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Reviews

Excerpts from critical writings on the tour in Germany

"The centre of the concert was the 5th String Quartet of Bartók. The main characteristic attribute of the quartet is the dual symmetry, which is present in both the whole piece and in the individual movements. The axis of symmetry is the 3rd movement. First the Kodály String Quartet played the piece, which was followed by an entertaining but professional discussion led by the expert Patrick E. Hahn that involved both the musicians and the audience. Then the piece was performed again. This second hearing did not seem like a repetition, but was felt to be fresh and new to everyone, due to the newly gained knowledge on the meaning, structure, musical foundations and background of the piece.
The Quartet performed the piece with convincing professionalism, in a symbiosis of sense and emotions."
- Bonn, in General-Anzeiger, 10.02.2011.

"Hungarians are open and temperamental like south-Europeans, but precise like Germans, or, even better, like Swiss. This positive prejudice was absolutely proven in terms of music by the Kodály String Quartet. The most beautiful in the production was the fact that the music was not simply alive, but it was shining with the warmth of the heart. This was true for both the 2nd String Quartet of Kodály (op. 10) and the String Quartet of Haydn. The ultimate peak of the concert was the 5th String Quartet of Bartók, presenting the stylistic evolution of modern music. The encore - a menuet of Schubert - was temptation itself. Success was very well earned by the virtuoso Hungarians."
- Dachau, in Dachauer Nachrichten, 14.02.2011.

"The four Hungarian musicians in the first place presented the way of how modernism became part of the music of their country. The highlight of the concert was the great Bartók, his work keeps us in total tension for five movements. We are lucky to have Hungary on the stage outside Brahms' Hungarian Dances."
- Hildesheim, 21.02.2011.

"The Friends of Music and Arts of Heidelberg have shown a great deal of courage by organising certain unusual chamber concerts in the city. Even more so, when we consider Kodály's opinion: 'Concerts like these are only attended by a very small group of musically educated people.'. The Kodály String Quartet of Budapest, which was founded in 1966, is one of the richest consorts in terms of tradition in their genre. Their mission is of course to perform the works of Kodály himself, but they are among the greatest interpreters of Beethoven and Schubert. The quartet performed the three pieces with a certain air of Beethovenian perfection. To keep the balance even while playing non-symmetric rhythmic patterns - this is one of the many strengths of the Kodály String Quartet that is hardly matched by anyone."
- Heidelberg, in Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung, 16.02.2011.

"We could hear, how the extensive knowledge of folk music of Kodály and Bartók made an appearance in the chamber music. Expressive, emotional, fascinating - these are the best adjectives to describe the concert of the Kodály String Quartet. The 3rd movement of Schumann's 1st String Quartet was echoed by the hearts of the audience. The String Quartet of Kodály (Nr.2) and that of Bartók (Nr.5) brought us to a new world of exquisite music. Quick pacing, daring moments, and expressive passages: the Hungarians presented these with elegant ease.
This evening was clearly the highlight of the current season."
- Trier, Trierischer Volksfreund, 11.02.2011.

RECORDS:

Haydn: String quartets Op. 1 Nos 1-4
in: CD Review,
"...the performances blend impeccable style, a melting quietude and ample brio."

Haydn: String quartets Op.74 Nos 1-3.
in: Penguin Guide
"The performances are superbly shaped, naturally paced and alive, the playing is cultivated, yet it has depth of feeling too, and the group readily communicate their pleasure in this wonderful music."

Haydn: String quartet Op.76
"Haydn's six Erdody Quartets Op 76. contain some of his very greatest music, and these performances by the Kodály Quartet are fully worthy of the composer's inexhaustible invention. Their playing brings a joyful pleasure in Haydn's inspiration, every bar of the music springs to life spontaneously, and these musicians insights bring an ideal combination of authority and warmth, omotional balance and structural awareness."

Debussy : String quartet G minore
"...the Kodály Quartet are an excellent ensemble and they give a thoroughly enjoyable account that can be recommended…"

Ravel : String quartet in F
"...play with a sensitivity and accomplishment that give great pleasure. Artistically and technically this is a satisfying performance which ha sthe feel of real music-making."

