South China Morning Post
by Martin Lim
September 24, 2016

Unaffected playing gives voice to the stark differences in works from composer’s early, middle and late periods while also emphasising Beethoven’s unifying musical vision

Through four decades of music-making, the Takács Quartet have shown that focusing on the works of a single composer can reveal as much about the players as the music.

The quartet’s initial Bartók cycle in the mid-1980s championed the composer as a fellow Hungarian nationalist. Returning to the same works 15 years later, and with the British-born Edward Dusinberre having replaced founding first violinist Gabor Takács-Nagy, the quartet presented the composer as a well-travelled modernist.

The Straits Times
September 19, 2016

Takács Quartet Plays Beethoven
Yong Siew Toh Conservatory Concert Hall/Last Friday

It is no secret that Beethoven's string quartets are hardly performed on concert stages here.

Over-reverence and trepidation on the part of musicians account for this and audiences here are the poorer as a result. So it was a treat to witness an evening of Beethoven quartets performed by the world- renowned Takacs Quartet.

Formed in 1975 by four Hungarian students in Budapest, it is now based in Boulder, Colorado, with two of the original members still performing. The interpretation of Beethoven's 16 string quartets is the bedrock of its repertoire and the three quartets performed come from the three distinct periods of composition in the German composer's career.

BBC Music Magazine
by Jessica Duchen
July 2016

Anyone can play with wild abandon; few manage to make it sound pretty. The Takács Quartet The music of César Franck seems to have gone unaccountably out of fashion, and what a pity that is. How marvellous, then, to encounter his blistering, no-holds-barred Piano Quintet, one of the masterpieces of its genre, scrubbing up bright in the hands of some of the best advocates it could hope for. The Takács Quartet matches the music’s mystic fervour and impassioned rhetoric with burnished intensity of tone, through which Marc-André Hamelin’s apparently effortless virtuosity dashes and dives with scintillating clarity.

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.

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