive acoustic of Melbourne’s Iwaki Auditorium most effectively; music and playing of this quality merit nothing less. I certainly hope Naxos will record more, much more of Douglas Weiland’s music. The other three (to date) quartets would constitute an apt follow-up. Meanwhile lovers of fine English chamber music should snap this up without delay. © 2020 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, April 2020

Douglas Weiland was 36 before he contemplated a career as a composer, his younger years spent as a violinist and a founder member of the Australian Quartet.

Think of a composer offering works to follow on from the Vaughan Williams era and you will at least know what to expect. Born in England in 1954, he was for many years a member of the London-based orchestra, St. Martin in the Fields, that experience providing him with a background in composing orchestra works, and though his late start has limited his catalogue of works, they are varied over many genre. Part of that includes five string quartets, two of which are included on this disc, both in World Premiere recordings. The Fourth—in five movements—is of an extended length at around thirty-eight minutes, that would normally be the length of an orchestral symphony. Not in texture, but in concept and scale, it has that symphonic feeling, each movement a building block to the whole edifice. They are also very differing ’blocks’, the outgoing opening movement leading to a rather sad Misterioso, while the following scherzo is light-hearted, short and happy. Maybe then adding an Intermezzo, is rather ‘gilding the lily’. So to a finale, an Allegro molto, that looks to be a perfect foil to the first movement. It succeeds, though it ends in a mood of sadness. The following year saw the Fifth, this time in three movements and much shorter. Its style and content in the opening movement is of our time, before, as if making a statement, the remainder of the work looks back. Certainly different, but the result I greatly enjoyed. World Premiere Recordings and dedicated performances coming from the Melbourne Quartet for Australia’s adopted composer. Outstanding sound quality. © 2020 David’s Review Corner

Records International, April 2020

British composer Weiland has long been acclaimed as one of contemporary music’s most outstanding composers for the string quartet medium, and his evolving cycle has won much admiration. Composed between 2011 and 2012 the Fourth and Fifth Quartets show him at the height of his artistic powers, where he seeks connections across time, and shows a Classical commitment to form, invention and melodic beauty. His conceptions can be Schubertian in scale and scope, while also displaying the influence of Haydn and Bartók. © 2020 Records International

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