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Joseph Haydn: Seven Last Words of Christ on the Cross / Cuarteto Casals

Notes & Reviews:

Haydn composed his orchestral version of the Seven Last Words for Good Friday devotions in Cádiz. The task of creating a purely instrumental 'oratorio' consisting of seven contemplative slow movements was by no means an easy one; but the outcome was a work of sublime nobility. In its day, it was quite popular and inspired several transcriptions, including the version for string quartet heard here in a performance by the Barcelona-based Cuarteto Casals that is both stylistically sensitive and emotionally compelling.

Sunday Times, 9th March 2014
The Casals bring a rapt spiritual intensity and high emotional drama to the piece.

Financial Times, 13th April 2014
This performance combines devotional gravity, a refined sense of drama and beautifully precise and pure playing.

BBC Music Magazine, June 2014
Using Classical bows, the variety of nuance and colour these players derive from gradations of vibrato and bow pressure alone constitutes a masterclass in quartet playing. Yet it is the sheer intensity and range of expression that transfixes the ear...Truly a revelation.

International Record Review, May 2014
Anyone who has encountered previous releases from this group will know what to expect: seriously lean textures, an austere avoidance of vibrato leading to a certain wiriness of sound, an extraordinary clarity of detail and attention to nuance, stark contrasts of staccato and legato, an utter lack of sentimentality that at the same time allows a high degree of expressivity.

Gramophone Magazine, June 2014
The key quality with the Cuarteto Casals is consistent poise - or, rather, poise coupled with a complete understanding of Haydn's textural colouring...The players use a minimal amount of vibrato, reserving it for emotional effect rather than as a standard tool.


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