Schoenberg and Zemlinsky: String Quartets Review
Schoenberg String Quartet No.1
Zemlinsky String Quartet No.4
Schoenberg and Zemlinsky: String Quartets
……prime examples of late Romanticism-imaginative, deeply emotional and restlessly seeking new modes of expression. The Lark Quartet understands the music’s special qualities and conveys that understanding eloquently.
Washington Post-April 1996
The Lark Quartet has been winning competitions for a decade now, and the four players have settled into a brilliant routine; they play with the enthusiasm of youth and the ensemble of seasoned veterans. These two performances are surprisingly different from each other, suggesting that the Lark has strong interpretive ideas and the confidence to follow them through. They bring a singing, sometimes anguished lyricism as well as a sense of intimacy to Schoenberg’s 1905 d minor Quartet; this Lark performance is for devotees who want to hear the many sides of this music.
The La Salle Quartet established Zemlinsky’s Quartets in the repertoire; the Lark now gives us only the second recording of Zemlinsky’s final quartet. In contrast to Schoenberg, the Lark plays Zemlinsky in a vigorous, direct style. The LaSalle plays in a more ruminative old-world style. The Lark finds greater contrast among movements, with more extreme tempos both fast and slow. This alternate view of Zemlinsky’s Fourth Quartet is most welcome.
Schoenberg and Zemlinsky take traditional tonality to the edge of the cliff in these quartets….the Lark Quartet plays both pieces with exceptional sweep, clarity and balance. The musicians are tireless champions of works that promise to leave everyone within earshot emotionally drained.
The Plain Dealer-September 1996
Zemlinsky’s Quartet No.4 is a tribute to Schoenberg’s disciple, Alban Berg, its six movements structured on Berg’s Lyric Suite. The Lark digs into the work’s contrasts of homophonic and polyphonic texture with that crucial balance of ensemble precision and individuality which is the essence of quartet playing. Through a focused intensity, the group manages to fashion from a wealth of varied rhythmic and thematic material a single coherent vision.
The Strad-January 1997
Schoenberg’s early tonal String Quartet in d minor, op.7 and the String Quartet No. 4, Op. 25 of Alexander Zemlinsky are both searching and restless scores that get detailed and lustrous treatment from the Lark.
Arizona Republic-June 1997