Voices of Defiance
- CDR 90000 173
The longer Cedille Selects track excerpts are designed to provide a representative overview of the recording (not applicable to all albums)
Album Description Download Full CD Booklet
Voices of Defiance, the Dover Quartet’s second Cedille Records album, presents quartets of passion, hope, and resilience whose beauty defies the horrors that surrounded their creation.
“The young American string quartet of the moment” (The New Yorker) delivers an original, deeply felt program of three European composers’ distinctive responses to the destruction and despair of World War II. Czech composer Viktor Ullmann’s powerful String Quartet No. 3, written in the Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1943, draws inspiration from Debussy’s Impressionism and Schoenberg’s serialism. The ensemble’s muscular approach to Dmitri Shostakovich’s epic String Quartet No. 2 from 1944 emphasizes its tragic qualities, befitting the album’s theme. A captivating discovery for most listeners, Szymon Laks’s lyrical String Quartet No 3, written in 1945 following his evacuation from Auschwitz and liberation from Dachau, revels in folk melodies from his native Poland in contrasting scenes of heartbreak and ecstasy.
Winner of a 2017 Avery Fisher Career Grant and the first prize and all special prizes awarded at the 2013 Banff International String Quartet Competition, this “terrific quartet” (National Post) brings its “confident, sinewy playing of distinctive sound and ample nuance” to this recording of profound 20th century masterworks.
Phil Muse Atlanta Audio Club
"What a find this was! The Dover String Quartet . . . have outdone themselves in vital performances of three works of music that convey the suffering, pity, and terror of some of the darkest pages of human history."
Lewis J. Whittington ConcertoNet
"Dover Quartet’s technical artistry is a given, but there’s also that chamber quartet “X-factor” that can’t be forced. Undoubtedly, their ensemble synergy is luminous in this recording. These are historic compositions, and this recording is among the most important releases of this or any other year."
Colin Clarke Fanfare
"This has to be one of Cedille’s finest offerings . . . This is an impeccable disc of multiple appeal, both musical and humanistic. The presentation and booklet notes are beyond criticism. One bound straight for the next Want List, without a shadow of a doubt."
David Allen New York Times
"One of the most powerful new releases to cross my desk."
Remy Franck Pizzicato
"The Dover Quartet digs very deep in the music of Ullmann’s, Laks’s and Shostakovich’s quartets. The main work here, the Second Quartet by Shostakovich, is heard in a haunting performance, sending chills down the spine especially in the extremely dreary Romance. I can’t remember any other quartet playing this music like the ‘Dovers’ do."
Bob Neill Positive Feedback
"The Dover Quartet are absolutely wonderful musicians—this becomes clearest to me in the Shostakovich quartet which I know well. Dynamics, emotional power, definition, and an inspired sense of how to play this composer. I've heard many recordings of this work but this one has the feel of the definitive . . . Great sound, as always, with Cedille."
Jonathan Blumhofer The Arts Fuse
"The Dover Quartet’s performances of all three pieces are fantastic: intense, commanding, and filled with color, they are exceptional advocates for this repertoire. In a year in which the word “resistance” took on fresh meaning, how excellent is it to have a disc of such insubmissive music played so powerfully."
Charles T. Downey The Classical Review
"An intense slice of devastation . . . The group’s playing in all three works is plangent and rarefied."
Barbara Jepson Wall Street Journal
"An illuminating voyage back to three unforgettable pieces written during World War II . . . undoubtedly one of the most compelling discs released this year."