Classical Music Home

Welcome to Naxos Records

Keyword Search
 Classical Music Home > Naxos Album Reviews

Album Reviews

See latest reviews of other albums...

Colin Clarke
Fanfare, March 2018

This has to be one of Çedille’s finest offerings. The overall premise is a stark and harrowing one, that of music written under extreme circumstances. As they say themselves, this is a “heavy” album, but a necessary one, lest we forget.

The Dover Quartet has clearly thought long and hard about the interpretation of [Ullmann’s] score, something evidenced perhaps most strikingly in the clarity of counterpoint and line throughout. While there are several recommendable recordings of this work already in the catalog, this particular performance seems to combine polish and latent power in a most convincing way.

It’s fascinating to hear a work by Szymon Lak. …The Dover Quartet revels in the juxtapositions here, from the jaunty music of freedom to those mediations on the burden of memories from times of captivity. The depth of those feelings finds its voice in the slow movement (Poco lento, sostenuto), the ending of which is almost unbearable in its poignancy. The pizzicato-dominated third movement balances this weight of expression before the finale, a theme and variations, builds its way inexorably forwards. This is a superb work, superbly performed. © 2018 Fanfare Read complete review

Guy Rickards
Gramophone, February 2018

The recorded sound, by comparison to its main rivals, is a little flat but every detail can be heard and the close miking does give a very intimate feel (especially on headphones). If the Dover do not outstrip the Nash Ensemble in the Ullmann, their pacing of the Shostakovich is convincing, although broader than the Emerson. They are technically excellent—listen to their dispatch of the pizzicato Scherzo of the Laks. Well worth investing in. © 2018 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Phil Muse
Audio Video Club of Atlanta, February 2018

What a find this was! The Dover String Quartet, consisting of Joel Link and Bryan Lee, violins; Milena Pajaro-van den Stadt, viola; and Camden Shaw, cello; have outdone themselves in vital performances of three works of music that convey the suffering, pity, and terror of some of the darkest pages of human history.

The pacing by the Dover Quartet…is superb. A wealth of wonderful detail really justifies the use of 24-bit recording for these performances. © 2018 Audio Video Club of Atlanta Read complete review

John Dutterer
American Record Guide, January 2018

Having only released two albums so far, the Dover Quartet has established itself with an ease that is quite rare. Proteges of the Guarneri Quartet, the group has won the Cleveland Quartet Award, the Banff Competition, and the Avery Fisher Career Grant, in addition to collaborating with Edgar Meyer, Marc-André Hamelin, and Peter Serkin. Somewhere in Boise, Budapest, or Beijing, some young quartet is pining away for such opportunities.

In any anthology of string quartets, the Shostakovich is usually the main attraction. His are all creative, intimate, yet universal; and these pieces seem more essential than the quartets of any other 20th Century composer. In the opening movement of the Quartet 2, the Dover Quartet is edgy and even headlong, which does work well here.

In the seven decades since he died at Theresienstadt, Viktor Ullmann’s reputation has grown slowly but unmistakably, though nothing of his has become standard repertoire. Breaking with tradition, his Quartet 3 has but two movements, one just under 15 minutes and the other under 3; the latter contains almost all of the momentum. Given that this was written in a concentration camp, you might expect anguish or despair, but instead the feeling is of gentle melancholy tinged with ennui. That may not sound appealing, and yet it is a very fulfilling piece with a perfect tone and duration.

Born in Poland but cosmopolitan by inclination, Szymon Laks truly deserves to be better known. …Written in 1945 and presumably among his first works after he was freed, Quartet 3 is a delight; it almost doesn’t have the gravity to justify its inclusion on such a grandly-named release, but it reminds us that that defiance can take many forms. © 2018 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, December 2017

The Dover Quartet’s performance of the Third Quartet is especially beautiful, its languid and expressive opening showing Debussy’s influence just as much as any infiltrations from Schoenberg. The hazy and vaporous direction of the writing has an admixture of almost Zemlinskian decadence, the Dover players phrasing richly, with dynamics well varied, with the more abrasive elements of the music emerging all the more shockingly because of the surrounding textual beauties. Such is certainly the case with the grotesque dance motifs, overt, assertive, and triumphant. The brief second movement finale is splendidly judged.

The Dover Quartet plays with refinement and expressive balance as well as driving rhythm and abrasion, as required. © 2017 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Bob Neill
Positive Feedback Online, November 2017

The Dover Quartet are absolutely wonderful musicians—this becomes clearest to me in the Shostakovich quartet which I know well. Dynamics, emotional power, definition, and an inspired sense of how to play this composer. I’ve heard many recordings of this work but this one has the feel of the definitive. © 2017 Positive Feedback Online Read complete review

Lewis J. Whittington, November 2017

Dover Quartet’s technical artistry is a given, but there’s also that chamber quartet “X-factor” that can’t be forced. Undoubtedly, their ensemble synergy is luminous in this recording. These are historic compositions, and this recording is among the most important releases of this or any other year. © 2017 Read complete review

David Vernier, November 2017

The Dover Quartet has already demonstrated its deserved place among the world’s premier ensembles, and here, in its exploration and illumination of two lesser-known but also deserving composers and works, rescued from the ashes of mid-20th century Europe, shows a commitment not only to upholding the highest technical and interpretive standards, but to entertain and encourage inquisitive, open-eared audiences. And I should mention that the sound, from the Banff Centre in Alberta, Canada, expertly captures the “feel”, the presence of a string quartet playing live. Here is an example of imaginative, enlightened—and enlightening—programming. Highly recommended. © 2017 Read complete review

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, October 2017

The Dover Quartet digs very deep in the music of Ullmann’s, Laks’s and Shostakovich’s quartets. The main work here, the Second Quartet by Shostakovich, is heard in a haunting performance, sending chills down the spine especially in the extremely dreary Romance. I can’t remember any other quartet playing this music like the ‘Dovers’ do. © 2017 Pizzicato

Gay Lemco
Audiophile Audition, October 2017

The Dover Quartet embraces three visions of the Holocaust, music that testifies to Humanity’s stoic resilience. © 2017 Audiophile Audition Read complete review

Dean Frey
Music for Several Instruments, September 2017

These three works are truly Voices of Defiance; there is anger and sadness in this music, but no despair. …The marvellous Dover Quartet, whose debut CD demonstrated great technique and musicality, bear witness here, to keep alive the memory of three tortured souls whose own sacrifices preserved precious remnants of civilization in the midst of the most horrific barbarism. © 2017 Music for Several Instruments Read complete review

Naxos Records, a member of the Naxos Music Group