[ Harmonia Mundi Key Artist & Ensemble Sets / 3 CD Box Set ]
Release Date: Sunday 1 November 2015
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For the first time in 3 CD sets, discover these major recording projects matured over many years by the key artists and ensembles of harmonia mundi.
"Kam plays the work beautifully, and is thoroughly musical in understanding when to merge with the strings and provide an enrichening of the accompaniment rather than be the soloist...This is a gentle, lyrical performance, of 'late' music by a great composer" International Record Review, May 2013 (Brahms)
"an interpretation [of the Quartet] that displays breathtaking homogeneity of ensemble, subtle textural control and marvellous fluidity of nuance...Kam takes infinite care to blend her wonderfully mellifluous clarinet line within the string texture, rather than opt for a more soloistic approach" BBC Music Magazine, June 2013 **** (Brahms)
"Few command Brahms's string quartets the way the Jerusalem do here in Op. 51 No. 2...Joined by Sharon Kam in the Clarinet Quintet, the Jerusalem exude an even greater sense of freedom with much more give and take within any given tempo. Kam has lovely warm tone and seamless legato, but what sets her apart from her contemporaries is her chemistry with the quartet." Gramophone Magazine, June 2013 (Brahms)
"[in the A minor Quartet] they are the epitome of Brahmsian classicism, stylish and composed...These recordings...show them to be strong, lusty advocates of immortal music." MusicWeb International, 8th July 2013 (Brahms)
"While the piano quartet has great vitality and charm, the quintet is on a different level of achievement: a fiendish pianistic challenge as well as a masterpiece of the genre... In the Russian pianist Alexander Melnikov they have a collaborator of rare musical intelligence as well as virtuosity. Another award contender? I guess so." The Observer, 29th April 2012 (Schumann)
"What makes [Melnikov's] playing so remarkable is an ability to achieve an ideal balance...Melnikov blends his tone to match exactly that of the strings...Naturally the Jerusalem Quartet is a hugely responsive partner in this process...With a recording that offers depth of sound and admirable clarity, Schumann's two chamber masterpieces are brilliantly served." BBC Music Magazine, July 2012 ***** (Schumann)
"these performances are marked by great sensitivity and freshness as well as having a natural rhythmic flow that is by no means always the case in recordings of these two masterpieces...an immensely satisfying addition to the catalogue. A combination of ardour and control characterizes the supremly musical approach here, with extremely well-judged balance between piano and strings and a strong sense of direction." International Record Review, June 2012 (Schumann)
"These recordings...show them to be strong, lusty advocates of immortal music." MusicWeb International, 8th July 2013 (Schumann)
"The superlative technical skills of these young Russian-Israelis, and a tendency to squeeze out every drop of expression, can actually obstruct the music they play so brilliantly. Thus, the natural sweetness of the D minor andante's major-key variation is so overemphasised as almost to negate its purpose. That, however, is the obverse of their great virtues. Death and the Maiden is a haunted work, and the way they seize on the tiniest detail to increase the tension - a pianissimo tremolo, a brief, explosive forte - is often thrilling. They need only relax a little to be genuinely outstanding." Sunday Times, 25th May 2008 *** (Schubert)
"[The Jerusalem Quartet's] recording of Schubert's Death and the Maiden quartet finds them at their most uncompromising, with an epic, angry interpretation of a work usually considered elegiac and consolatory. From the furiously articulated opening chords, this is first and foremost a howl of rage against encroaching mortality. The integrity of the performance is never in doubt, and the playing is often breathtaking in its commitment and fire, but the unremitting bleakness of it all can be as forbidding as it is impressive. Its companion piece, the C Minor Quartetsatz, is similarly interpreted in the starkest of colours, with the dialogues between the first violin (Andrei Pavlovsky) and cello (Kyril Zlotnikov) sounding not so much like duets as duels. An admirable disc, though one that's also hard to like." The Guardian, 9th May 2008 *** (Schubert)
"Passion and a feverish energy characterise this young Israeli quartet. First up is Schubert's magnificent Quartettsatz, and the temperature continues for Death and the Maiden. Yet they're never undisciplined - the cellist even keeps his head playing Jacqueline du Pré's cello (loaned by Daniel Barenboim). Other groups get closer to Schubert's tender side, but for racing blood, go to Jerusalem." The Times, 9th May 2008 **** (Schubert)
"The youthful Jerusalem Quartet… are to be heard on an outstanding disc… Their mastery of rubato is as refined as that of any contemporary group, and this disc is as near to perfection as one can possibly find." BBC Music Magazine, June 2008 ***** (Schubert)
String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 51 No. 2
Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115
Piano Quartet in E flat major, Op. 47
Piano Quintet in E flat major, Op. 44
String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, D810 'Death and the Maiden'
String Quartet No. 12 in C minor (fragment), D703 'Quartettsatz'