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10 July 2015
""Very nuanced in tonal articulation, carefully pondering in dynamics, rhythmically spontaneous and yet controlled""Fono Forum, 01-11-2015
Since its formation in 1972, the Brodsky Quartet has performed over 3000 concerts on the major stages of the world and has released more than 60 recordings. A natural curiosity and an insatiable desire to explore has propelled the group in a number of artistic directions and continues to ensure them not only a prominent presence on the international chamber music scene, but also a rich and varied musical existence. Their energy and craftsmanship has attracted numerous awards and accolades worldwide, while ongoing educational work provides a vehicle for passing on experience and staying in touch with the next generation.
Throughout their 40-year career, the Brodsky Quartet has enjoyed a busy international performing schedule, and has toured extensively throughout Australasia, North and South America, Asia, South Africa, and Europe, as well as performing at many of the UK’s major festivals and venues. The quartet is also regularly recorded for broadcast on BBC Radio. Over the years the Brodsky Quartet has undertaken numerous performances of the complete cycles of quartets by Schubert, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Britten, Schoenberg, Zemlinsky, Webern and Bartok. It is, however, the complete Shostakovich cycle that has now become synonymous with their name: their 2012 London performance of the cycle resulting in them taking the prestigious title of ‘Artist in Residence’ at London’s Kings Place.
The Brodsky Quartet also has a busy recording career, and 2012 marked the beginning of a new and exclusive relationship with Chandos Records. Releases on the label so far include Petits Fours,a celebratory album of ‘Encore’ pieces, arranged exclusively by the Quartet for their 40th anniversary; a Debussy compilation including the Quartet's long-awaited recording of the great Debussy Quartet; In the South featuring works by Verdi, Paganini, Wolf and Puccini; New World Quartets comprising works by Dvorak, Copland, Gershwin and Brubeck; and the first of two Brahms discs which includes the iconic Clarinet Quintet with collaborating partner, Michael Collins. Recent awards for recordings include the Diapason D'Or and the CHOC du Monde de la Musique for their recordings of string quartets by Britten, Beethoven and Janacek, and, for their outstanding contribution to innovation in programming, the Brodsky Quartet has received a Royal Philharmonic Society Award. They have taught at many international chamber music courses and held residencies in several music institutes, including the first such post at the University of Cambridge. They are currently International Fellows of Chamber Music at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and have been awarded Honorary Doctorates at the University of Kent and University of Teesside.
The Quartet is named after the great Russian violinist Adolf Brodsky, dedicatee of Tchaikovsky's violin concerto and a passionate chamber musician.
Daniel Rowland plays a violin made by Lorenzo Storioni of Cremona in 1793; Ian Belton’s violin is by Gio. Paolo Maggini c.1615 and Paul Cassidy plays on La Delfina viola, c. 1720, courtesy of Sra. Delfina Entrecanales. Jacqueline Thomas plays a cello made by Thomas Perry in 1785.
Benjamin Britten is one most important British composers from the second half of the twentieth century. Remarkably, he focused on opera, a dying genre, at least in its current form. Britten's contributions however, among which Peter Grimes, The Rape of Lucretia, Gloriana, The Turn of the Screw, and Death in Venice, managed to remain core repertoire for opera companies to this day. Many of these productions included a role for his artistic partner and life companion Peter Pears. Britten also wrote a number of lieder for this tenor, among which his Serenade for tenor, horn and string orchestra. Yet, Britten excelled in many more genres. He wasn't even 20 years old when he composed his brilliant Phantasy for hobo quartet and his friendship with the legendary cellist Rostropovich led to a Cello sonata, three Suites for cello solo and a Symphony for Cello and orchestra in the 1960s.
Britten never became Master of the Queen's Music, yet he surely had feeling for public sentiments. For example, as a pacifist, he taught his people about world peace through his War Requiem from 1962. Britten was an excellent interpreter of his own work, just like Bartók and Stravinsky. Many of his recordings have been matched, but never exceeded.
"Very nuanced in tonal articulation, carefully pondering in dynamics, rhythmically spontaneous and yet controlled"
Fono Forum, 01-11-2015
["].. The detail, the warmth, sophistication and intensity sounds fresh " as ever " and the deep, subtle strings sound does the rest."
“The Brodsky are the Britten team for the new century, and at full price they take advantage of the super-refined Snape Maltings acoustic to offer performances of great intelligence and expressive power. No other recording of No 2 manages to convey the dramatic passion and lyric sweep of Britten's marvellously idiomatic string writing more persuasively than this one does. At two points during the long finale, the inner voices don't sound, to these ears, sufficiently distinct, the presentation of the all- pervading chaconne theme under-articulated...this is exemplary, with immaculate ensemble and a sense of spontaneous expressive engagement bringing out the full stature of this deeply felt, valedictory music. A memorable disc, then, and an outstanding Britten cycle.”
The Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 30-7-2015