Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung - (Hanover Daily Newspaper)
May 11, 2016
by Silja Meyer-Zurwelle

The Takács Quartet in the Christuskirche, Hanover

If Franz Schubert’s ‘Rosamunde’ Quartet were a vocal rather than an instrumental work, the Chamber Music Society could hardly have invited better interpreters than the Hungarian Takács Quartet. This ensemble, founded in 1975, is often heard in leading concert halls, such as the Wigmore Hall in London and the Carnegie Hall in New York. For this third concert in the Chamber Music Society’s ‘Classics ‘ series, the four artists took their place on the stage of the Christuskirche.

They began the evening with the song-like ‘Rosamunde’ work by Schubert, demonstrating the full singing power of their instruments. As they braved the reverberant acoustic of the Christuskirche – not entirely favourable to the intimate Schubert style, with its delicate scoring – it almost seemed as if the violins, viola and cello were an extension of the artists’ vocal chords. With this quartet ensemble, every note is given an intensive vibrato, filled with life, and spun onto the next.

Vorarlberger Nachrichten
May 9, 2016
by Fritz Jurmann

HOHENEMS – Much celebrated debut

Schubertian string quartet connoisseurs have long been awaiting the worldwide renowned Takács Quartet, founded in 1975. Finally on Saturday its much celebrated debut arrived: as expected, the ensemble swept through the Markus Sittikus Hall like a tempest, with that incredible mixture of dramatic tension and warmth that have become its trade mark. Their thrilling, vivacious performing style made Dvorák’s String Quintet in E flat a particular sensation. Though less well-known than the ‘American’ String Quartet, it is equally chock-full of typically ‘New World’ melodies, often in dance style, that give the work an almost exotic undertone. By adding a second viola (Lawrence Power) the sound is made distinctly dark and mysterious; but often it also takes on an almost orchestral richness and intensity, particularly in the finale.

The Financial Times
by Hannah Nepil
February 7, 2016

The Hungarian ensemble played with freedom but also an uncompromising attention to detail

Anyone can play with wild abandon; few manage to make it sound pretty. The Takács Quartet is an exception. Even in the most fiendish repertoire these players show no fear, injecting the music with a heady sense of freedom. At the same time, though, there is an uncompromising attention to detail: neither a note nor a bow-hair is out of place.

This served them well in the UK premiere of Timo Andres’s Strong Language at Wigmore Hall. First performed in Baltimore last November, the piece sets out with a straightforward ambition: to demonstrate that just three solid ideas can carry a piece lasting more than 20 minutes.

Gramophone Magazine
By Patrick Ruker
June 2016

When the seasoned artistry of the Takács Quartet blends with the thoughtful brilliance of Marc‑André Hamelin, a rare alchemy occurs. Their fruitful collaboration on record goes back to a 2009 Schumann Quintet (11/09),with a Shostakovich Quintet released last year (5/15). Their new recording of Franck’s Piano Quintet, one of the glories of the 19th‑century French chamber repertory, stands comparison with some of the best, including Curzon/Vienna Philharmonic, Richter/Borodin and Cortot/International (formerly EMI).

The Quartet casts down the gauntlet with an implacably assertive opening statement in the Franck, setting the stage for an Orpheus‑and‑the‑Furies‑style dialogue with the piano. It’s a compelling approach to a movement that, on occasion, can become an uncertain, diffuse prologue to the main event of the Lento and Allegro non troppo. But what begins as a dialogue between strings and piano soon becomes a discourse among five musicians, urgently argued with lacerating intensity. The cohesion brought to this emotional caldron, one feels, could only be the result of complete unity of purpose shared by five musical minds.

The Sunday Times

Hyperion CDA67987, released April 2015

The great Soviet composer's chamber music is new to the discography of the Takács, arguably the world's most versatile string quartet. Here they strike up a tingling rapport with one of Hyperion's 'house' pianists: sparks fly between the French-Canadian and the British/Hungarian string players, especially in the sizzling Scherzo and witty Allegretto Finale, even if they don't plumb the melancholic depths of Sviatoslav Richter and the Borodins in their famous reading. The turbulent A major Quartet makes one hanker for more.

The New York Times
By David Allen
February 27, 2015

From even the most prominent of string quartets, a program of Schubert, Mozart and Beethoven might come across as stolid. After all, there are so many foursomes around now that scoff at every kind of boundary, from the JACK and the Kronos to the Ébène and the Danish. But the Takacs Quartet always shows that there is, and must be, room for insightful, intense performances of major works. That was its achievement in a superb appearance at Alice Tully Hall on Thursday: revealing the familiar as unfamiliar, making the most traditional of works feel radical once more.

In Schubert’s “Quartettsatz” in C minor (D. 703), for instance, an emaciated tone from the violist Geraldine Walther and the cellist Andras Fejer transformed what are often just fretful passages into something much more profoundly unstable, while the genial support of the second violinist, Karoly Schranz, made Edward Dusinberre’s contrasting, songful violin line all the sweeter.

Chicago Tribune
By Alan G. Artner
October 17, 2014

The Takács Quartet and pianist Marc-Andre Hamelin opened the chamber music season at Orchestra Hall Thursday night with an irresistible display of how to perform Belgian and French masterworks.

The common approach long has been to emphasize lightness, balance and clarity at the expense of everything else. But that didn't happen Thursday.

Instead, the players took Cesar Franck and Claude Debussy at their word, fervently following directives for passion, sweetness and drama as if "national characteristics" were less important than human red-bloodedness. And that combined with exceptional technical accomplishment made all the difference.

The New York Times
By Zachary Woolfe
January 21, 2014

The Takács Quartet played Bartok, long one of its specialties, in two superb concerts over the weekend at Zankel Hall. Not only was the music making excellent, but I was also reminded throughout the performances of the clean, resonant acoustics of this subterranean space, which is celebrating its 10th season.

On Sunday afternoon, both an impassioned cello line and its glassy accompaniment sounded lucid and balanced in the icy expanse of the Fourth Quartet’s central slow movement, just one of many moments in which Zankel ideally amplified the Takács ensemble’s clear, lithe sound. But acoustics are nothing without gifted musicians to fill them, and this group played with febrile attack and firm confidence, even in swerves like the end of the Sixth Quartet’s opening movement, when vivacious bustle turns abruptly to a delicate conclusion.

London Guardian
By Fiona Maddocks
April 26, 2014

Takács Quartet, Lawrence Power (viola) — Hyperion

The soaring, optimistic opening of Brahms's String Quintet No 2 in G major, Op 111 is one of the great moments in chamber music: upper strings, enriched with the addition of a second viola, shimmer and quiver, while the cello utters a plunging, jumping melody in G major. This mood of excitement continues, with a magnificent, lyrical violin tune, almost without let-up – a wistful, minor key second subject notwithstanding – to the end of this long, burgeoning first movement. It's reason enough to try this inspiring Takács Quartet disc with Lawrence Power as guest viola, his big-boned sound matching the expressive energy of the Takács's own Geraldine Walther. The String Quintet No 1 in F major is less driven, more wistful and just as captivating.

The Sunday Times
May 18, 2014

Shostakovich's weighty, mournful String Quartet No. 2 in A "a sort of Jewish lament" formed an understated symmetry with Beethoven's Op. 132 in A minor, with its thanksgiving song and use, like Shostakovich's second movement, of violin recitatives; while in-between came the ear-cleansing distillation of Beethovenian classicism that is Webern's Five Movements, Op. 5. I've never been more impressed and moved by the Takacs than in its endlessly thoughtful reading of the Beethoven, the individual lines seeming maximally liberated yet impeccable cohesive.

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