The Arcadia Quartet tour the UK and IrelandCritical acclaim for the Arcadia Quartet's recording of Janacek Quartets 1 & 2

Posted By: Sinead O'Carroll, 27th October 2013

Just released on the Orchid Classics label, the Arcadia Quartet's recording of Janacek Quartets 1 & 2 have garnered critical acclaim.

 

Both of Janácek’s quartets sit on the cusp of modernity: there’s romantic feeling aplenty, but also a wiry dissonance that unsparingly depicts a state of emotional and psychological turmoil.

 

Most performances play on the softer, sweeter aspects of the music – its folkloristic roots and dreamy shafts of lyricism. The Arcadia Quartet, a Romanian group who won the 2012 Wigmore Hall London International String Quartet Competition, head unflinchingly in the opposite direction. They create a mood of edgy expressionism that, in its violent swings and chromatic stresses, is shockingly direct and dramatic, like an opera – or a nightmare.

The Arcadias may occasionally overstate their case, but the playing has such intensity that you cannot mistake the First Quartet’s tragic despair or the Second’s existential force. The result is an assault on the senses, piercing the heart of this unsettling music: not for the faint-hearted.

Financial Times, Andrew Clark, 27 September 2013

Each fresh hearing of Janacek’s quartets is a shock — as if his researches into what he called “the melody of speech” resulted in a totally new kind of music, preserving the traditional four-movement form, but absolutely nothing else. No 1, written when he was 69 and inspired by Tolstoy’s harrowing tale The Kreutzer Sonata, is strange enough. But No 2, Intimate Letters, the expression of his infatuation with the much younger Kamila Stosslova, is an even more turbulent, unpredictable outpouring, with violent tempo changes, ferocious sul ponticello and beauty that pierces the heart.

Both works are played with searing intensity by the fine young Romanian quartet.

David Cairns, The Sunday Times, 28 September 2013

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