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Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, May 2020

Buy it without delay!

The omnipresent—or, should I say, omnivorous—pianist, Oliver Triendl, is joined by an ensemble of outstanding musicians who pour their hearts out for Josef Labor, and, from the sound of it, their souls too. Urgently, urgently recommended. © 2020 Fanfare Read complete review

Bob McQuiston
Classical Lost and Found, February 2020

German pianist Oliver Triendl, who’s a CLOFO regular (28 February 2019), gives superb accounts of these appealing rarities and receives outstanding support from his talented, string-playing associates. They include fellow countrymen Nina Karmon (violin), Pauline Sachse (viola) and Justus Grimm (cello) in the Quartet, all of whom are joined by Dutch, double-bassist Niek de Groot for the Quintet.

Together they deliver technically accomplished performances. What’s more, their attention to dynamics, phrasing and rhythmic detail make a strong case for some music that in lesser hands might come off as ordinary fare.

The instruments are well balanced against one another, and these recordings are characterized by pleasant highs, an elegant midrange and clean lows with no hangover in the cello or double-bass’s lower registers. Everything considered, this is an “Audiophile” release. © 2020 Classical Lost and Found Read complete review

Jed Distler, January 2020

…The performances sound impressively polished and integrated in regard to scrupulous ensemble, impeccable solos, and passion at every turn. In other words, these interpretations reflect (and forgive my terrible pun) a “Labor of love”. A must-have release for collectors drawn to the chamber repertoire’s obscure-yet-worthy byways. © 2020 Read complete review

Peter Quantrill
Gramophone, December 2019

The Quartet’s high point is a third-movement Quasi allegretto, another nocturne which taps the introverted vein of Labor’s better-known organ music. It clears like mist before the proud, anthem-like first subject of the finale, which strikes sparks off a scampering, Mendelssohnian second theme towards an intently plotted climax of well-earned high spirits. Labor took pains to bridle and harness Alma’s teenage creative powers, ‘to derive various moods from a single theme’, and unlike some teachers, he practised what he preached. © 2019 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Grant Chu Covell
La Folia, December 2019

Labor recordings take a big forward step with this chamber music pair. (Labor is decidedly obscure, but his organ music is better represented.) These Romantic works in textbook forms may not approach the intricacy of Schumann or Brahms, but there are memorable moments and plenty to admire. Both are played with flair; I would put this on my “Best of 2019” if I made lists. © 2019 La Folia Read complete review

Nicolas Blanmont
Musiq3, November 2019

The interpretation of cellist Justis Grimm and his colleagues is of compelling enthusiasm. © 2019 Musiq3

Rob Barnett
MusicWeb International, October 2019

The slightly shorter piano quartet opens with a melody of trickling and babbling dynamism. It rises without breathlessness to considerable heights but what stays with this listener is the burbling theme which promises much and delivers. That first movement runs to 12 minutes.

The close-quarters recording is very warm. This complements the music’s Brahmsian warmth and these players’ musicianship. © 2019 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, October 2019

The performers of this CD deserve recognition for their unagitated expressiveness which does not force anything that could harm the music. This makes this CD truly enjoyable. © 2019 Pizzicato Read complete review

Records International, October 2019

Labor, blind from the age of three and known mostly as an organ composer (and teacher of Schoenberg), writes music full of flowing melodies which meander through lovely landscapes of the mind and deliver what sentimentalists might describe as “heart’s ease”. His clarinet quartet was offered way back in March 2006 (03H046). © 2019 Records International

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