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NX 3088
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NX 3088

ZEMLINSKY, A.: String Quartets, Vol. 2 (Escher String Quartet) - Nos. 1 and 2

The Classical Shop
release date: July 2014

Recorded in 24 Bit / 96Khz
album available as a Studio Master
Originally recorded in 2014


Sophisticated Lady Jazz Quartet


Escher String Quartet



United Methodist Church, Port Charlotte, Florida, U.S.A.


Record Label




Total Time - 74:54
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ZEMLINSKY, A.: String Quartets, Vol. 2 (Escher String Quartet) - Nos. 1 and 2

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String Quartet No. 1 in A Major, Op. 4

1 I. Allegro con fuoco 12:06
2 II. Allegretto - quarter note: etwas schneller als fruher (quarter note - 6/8 prestissimo) - Tempo di allegretto 04:25
3 III. Breit und kraftig 08:01
4 IV. Vivace e con fuoco 07:23

String Quartet No. 2, Op. 15

5 I. Sehr masssig (quasi andante) - Heftig und leidenschaftlich - Andante mosso - Etwas rascher - 12:09
6 II. Adagio - 08:22
7 III. Schnell (die Achtel) - 06:05
8 IV. Andante 10:10
9 V. Langsam 06:13
 Sophisticated Lady Jazz Quartet Ensemble

 By 1896, at the age of twenty-five, Alexander Zemlinsky was one of the rising stars in the Viennese musical firmament. His first opera had been written, he had won a number of awards, and he had earned the support of Johannes Brahms. In July of the same year he began writing his First String Quartet, a work of sweeping lyricism, rich dance patterns, and self-confidence, couched within the bounds of a relatively conventional palette. Seventeen years later he began his Second String Quartet. Kaleidoscopic in effect, mood, and technical demands, and redolent of the music of the new century—led by his brother-in-law Arnold Schoenberg—it was to place Zemlinsky securely in the European avant-garde.

 "Zemlinsky is a nest of paradoxes: intense yet elusive, opulent but also sensitive and subtle, he can be difficult to grasp on first, or even second hearing. The Escher Quartet achieves a near-impossible balance, especially in the complex Quartet No. 2, clarifying its structure without betraying its fragile heart, while the Brahmsian First is a joyous surprise."

BBC Music magazine - January 2015

                       Recording of the Year

"...Another cycle completed albeit of just 2 discs. Performances to enhance the stature of artists, composer and music. Surely now the Zemlinsky string quartet cycle of choice and a must-buy for any interested in 20th century chamber music."
Nick Barnard - - December 2014

                    Critic’s Choice

"... The Eschers play impeccably and with emotional depth ... the balance is always perfect, with each instrument leading and following as required."
Greg Pagel - American Record Guide - November/December 2014

"...In every way the Escher impressed me as one of Naxos’s best finds in their continual search for new talent..."  - Huntley Dent 

 "...[Thanks] to Naxos’s clean recording, one hears every note by every instrument ... [and] it suits Zemlinsky to a tee.[The Second quartet] ... maintains a strong whiff of Romanticism, more so than any other I know, and becomes wildly impassioned at appropriate moments... this is all Zemlinsky, all the time. A keeper!"    - James H North
"...excellent performances ..." - Jerry Dubins 
Fanfare - November/December 2014

"... The Escher Quartet is clearly very comfortable in all of Zemlinsky’s multiple voices and advocates powerfully for the chamber music of this unjustly neglected master of the string quartet... Naxos is to be congratulated for putting out this disc and for championing the music of Alexander Zemlinsky, whose quartets will hopefully reach a wider audience. Recommended." 

José Luis Bermúdez - Classical Net - September 2014

                        The Strad Recommends

"This disc completes the Escher Quartet’s Zemlinsky cycle so effectively ... The two works make a complementary pair and draw upon different areas of the Escher’s skills as an ensemble. Balance and recorded sound are exemplary and add lustre to a powerful pair of performances."  
Matthew Rye - The Strad - October 2014

                       Classical CD of the Year

"This second disc is as impressive, and includes a superb performance of the Second Quartet ..."
Andrew Clements - The Guardian - June 2014

                    Recording of the Month

"...For anyone with an interest in string quartets as a form, these works should be compulsory listening. For anyone interested in the art of string quartet playing this disc is little short of sensational—remarkable expressive and musical range achieved with a technical security and near perfect ensemble that transcends any criticism. A disc of the year."
Nick Barnard - - August 2014

"After a first very successful disc with the last two Zemlinsky Quartets, the Escher String Quartet gives an impressive account of the two first quartets, the feverish second with its gripping atmospheres being the highlight of this superb CD."  *****

Remy Franck - - 28 August 2014

"... a performance that probes the depths and surges forwards with a sense of inevitability that, given what the century had in store, is ’authentic’ in the truest possible sense."

Rob Cowen - Gramophone magazine - September 2014

                              Performance *****           Recording *****

"... this recording is a remendous achievement by any standards."

Erik Levi - BBC Music magazine - September 2014

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