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Laurence Vittes
Gramophone, September 2012

Aaron Jay Kernis’s String Quartet No 1 is like music heard in dreams long ago and now suddenly remembered, and loved, and deeply missed. The 15-minute first movement, ‘Flowing’, dominates the piece; after a careening journey through richly harmonic, tonal but absorbingly unpredictable landscapes, the following movements fall as if in a trance under its dizzying fantasy. The third movement, a Scherzo, dances with the brilliance of a young Benjamin Britten, rich with strummed pizzicato chords.

The Jasper Quartet, in common with their young Canadian colleagues Cecilia and Afiara, share an extreme sensitivity to the way composers layer sound and use harmony to affect the listener’s soul; the very different make-up of their personalities makes their musical journeys each completely individual. Their Schubert works very well in this cool hip way; the absence of portamento becomes a strength when you also fall under the Jasper’s spell. The theme-and-variations second movement is bittersweet and passionately phrased; you can feel the heat on the Jaspers’ necks at the end of the Presto. © 2012 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

James Manheim, July 2012

The Jasper String Quartet, originally formed at the Oberlin Conservatory in Ohio, has released several albums under a “Kernis Project” rubric, pairing works by Aaron Jay Kernis with established repertory pieces. It would be interesting to learn exactly how the project came about, and to what extent it was undertaken specifically to promote the Pulitzer Prize-winning Kernis. On top of this, the Jasper’s Schubert String Quartet in D minor, D. 810 (“Death and the Maiden”), a flowing reading with forward motion rather than dramatic gestures, is worth your time whether you like Kernis or not. An intriguing item from the new Sono Luminus label, which has inherited generally high engineering standards from its predecessor, Dorian. © 2012 Read complete review

Terry Robbins
The WholeNote, June 2012

The performances are top-notch, and the recording quality is equally good. If you don’t know this series, then you’re really missing something; apart from anything else, it is all the proof you could ever need that there are contemporary composers adding magnificent and significant works to the string quartet repertoire. © 2012 The WholeNote Read complete review

Crossover Media, June 2012

Sono Luminus is proud to bring you the second CD from The Jasper String Quartet, The Kernis Project: Schubert, pairing the celestial works of Aaron Jay Kernis and Franz Schubert. Not only do Schubert and Kernis both ruminate in the angelic and spiritual realms for these works, their overall compositional structures are strikingly similar. Both feature monumental opening movements, transcendent slow movements, short and driving scherzos, and devilish finales. © 2012 Crossover Media Read complete review

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