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The Record Geijutsu , February 2013
Monthly review of new releases Chamber music- Special Selection CD
Akira TAKAHASHI Recommended
The Lotus Quartet, who conduct their activities internationally on the European stage, has released a long-awaited new recording. The recording, Brahms String Quartets Nos. 1 in C minor and 2 in A minor, is a valuable one as these works are not performed very often in Japan.
In the Op. 51 No. 1 in C minor, they fully bring to life an abundance of sentiment flowing from the depths of Brahms' music. The sound of all parts is beautiful with a wealth of expression, and a rich atmosphere is cultivated by the entire ensemble. The balance of the four parts of theRomanze in the second movement is particularly good, where a beautiful harmony is brought forth. In the third movement, each part is performed with an abundance of expression and is thus an enjoyable performance to hear. All parts in the fourth movement are moreover performed with a lively overflowing energy in all parts.
In the quartet work in A minor, an eloquent performance is created by the beautiful tone of the strings and rich expression from the first theme presented in the opening of the first movement, and the second movement is also beautifully introduced with an abundance of expression. Their performance is also satisfying as it progresses and definitely remains brisk without being dragged down by heaviness. Their tone was beautiful, their sound was rich, and their interpretation was brimming with confidence. Through this performance which fully brought to life the melancholic feeling of this movement, one can sufficiently have a glimpse into Brahms' personality. In the andante moderato of the second movement, the first theme is performed with a rich expression where even the rests have a meaningful presence.
Masazumi OHKI Recommended
Although I think all three works of Brahms string quartet are enormously charming pieces, there are not many quartets which take on these works. In this context it can be said that this CD is a rare one, as comprises only the Two String Quartets Op. 51, the playback time of which is about 70 minutes, thus fully immersing the listener in a unique world.
Firstly, let's talk about the Op. 51 No. 1 in C minor. The Lotus Quartet performs this work with a fluid feeling and natural breathing based on a gentle fluidity, where a weeping tone permeates through nearly the entire piece. They quietly bring forth a romantic shade without overemphasising technique and certainly not by raising their voices. The motif, which should be called 'Brahms' weeping passage' as it appears everywhere, is profoundly and quietly moving.
The performance of the Op. 51 No. 2 is also elegantly refined. Although I still wonder whether I ought to comment that the performers' tender treatment of the score is a womanly thing, in any case the exquisite vicissitudes of passion are woven beautifully in the ensemble. Itis a performance which thoroughly relays the intrinsic charm of the string quartet work which obviously shows the lyrical side of Brahms.
Although I had been truly disappointed to learn that the Lotus Quartet underwent a change in members after their renowned ﾐ I would say miraculous - Schumann CD, luckily I am pleased to no end to feel the steady growth of this string quartet based on their 2008 live recording of the Razumovsky and this Brahms recording.
Masao MINEO Recommended [Recording critic]
Recorded March 2012 in Heidelberg. The four instruments were nicely positioned between both speakers, providing a short reverberation of just the right amount. The tone balance was full from the middle range and lower, which was developed whilst providing support overall so that even the viola, which can become buried at times, could be clearly heard.Although the sound is thick, as it is sufficiently clear through to the lower ranges, there are no muddled sounds whatsoever.
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