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James H. North
Fanfare, September 2017

The Kazakh State String Quartet (Aidar Toktaliyev, Alexey Lebedev, Bekzat Sailaubaiuly, and Yernar Myntayev) was formed in 1988; it has been through several personnel changes, the latest addition being violist Sailaubaiuly, who joined in January 2015, nine months before these recordings were made. They display admirable tonal virtues, individually and in ensemble, built up from the cello of Myntayev, the quartet’s leader. The playing is beautiful in every way; one would be happy to hear the Kazakh in everything from Haydn to Bartók.

It’s a marvelous, fascinating disc. I offer one caution: Listen to each piece separately, several times, rather than just hitting PLAY. That way the individual qualities of each may be more readily distinguished and absorbed. © 2017 Fanfare Read complete review

Jack Sullivan
American Record Guide, July 2017

There is a lot to sort out and enjoy here. The opening piece, Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly’s ‘Adai’, sets the album up, presenting basic modes and rhythms from the culture. It is bracing and sizzling and goes by in a flash. …Zhubanova worked in numerous genres, including symphony, ballet, and vocal music, and was a revered figure. One can see why in this haunting, tuneful quartet. She manipulates native harmonies and open sounds in forward-looking ways—listen to the subtle dissonance in the gorgeous Andante or the piquant finale—but the basic profile is closer to Dvorak than anything contemporary. Her Quartet 2, written in 1991, two years before she died, is far more adventurous, opening with a harmonically ambiguous Adagio Misterioso played with vibrato-free, ghostly stillness by the Kazahk players.

The Kazakh State Quartet is a confident, polished ensemble, executing the sizzling Kasakh rhythms with finesse. But what impresses me most is their sense of poetry. © 2017 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Remy Franck
Pizzicato, May 2017

Full-blooded performances, vivid in feeling and passionate, of a colourful program with chamber music from Kazakhstan. © 2017 Pizzicato

Lynn René Bayley
The Art Music Lounge, April 2017

Here’s an album of music composed by Kazakhstan musicians over a period of almost 200 years, starting with famed 19th-century folk musician and dombra player Kurmangazy Sagyrbayuly, whose Adai will perk you up and grab your attention. Evidently composed for the dombra, it is arranged here for string quartet and playing with considerable verve by the Kazekh State String Quartet. © 2017 The Art Music Lounge Read complete review

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