Alfred Schnittke CD Reviews

Alfred Schnittke
Arabesque Z6707
String Quartets No. 2 and No. 3
Piano Quintet (with Gary Graffman)

****….. this is a young, fearless ensemble that takes an aggressive approach to contemporary music-the Lark premiered Aaron Jay Kernis’ Pulitzer Prize-winning String Quartet No.2-and its performances here are … revelatory. Both pieces, as well as the elegiac Piano Quintet, are played with plenty of tonal depth and verve.
San Francisco Chronicle-July 1998

…… played with poignancy on the Lark Quartet’s recording, a disc that imbues the Quartets Nos. 2 and 3 with lyrical strivings. For the Quintet, Curtis Institute director Gary Graffman makes an agile and thoughtful keyboard guest.
The Philadelphia Inquirer-September 1998

The already impressive list of fine musicians who’ve recorded the music of Alfred Schnittke is extended yet again by this new release from the four women of the Lark Quartet. This dedicated, dynamic ensemble explores the composer’s music in its characteristically elegiac mood… The Lark succeeds masterfully.
BBC Music Magazine-October 1998

….The Lark Quartet disc is a hands-down winner on every count. The quartet’s tone is warm and rich, handsomely accommodating Schnittke’s references to tradition. Yet, where  coloristic effect is called for, the Lark goes for the throat, rendering each phrase with gripping power and utmost control. The performance of the Quintet is likewise intense…the result is ethereal and powerful in equal measure.
Tucson Citizen-August 1998

The young, American, all-female Lark Quartet have been gathering prizes and critical encomia over the past ten years or so, and these sensitively prepared performances of three of Schnittke’s most memorable chamber pieces shows just why. I’m pretty sure I’ve not heard a better focused or more full-blooded  account of the Second Quartet, nor one which held my attention more consistently.  The Lark have nothing to fear from comparison with the Borodin Quartet…”
Gramophone-October 1998

…. the Lark Quartet’s rip-snorting account of his String Quartets Nos. 2 and 3.  The first thing one notices is the richness and warmth of the Lark’s ensemble sound. What comes as such a shock is how much more expressive and colorful the Lark makes each work. From both a sonic and interpretive standpoint, the Lark’s reading of the Piano Quintet outdistances…. The Lark, by contrast, lets rip the full range, from the ethereal to the bombastic.
Stereophile-November 1998