KORNGOLD String Quartets
Chandos CHAN10611

*Critics’ Choice 2010* – Gramophone
- Ensemble Magazine (Germany)
- Fono Forum (Germany)
– klassik.com (Germany)
– Musica (Italy)

This is a disc that is inspirational in every way; the music, the superb young quartet and the high quality of the recording.

Ensemble Magazine (Germany) – February 2011

The Doric String Quartet give us an approach brimming with detail particularly in the fast movements: the waltz in the second quartet has an elegant swing, whilst the virtuosic finale of the last quartet has even more lively spirit…It is wonderful to have such a benchmark recording which puts Korngold’s much neglected work into a new and deserving light.
Fonoforum Magazine (Germany) – February 2011

It is easy to see why Chandos have signed an exclusive deal with this ensemble. On one hand, the four musicians of the Doric String Quartet demonstrate their individual virtuosic class, whilst on the other they harmonise as an ensemble in such a way that is seldom heard on recordings.
magazin.klassik.com (Germany) – November 26th 2010


The Doric Quartet manages to combine the necessary linear and rhythmic precision needed to do full justice to Korngold’ sophisticated scoring with a warmth of tone and intensity of expression that makes the players highly persuasive advocates. Compare the way they handle the challenging chromatic twists of the First Quartet with the lilting waltz finale of the Quartet No. 2, say, and the finale of No. 3. Recorded to Chandos’s usual high standard with an excellent booklet from Korngold biographer Brendan G. Carroll, the Doric has done the neglected works proud. A valuable addition to the Korngold discography.

1 of the ’2 best chamber discs’
Classic FM Magazine – December 2010
Jeremy Nicholas


Korngold’s three quartets straddle his Hollywood film career. The earlier two come from the 1920s and 30s, the third from 1945. Hearing them afresh, there is not only a seductive Viennese charm as might be expected, but also a keenly felt depth of expression and grasp of structure that makes them such satisfying companions to the quartets of Haydn and Schubert, as programmed by the Doric Quartet in live performance. This is the quartet’s first release for Chandos and it couldn’t be more auspicious. Their playing is alive to every nuance and turn of phrase in these endearing valentines to the city of the composer’s birth….This is a most desirable issue of music with which the Doric foursome are totally at ease.

Gramophone Recommends “Korngold Gold”
Gramophone – November 2010
Adrian Edwards

This is music that requires cool heads as well as warm hearts, and in this important respect the Doric Quartet demonstrates an exemplary awareness of Korngold’s contrapuntal skill and thinking. While ensuring that the composer’s cantabile melodiousness is accorded an appropriately sumptuous sound world….the Doric players reveal a rare sensitivity for the music’s emotional ebb and flow. The way they shape unforgettably the dreamy coda of the Second Quartet’s opening movement, as though it was one of the most celebrated passages in the quartet literature, encapsulates the perceptive quality of their playing throughout…Captured in exemplary sound by Jonathan Cooper, these devotedly expert performances set new standards in this relatively neglected but infinitely rewarding area of the repertoire.
The Strad – November 2010
Julian Haylock

English Quartet superb exploring the chamber music of Hollywood Kapellmeister
Last month, the Doric String Quartet, sharing a Town Hall concert with pianist Piers Lane, showed Auckland what chamber music is all about. Their Haydn, in particular, revealed a young ensemble with the uncanny ability to convey the feeling this music was flowing fresh from the composer’s pen. The four Englishmen do the same for Erich Wolfgang Korngold on their exhilarating new Chandos recording of his complete quartets. Korngold’s first two string quartets date from well before he crossed the Atlantic. While some might consider an A major work from 1924 as having too much thematic material for its own good, these musicians will have none of it, making us feel that every note and rest is absolutely indispensable. And so, what could be a distractingly discursive work is kept firmly on track, especially in its fluttering Intermezzo, a sort of skewed minuet, a tizzy wonder of coy pizzicatos, frills and trills. Korngold may have still been in Austria when he wrote his Second Quartet in 1933, but there are hints of Hollywood to come in its opening movement, with the Doric players at their most sonorous. Every sigh, moue and glissando is made to count in its Intermezzo second movement and the four musicians revel in the adventurous textures of the following Larghetto not to mention a final Waltz determined to out-Strauss the Rosenkavalier man himself.

Rating: 5/5
The New Zealand Herald – October 4th 2010
William Dart

The Doric Quartet, in these superb performances (enhanced by the rich, crystal-clear recording), play them as if they were established repertoire works, which they deserve to be.

The Sunday Times – October 3rd 2010

Benchmark performances by a string quartet clearly on the cusp of great things
And what an auspicious beginning it is…From the off, the Dorics stamp their own emphatic claim to ownership with a bold incisive feel for the swirling stylistic and emotional undercurrents in Korngold’s characteristically rhythmically alert, sumptuously lyrical and exquisitely crafted music….beautifully produced and engineered by Jonathan Cooper.

BBC Music Review – September 30th 2010
Michael Quinn

Four guys in suits; they could be bankers. But bankers don’t play music with the passion and finesse of this young British group. They’re playing the three string quartets of Erich Wolfgang Korngold, the Austrian wunderkind who remained wonderful even when writing film scores for Errol Flynn. Each quartet, from different decades, twists the kaleidoscope a different way. No 1 is knottily chromatic; the second salutes old Vienna; while the third and best looks back on life with melancholy, regret and laughter.

The Times – September 4th 2010
Geoff Brown


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