THE GUARDIAN: SCHUBERT QUINTET D956; QARTETTSATZ D703 – REVIEW
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 SUNDAY TIMES: CD OF THE WEEK - CLASSICAL
A Schubert quintet from arguable the greatest string quartet before the public today will have been long awaited, and it is characteristic of the Takács that they have held off until now, presumably after many performances with the chosen cellist colleague, Ralph Kirshbaum. The recording — wonderfully vivid and "present" — is all that one expects from the producer, Andrew Keener, and the quality of the playing and musical insights is superlative.
REVIEW FROM THE LONDON GUARDIAN
The Takács Quartet are matchless, their supreme artistry manifest at every level. In any quartet, players' individual traits are always apparent, yet, with the Takács, every facet of their musicianship serves the music in such a way that the character and personality of the composer emerges with extraordinary intensity. The most familiar music takes on a new purity and significance.
THE TIMES: HYPERION'S HAYDN STRING QUARTETS RECORDING
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?
NYT: INTERPRETING SEVERAL PHASES OF A SINGULAR CREATOR
Schubert was the only composer represented in the program that the Takacs Quartet offered at the 92nd Street Y on Saturday night, but in no sense was there too much of a muchness about the affair. Midway through a three-concert series devoted almost entirely to Schubert's music — a previous program included a new piece inspired by a Schubert work — this consistently invigorating, satisfying ensemble offered three distinct views of a singular creator.
BOSTON GLOBE: FROM TAKÁCS, A VIVID READING OF QUARTET TRADITION
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.
LONDON GUARDIAN: QUEEN ELIZABETH HALL CONCERT REVIEW
Beethoven last year, Bartók next. But there are no themes or cycles for the Takács's London visits this season. Instead, their Southbank concerts simply pick plums from the string quartet repertoire. Haydn's Op 71 quartets were the first that the composer wrote for the concert hall. The third in the set opens with an arrestingly bold chord of E flat, rather like Beethoven's Eroica, also in the same key. It's as if Haydn is saying: "Listen, world, here's what you've all been missing."
NYT: RELIVING SCHUBERT'S CLASSIC TUSSLE WITH DEATH
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 Takacs Quartet revealed its subtleties. His intelligently wrought and harmonically intriguing work, which he wrote for the Takacs 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."
SCHUMANN RECORDING REVIEWS: OP. 41 #3 & PIANO QUINTET OP. 44
Hyperion Recording CDA 67631
SCHUMANN String Quartet Op. 41 No. 3, Piano Quintet Op. 44
Takács Quartet, Marc-André Hamelin
THE OBSERVER, LONDON
Schumann's gift for writing piano music or voice didn't so naturally extend to chamber music and he hesitated before venturing into the form.
If I could play the piano like Marc-André Hamelin, I'd want to blare out my virtuosity at every opportunity. That Hamelin himself does precisely the opposite is yet again testament to his profound musicianship. He and the Takács Quartet have been touring with Schumann's Piano Quintet and this shows in the deep rapport they demonstrate in this recording of the work. Not that Hamelin isn't centre stage, with the Quartet deployed widely across the stereo spectrum; but the sense is of true chamber interplay between fice equals. Hamelin scampers and thunders by turns but not once does he upstage the string players.
INTERNATIONAL RECORD REVIEW
This Hyperion release celebrates the chamber music composed by Schumann in 1842, the year in which he wrote the three String Quartets, Op. 41, the Piano Quintet, Op. 44 and the Piano Quartet, Op. 47. The Takács Quartet play the third of the String Quartets (in A major) and the Piano Quintet, in which the quartet is joined by Marc-André Hamelin. While Schumann was mot the first composer to write a quintet for piano and strings, his Op. 44 is the earliest to establish itself in the repertoire, with its innovative combination of chamber-music intimacy and symphonic grandeur.
