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Vivere - Haydn: Quartet Op. 76/2; Schubert: Quartet D.810 "Death and the Maiden"; Widmann: Quartet No. 3 / Ragazze Quartet

Notes & Reviews:

The Ragazze Quartet has been acclaimed for their musical enthusiasm, talent, versatility and presentation. The young Dutch ensemble frequently collaborates with composers, musicians - classical or otherwise - and artists working in a variety of disciplines. In spite of its life-affirming title, Vivere, the group's Channel Classics début, is not exactly a cheerful disc. All three compositions refer in various ways to death. This is reflected in the key signatures of the repertoire (D minor is considered the key of death) and the programmatic content of the Schubert and Widmann quartets. The cellist actually 'dies' in the Widmann! Spectacularly well recorded, this disc presents an unusual and compelling program and introduces the world to a dynamic and exciting new ensemble.

BBC Music Magazine, July 2013
Deft, volatile playing, but with a real feeling for Schubert's darker undertones. The end of J÷rg Widmann's quartet is a scream (literally).

American Record Guide, July/August 2013
The Ragazze Quartet is a young Dutch group that is issuing their first recording. Their work is centered in the core repertory. They do give the music a chance to breathe and the harmonies an extra moment to register; and, as an added bonus for some. Death and the Maiden, is on the right track and enjoyable. I was also impressed with Haydn's Fifths Quartet, so nicknamed because of the predominance of melodic fifths in the first movement. Here the playing is brisk and alert. This is the way Haydn quartets should sound: beautiful, rhythmic. The final piece is a single-movement quartet by J÷rg Widmann (b 1973). The opening theme is from Schumann's Papillons, and indeed the whole piece is a kind of homage to the scherzo. While listening to the CD, I felt this was really more effective as a theater piece, and indeed you can see the video on YouTube. Just type in ragazzequartet.com and follow the links. So, welcome to the Ragazze Quartet; this is an auspicious beginning.

Gramophone Magazine, September 2013
There is an exciting combination of influences in this first recording of the all-female Dutch quartet...their blend is as familiar, unified and single-voiced as any long-established quartet - even those in the Endellion mould.


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