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SCULTHORPE, P.: String Quartets with Didjeridu (Complete) (Kent, Del Sol String Quartet)


Dorian Sono Luminus DSL-92181

   La Folia, February 2016
   Limelight, March 2015
   Fanfare, March 2015
   Fanfare, March 2015
   The Strad, February 2015
   The Arts Desk, February 2015
   MusicWeb International, February 2015
   Strings Magazine, February 2015
   Audiophilia, January 2015
   Gramophone, January 2015
   BBC Music Magazine, January 2015
   Audiophile Audition, December 2014
   PS Audio, December 2014
   Classical Net, December 2014
   The New York Times, November 2014
   Infodad.com, November 2014
   San Francisco Chronicle, November 2014
   Baker & Taylor CD Hotlist, November 2014
   Classical Net, November 2014
   KDFC Radio, October 2014
   Blu-rayDefinition.com, October 2014

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Grant Chu Covell
La Folia, February 2016

In five movements, No. 16 tackles the plight of refugees in Australia’s detention centers. The parts are titled Loneliness, Anger, Yearning, Trauma and Freedom, and the music develops ethnic melodies. No. 18 delivers the strongest emotional impact, combining plaintive tunes as it depicts a damaged planet. The final movement, Postlude, is undeniably Mahlerian, if Mahler had written for these instruments. © 2016 La Folia Read complete review




Philip Scott
Limelight, March 2015

The American Del Sol Quartet’s obvious understanding of this ultra-Australian music, their fine textural blending and depth of tone all contribute to the success of these performances. [Stephen Kent’s] choices complement the quartet’s work beautifully, and do not feel intrusive in the slightest. Moreover, the recording quality is among the best I have heard on a new quartet release for some time. © 2015 Musical Toronto Read complete review



Phillip Scott
Fanfare, March 2015

These performances are a complete success. [The Del Sol Quartet’s] deep understanding, perfect textural blending and depth of tone all contribute to the finished product. As you might imagine, the didgeridoo player is allowed a fair bit of leeway in terms of light, shade, and color. Kent’s choices complement the Quartet’s work beautifully, and do not feel intrusive in the slightest. Moreover, the recording quality is among the best I have heard on a new quartet release for quite some time—all of which makes for a fascinating, unmissable set. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review



Raymond Tuttle
Fanfare, March 2015

…the performances…sound excellent…

The engineering…is wonderful, and the didgeridoo’s bass drone has a visceral impact. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review



David Kettle
The Strad, February 2015

The players of the San Francisco-based Del Sol Quartet are entirely attuned to Sculthorpe’s rich, lyrical sound world. They’re unafraid to give full rein to his yearning, diatonic melodies and pulsing accompaniments in their finely articulated readings, which nevertheless sound fresh and spontaneous. Stephen Kent supplies sensitive didgeridoo contributions…Sculthorpe tackles big issues in these works—colonisation, climate change, discrimination—and the quintet of players’ bold, expressive performances more than do them justice. © 2015 The Strad Read complete review



Graham Rickson
The Arts Desk, February 2015

There’s a palpable sense of excitement and discovery in the Del Sol Quartet’s playing, and Solo Luminus’s engineering is unobtrusively spectacular. © 2015 The Arts Desk Read complete review



Gary Higginson
MusicWeb International, February 2015

[The] Del Sol Quartet…are quite superb and totally sympathetic to the demands of the music…

…this is a fascinating release and opens out a unique and evocative sound-world. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Laurence Vittes
Strings Magazine, February 2015

The Del Sol String Quartet with didjeridu virtuoso Stephen Kent, convey Sculthorpe’s sense of mood and style with gentle poetry, and there is a sense of music flowing at deep meditative levels. © 2015 Strings Magazine Read complete review



Andy Fawcett
Audiophilia, January 2015

The richness of the sound world created by exquisitely refined European string instruments backed by the raw, primal, guttural resonance of a hollow branch is hard to describe, but extraordinarily immersive. Spectacularly played throughout, the sound quality is of absolute reference standard…A deeply surprising and deeply compelling release, it is the worthy recipient of an Audiophilia ‘Star Recording’ award. © 2015 Audiophilia Read complete review