LONDON GUARDIAN: TAKÁCS AT JOHN INNES CENTRE
The focus of the Takács Quartet's current season is Beethoven – a complete cycle of the 17 quartets that they have divided into pairs of programmes, and have spaced out between this month and next May. But any opportunity to see even a part of this exceptional musical event should be seized upon. This is chamber-music playing of overwhelming intensity, insight and intelligence, simply the best I have ever heard in concert.
WASHINGTON POST: TAKÁCS AND MUZSIKÁS
The Takács String Quartet, Muzsikás (an ensemble devoted to the preservation and performance of Hungarian folk music) and singer Márta Sebestyén have teamed up for an alternative approach to understanding Bartók, one that's transparent and a whole lot more fun for the rest of us by posing this question: How have folk traditions influenced the music of this folk-obsessed composer?
CLASSICAL VOICE OF NC: DUKE UNIVERSITY PERFORMANCE
It was a dark and stormy night... The auguries were inauspicious: a night-time football game with two home-teams competing, police cars patrolling and police tape lining the accesses to campus, not one but two other concerts on campus (one on East, and one on West), and to top it off, cold weather and drenching rain. But the full house which attended the presentation by the Takács Quartet in the Chamber Arts Society/Duke Performances series enjoyed an evening of string quartet masterpieces played at the very highest level.
ANN ARBOR NEWS: TAKÁCS AND MARC-ANDRE HAMELIN
A concert by the Takács Quartet — violinists Edward Dusinberre and Karoly Schranz, violist Geraldine Walther and cellist Andras Fejer — is a terrific way to conclude a chamber music season, as the University Musical Society did Friday evening at Rackham Auditorium. But, then again, a concert by the Takács is an equally good a way to commence a season or continue it. The group's playing is so alive, so rich and in the moment, it makes you listen with every fiber.
NY TIMES : ALICE TULLY HALL | BEETHOVEN & BARTOK
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.
NY TIMES: ZANKEL HALL | TAKÁCS AND JEAN-YVES THIBAUDET
Lucid investigations of the standard repertory have earned the Takács Quartet a sterling reputation, and a slightly rough-hewn, earthy quality that has emerged in recent performances has made the group even more compelling. The latest reminder came on Saturday night, when it completed a season long survey of Haydn’s Opus 74 quartets and the three string quartets of Brahms at Zankel Hall.
NY TIMES: CARNEGIE HALL | TAKÁCS AND PHILIP SEYMOUR HOFFMAN
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.
FONO FORUM: REVIEW ON BRAHMS RECORDING WITH STEPHEN HOUGH
Oh, how simply magnificent it is, that warm, rich sound at the beginning of the Andante of the A minor Quartet by Brahms! It is miraculous how the four musicians here manage to paint - or rather bow - such a creamy legato, without laying it on even a smidgin too thick. This is romantic espressivo playing at tis very best. Without question, even in this thirty-third year of its existence, and after a few reshuffles, the Hungarian-American Takács Quartet hast lost none of its great qualities - although the recordings the ensemble has made since its move to Hyperion in 2005 have shown a slight tendency towards a rather more economical use of means: the vibrato-rich opulence has given way a little to a more slimlined, transparent tone, but without the four string-players giving up their noble, dark-timbred 'Takács sound.'
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE: REVIEW ON HYPERIONS BRAHMS RECORDING
This disc is an excellent follow-up to the Takács's version of Brahms's A minor Quartet and Piano Quintet (with Stephen Hough). Here again their approach is alert, texturally clear and passionate, finding an earthiness and rusticity in the B flat Quartet and conveying the febrile, tempestuous nature of the C minor while bringing out the music's innate toughness of fibre. Their range of tone-colour is graphically displayed in the B flat's variation finale and the veiled sonorities of its Agitato third movement and the tonal subteties of the C minor's two inner movements. The rhythmic and polyphonic interplay of that work's complex first movement is also magnificently brought out, as is the fateful atmosphere of the finale.
LONDON GUARDIAN: TAKÁCS AND HAMELIN AT QUEEN ELIZABETH HALL
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.