The New York Times
By Anthony Tommasini

Philip Roth’s ruminative 2006 novel “Everyman” is the story of a nameless, multi-divorced advertising man in New Jersey grappling with family estrangement, illness and death. When Edward Dusinberre, a violinist from the Takács Quartet, read it, he was struck by what he perceived as its richly musical qualities. In particular three scenes that take place at a run-down cemetery near the New Jersey Turnpike — the “butt end of an airport,” to quote the novel — reminded Mr. Dusinberre of the three sections of a sonata.

The opening of the book, which depicts the makeshift funeral service for Mr. Roth’s everyman, was like an exposition, Mr. Dusinberre felt. A flashback that shows the protagonist at the funeral of his father, an earnest Jewish diamond merchant, was like a development. And a late scene in which the everyman becomes involved in a long conversation with an affable black gravedigger at the cemetery, was like a recapitulation. So Mr. Dusinberre conceived a program for the Takács that would intersperse readings of those sections with short works for string quartet by Arvo Part and Philip Glass. “Everyman” would be paired with a performance of another meditation on mortality, Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” Quartet.

London Guardian
By Andrew Clements
October 24, 2012

Six years ago, the Takács's first disc for Hyperion was devoted to Schubert – his A minor and D minor Quartets. Their return to that composer now, with a performance of what is arguably the greatest of all his chamber works, has been well worth the wait, for though the CD catalogue already includes a number of treasurable versions of the C major Quintet from all epochs of recording history, there is always room for one that shows the typical Takács virtues of insight and intelligence, combined with an almost supernatural unity of musical purpose.

The Times – London
By Geoff Brown
November 18, 2011

Last month in London the Takács Quartet could be heard live, beavering through the complete Bartók string quartets. Two seasons before, they gave us a complete Beethoven cycle, to the usual wild acclaim. High fibre music, all of it. The arrival of two CDs featuring Haydn's Op 71 and Op 74 quartets—six quartets in all, from a catalogue of 68—might suggest that the Takács musicians are now relaxing and twiddling their thumbs. For isn't Haydn easy listening? Music to listen to while you iron bedsheets or bake a cake?

Not so. Least of all when the music is being played by this superlative group, formed in Hungary 36 years ago, now based in Colorado. In these hugely civilised and sophisticated quartets of 1793, written for performance in London, they make a tasty meal of everything, even something as seemingly innocent as the two-chord gesture at the beginning of Op 74 No 1.

Boston Globe
By Matthew Guerrieri
February 21, 2011

The Takács Quartet's concert on Friday had a defiantly retro feel, at least in comparison with the kind of high-concept thematic programming increasingly prevalent in classical music performance. (Indeed, the group has shown aptitude for such programming — on its last visit to Boston, it explored the Hungarian folk roots of Bela Bártok.) This season's offering was, instead, a well-curated selection from across the long quartet tradition, a dialogue between historical repertoires.

The opener, in a way, told the quartet's own origin story: Joseph Haydn's D-major Quartet, Op. 71, No. 2, was one of a half-dozen quartets composed in 1793, the first such works expressly intended for public performance rather than private music-making. Haydn's razzle-dazzle — a symphonic-style slow introduction, intricate counterpoint designed less as interesting byplay and more as impressive collective fluidity — was tossed off with flair, marked by the Takács's particular makeup: The inner parts are, in many ways, more extroverted than the outer. Second violinist Károly Schranz tended toward sharp-edged bowing, a firmly enunciated rhetoric; violist Geraldine Walther showed off a big sound and expansive phrasing. Surrounded by first violinist Edward Dusinberre's elegant, lean brightness and cellist András Fejér's smooth warmth, it produced energy that percolated from the center. The group eschewed homogeneity, letting the buzz of distinct personalities predominate.

The New York Times
By Vivien Schweitzer

Bartok has been a staple of the Takács Quartet’s repertory for decades. The group’s affinity for his music was evident again during a superb evening at Alice Tully Hall on Saturday.

The concert was the first of three in which the ensemble is pairing Bartok’s six String Quartets with Beethoven’s Opus 18 Quartets. The program began with Bartok’s first work in the genre, written when he was experiencing unrequited love for a student at the Budapest Academy of Music.

The New York Times
By Vivien Schweitzer
October 18, 2010

Many composers, Stravinsky notably among them, have been inspired by earlier styles and works, which they weave through a contemporary prism. Daniel Kellogg is a current example, reimagining the scores of others in his works.

Mr. Kellogg's striking "Soft Sleep Shall Contain You: A Meditation on Schubert's 'Death and the Maiden' " for string quartet, had its New York premiere at the 92nd Street Y on Saturday evening, and the rich performance by the Takács Quartet revealed its subtleties. His intelligently wrought and harmonically intriguing work, which he wrote for the Takács Quartet, which is in residence at the University of Colorado at Boulder, where Mr. Kellogg teaches, echoes a famous quartet by Schubert, opening with chords that slowly unfold and evoke the song "Death and the Maiden."

London Guardian
By Andrew Clements

Pre-empting next year's bicentenary, Schumann has been the featured composer in the Takács Quartet's London appearances this season. Having dispatched the string quartets, they branched out into chamber music with piano for their final concert, joining Marc-André Hamelin for a forthright account of the Piano Quintet.

In principle, the irrepressibility of the quintet suits Hamelin's attitude to Schumann perfectly, and in large stretches of the work the pianist's clarity paid real dividends when combined with the Takács' tight ensemble. Hamelin was in his element in the scherzo, for instance, and launched the finale's brief flirtation with a fugue with tremendous gusto. However, elsewhere there was the feeling that he was unwilling to allow the music the expressive latitude and flights into fantasy that the quartet seemed to sense it needed.

Page 4 of 4

© 2018 Takács Quartet