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Brett Dean (b.1961): Epitaphs; Eclipse (String Quartet No. 1); String Quartet No. 2 "And once I played Ophelia" / Doric String Quartet, Allison Bell, soprano

Notes & Reviews:

Australian composer and violist Brett Dean has won many prizes for his orchestral and chamber compositions, including the most renowned of them in 2009, the Grawemeyer Award. Today his works are performed all over the world and highly praised for their aplomb and power of expression as well as their ready accessibility to listeners. The three works featured here were composed between 2003 and 2013 and are all Premiere Recordings. They highlight the empathetic side of Dean: if Eclipse is an evocation of the refugees saved during the 'Tampa Crisis', the five movements of Epitaphs are individual obituaries for lost friends of Dean's. A viola player with the Berlin Philharmonic for fourteen years, Dean joins the Doric String Quartet in the latter, a string quintet with two violas.

BBC Music Magazine, November 2015
Allison Bell's genuinely affecting performance is backed by the Doric Quartet's expressionist scampering and sustained harmonies, the strings occasionally coming to the fore in the manner of a Schumann-style song postlude.

Financial Times, 4th September 2015
These recent works by the Australian composer are infused with haunting, anguished themes.

Gramophone Magazine, October 2015
All three works get powerfully immediate readings from the Doric Quartet, continuing its varied schedule for Chandos, with Allison Bell fearless in the Second Quartet's histrionic writing. Excellent sound, decent annotations and a valuable addition to the Dean discography.

Sunday Times, 13th September 2015
Powerful, original music.

The Observer, 30th August 2015
It is impossible to talk about the chamber music of the Australian composer Brett Dean without mentioning that he was principal viola of the Berlin Philharmonic. Inevitably he understands string textures from the inside, with compelling results. The excellent Doric Quartet rise to the challenges of these elegiac works.


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