Haydn : The Seven Last Words of our Saviour on the Cross
in: The Penguin Guide
"...The Kodály Quartet give a memorable performance, strongly characterized and beautifully played, with subtle contrasts of expressive tension between the seven inner slow movements."

Haydn : String quartet Op. 54/1
in: Penguin Guide
"...The Kodály players enter into the spirit of the music and give a fine, direct account of Op. 54/1."

Haydn : String quartet Op.76 Nos 1-6
in: The Music Magazine
"...Neat but never fussy articulation, subtle shading and balancing of chords, and unanimity of ensemble characterize the Kodály's performance, and there is a strong sense of purpose as well as repose in their playing."

Haydn : String quartet Op.76 Nos 1-3
in: Penguin Guide
"...This is how Haydn could and maybe should be played. In a robust, healthy way, with a spring in his step and using every opportunity for humoristic effects!"

Haydn : String quartets Op.76
in: Penguin Guide
"...Their playing brings a joyful pleasure in Haydn's inspiration and a polished refinement… every bar of the music springs to life spontaneously, and these musicians' insight bring an ideal combination of authority and warm, emotional balance and and structural awareness."

Schubert : String quartet No 14. „Death and the maiden" in: Classics, "...The team makes every point suggested by markings of dynamics and accentuation, yet sees beyond the details to the emotions and structure of the music."

in: Dresdner neueste Nachrichten
"...Die auf Wettbeweren mehrmals pramierte Truppe nimmt sich nun nach dem Klassiker Haydn des Quartettschaffens von Franz Schubert an und legt unter anderem dessen Quartett Nr.14 'Der Tod und das Madchen' in einer sehr ausdrucksintensiven und klangschönen interpretation vor."

Schubert : Piano quintet in A major „Trout" op.posth. 114
in: Fanfar
"...The Kodály Quartet members muster bite and concentration, but always with tonal warmth and a sense of easy motion."

Schubert : Quartettsatz D. 703 et String quartet No.14 D 810
in: Diapason
"Leur approche de 'La Jeune Fille et la mort' impressionne par sa tension dramatique qui ne se relache jamais tout au long de l'oeuvre. …"Le 'Quartettsatz' bagine lui aussi dans ce climat puissant du romantisme allemand le plus tourmenté, un rien moins tendu cependant que le 'Quatour'."


TOUR REVIEWS:

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE
"A meticulous attention to detail, an understated elegance and a mellifluous touch. Passion as well as precision."

GREENWICH TIME
"Their reputation was deserved in every aspect. Technical mastery, preci-sion of ensemble, control and dead-center intonation were just the beginning of their accomplish-ments. Magically eloquent. A profound listen-ing experience."

THE OTTAWA CITIZEN
"A model of unanimity, technical ease, graceful phrasing and sheer beauty of sound. Refinement, cohesiveness and shared musical breathing... vitality and freshness."

THE PLAIN DEALER
"Excellent ensemble. So mellow was the tone and so effortless the technique that the music flowed from the players’ strings with the naturalness of a bubbling spring. ...glowed with soothing warmth. Sparkling encore."

THE BIRMINGHAM NEWS
"They win you over with European charm. A warm, rich, woody sound, finely chiseled from years of playing togethermature, refined playing, immensely transparent and truly egalitarian. Otaki proved herself a fitting complement with the quartet’s balanced blend."

THE WASHINGTON POST:
"The Kodaly’s rich tone was assured.... The playing was so elegant...brilliant lesson in the string quartet’s first quarter-century...Intelligent ensemble..."

SPECIAL TO THE RECORD (STOCKTON,CA):
"...superlative performers...played with seamless virtuosity...with an insight and empathy that illuminated the work..."   "Their ensemble playing has become so integrated...their technical virtuosity is given: questions of intonation simply don’t arise..."

MEMPHIS COMMERCIAL APPEAL:
"...exacitude and feeling...perfectly matched vibrato...glorious moments of exuberance..."   "...the burnished tones and meaty phrasings were expectedly well performed,"

NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE:
"...taste of central-European playing...sparkling..."   "The concert was satisfying in many ways, not least in the display of virtuosity of all members of the quartet."

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