The Endellions, given a beautifully clear, bright recording, play the outer movements of the D major Quartet in a delightfully fresh, spontaneous manner, the luminous textures relating the music to the classical quartet literature. If the [Borodin Quartet's] more soulful performance gives a feeling of greater depth, this doesn't make the Endellions any less convincing as one listens to them... The Endellions, given an appropriately bright and clear recording, bring out Tchaikovsky's contrasts a vigorous account of the minor-key scherzo [of Op. 11], with the viola, prominent and rich-toned, darkening the texture and mood of the trio section... The famous Andante cantabile is played by the Endellions with delicacy and restraint... In theRead more Adagio of Op. 22, however, the Endellions' playing is...heartfelt. Indeed, by taking the contrasting middle section more brightly, they intensify the effect of the return of the sad opening theme in a way the unrelieved emotional outpouring of the Borodins can't achieve...
-- Duncan Druce, Gramophone [1/2002] reviewing the original release of Quartets 1 and 2, CRD 3501
This disc completes the Endellions' Tchaikovsky set. The elegiac Third Quartet shows a typically spirited approach, with wide-ranging expression. The great Andante funebre e doloroso has sometimes sounded more doleful at the start (it certainly does in the Borodin Quartet recording) but in this version the music keeps moving, as Tchaikovsky asks, and the consoling second theme is most beautifully characterised. The lengthy first movement is splendidly sustained and the Scherzo and finale have an infectious physical energy.
Souvenir de Florence receives an equally convincing performance: one is more surprised than usual at the title when the playing stresses the music's Russian character so effectively. The textures seem especially clear and this is achieved while maintaining a dark, rich sextet sound: I was aware that even in this comparatively lightweight work there's a distinct undertow of Tchaikovskian melancholy. The four early pieces —tiny, the longest lasting barely two minutes — are charming, and played here with elegance and wit.
-- Duncan Druce, Gramophone [12/2005] reviewing the original release of Quartet no 3 and Souvenir de Florence, CRD 3502 Read less
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