William Yeoman
Gramophone, January 2015

…these terrific performances of Quartets Nos 12, 14, 16 and 18 are thoroughly idiomatic, laying bare Sculthorpe’s preoccupations with injustice—to the Aboriginals, to asylum seekers and to the land itself—with a youthful sincerity and passion. Kent became familiar with Aboriginal culture and the didjeridu while Music Director of Circus Oz, and he blends its distinctive drone with the strings with great skill—and respect. © 2015 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone




Anthony Burton
BBC Music Magazine, January 2015

The performances by the San Francisco-based Del Sol Quartet and the British-born Stephen Kent are exemplary; the stereo recording (there’s also a surround-sound Blu-ray option) creates a well-integrated sound-picture. © 2015 BBC Music Magazine




Daniel Coombs
Audiophile Audition, December 2014

The performances here are superb and this is one of the most fascinating albums I have heard in awhile. I enjoyed both formats of this spectacular release but I do recommend the surround Blu-ray especially for its ability to pick up some subtleties in the didjeridu.

[Sculthorpe] is a composer whose music should be known and this release is both a terrific introduction as well as a testament to his talent and his beliefs. © 2014 Audiophile Audition Read complete review



Lawrence Schenbeck
PS Audio, December 2014

The Bay Area-based Del Sol Quartet gives committed, knowledgeable performances, enhanced by high-resolution multichannel recordings…The sound is vividly “present,” well-balanced, and richly timbred. © 2014 PS Audio Read complete review



Brian Wigman
Classical Net, December 2014

The music is exotic, sensual, tragic, and more. Stephen Kent—for a lack of a better word—rocks out on his instrument and makes it do wild things. And the Del Sol Quartet is equally willing to let loose; the results are magical. © 2014 Classical Net Read complete review



Corinna da Fonseca-Wollheim
The New York Times, November 2014

…the tonal beauty of the four string instruments, anchored by the otherworldly burr of the didgeridoo, create a hypnotic sound world well worth exploring. © 2014 The New York Times Read complete review



Infodad.com, November 2014

The quartets by Peter Sculthorpe presented on a new Dorian Sono Luminus release certainly show the composer creating unusual instrumental combinations and using his own methods of producing musical discussions. The works are, in any case, very well performed by the Del Sol Quartet, which is particularly adept at bringing out their tonal beauty. © 2014 Infodad.com Read complete review




Joshua Kosman
San Francisco Chronicle, November 2014

There is plenty of referential material in these pieces, including landscape imagery, the sound of bird cries, and a range of political concerns (for aboriginal peoples and asylum seekers). But the main thrust, especially in the luminous performances by the Del Sol and the didgeridoo virtuoso Stephen Kent, is the lush interplay of expressive melodies and keening, vivid harmonies. There’s nothing hidden here—the music is heart-on-sleeve in its forthright openness. © 2014 San Francico Chronicle Read complete review



Rick Anderson
Baker & Taylor CD Hotlist, November 2014

…these works are challenging but accessible, the didjeridu incorporated seamlessly and respectfully and with careful thought given to how it might work in the deepest structural parts of the music—not just as some kind of exotic accessory. Highly recommended. © 2014 Baker & Taylor CD Hotlist Read complete review



Mark Sealey
Classical Net, November 2014

…both the Del Sol Quartet and didjeridu player, Stephen Kent, have great sensitivity to the sound world which Sculthorpe creates. They are also alive to the variety which the didjeridu and string quartet are capable of.

…Stephen Kent plays the didjeridu with sensitivity, light and enthusiasm; yet actively and in an appropriately respectful way… © 2014 Classical Net Read complete review



Jeffrey Freymann
KDFC Radio, October 2014

The didjeridu, for all its simplicity is able to achieve quite a variety of sounds: a droning bass, percussive effects, as well as higher complex overtones that can imitate many sounds of nature. © 2014 KDFC Radio Read complete review




Lawrence D. Devoe
Blu-rayDefinition.com, October 2014

There is a natural sounding depth and width that gives the listener a very good (if somewhat close) seat in the recording hall. The warmth of the instruments is well reproduced in all versions.

Much of this music is introspective and tends toward melancholia, but this is the nature of much of the subject matter of these pieces, stemming from some of the sad history of this “down under” land…I would recommend listening in more than one session so as not to miss the inherent beauty in Sculthorpe’s musical line and richness of expression. The didjeridu adds a unique voice to the string ensemble and will make quite an impression on listeners coming to this instrument for the first time. Sono Luminus provides a fine valediction to a brilliant and original composer… © 2014 Blu-rayDefinition.com Read complete review





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