I'm a little late in the game getting to this incredibly wonderful 2017 release from the Escher String Quartet. But I must chime in and echo the positive reviews found elsewhere.
I have only just recently discovered the fabulous Escher String Quartet, and I have reviewed several of their discs here on my blog. With every recording I hear, I come to the conclusion they are my latest "most favorite" string ensemble. I'm fickle, though...along the way, a few other groups have held that title. And I will always hold dear the Pacifica, Dover and Attacca Quartets. But the Escher really is something special. There is a spontaneity to their playing and a freshness of new discovery, plus an impressive dynamic range, a unanimity of articulation, and an immersive, palpable presence - from all four players - which must be experienced. Each of these four quartets is versatile and adventurous with recorded repertoire. The Pacifica and Attacca are especially dedicated to - and excel at - new, contemporary music; while the Dover and the Escher (and the Pacifica too, but less often) are better than anybody when it comes to the Classics.
Turning to the disc at hand, I can be brief. It's the joy and jubilance in the Dvorak; it's the airy, clarified textures and restrained passion in the Tchaikovsky; and it's the natural, unforced expression in the Borodin which make this concert so treasurable. Their playing is moving, uplifting and musically immersive. Music-making just doesn't get any better than this. And string quartet playing just doesn't get any better than this.
Add in superb SACD sonics from BIS, and this is one of the best recordings of standard repertoire string quartet music I have yet heard. It's right up there with their marvelous set of the Mendelssohn quartets, also for BIS.
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