reviews

  

"The Alexander Quartet sustains a fine balance between brio and intelligibility, and perhaps also in part because I listened intently again after a few years in between, but after hearing the Alexander versions a number of times I feel that the prosaic-poetic fluidity that may have evaded my musical ear has come together at last. These are not simple works. By now well into the new Millennium, both performers and listeners have grown up with the music and can make better sense of it than when the corpus was still so new. So my ears may be growing as are those who tackle the set for themselves, but also I think it's clear that the Alexander Quartet really understand the works and phrase them all in terms of the inner musical logic, in part because by now the modern idiom is no longer only semi-comprehensible when operating at such a high level, but also that the Alexander Quartet have really gotten inside the works and by now for them they seem like an extension of self, second nature

At any rate that's how good these performances are. The Alexander Quartet make the Bartók cycle seem inevitable, natural. That is saying something. They have great spirit in the performance of all these works. But the Bartók especially is as good as it gets. I don't imagine I need say any more. These are outstanding versions, centerpieces of any modern quartet collection.”

Grego Applegate Edwards (FCL 2009 Bartók & Kodály)

"...the Alexander Quartet gave the Bartók a restrained and poised, even introverted, performance, without in any way neglecting the work’s varying moods. The march had the appropriate swagger, the Burletta (burlesque) a dry wit and a hint of the grotesque. The Mesto introductions provide each member of the quartet with a solo, and each played his beautifully. A tip of the hat to Zakarias Grafilo and Frederick Lifsitz, violins, Paul Yarbrough, viola, and Sandy Wilson, cello, for their lovely playing in this and in the Britten.”

— Lisa Hirsch, San Francisco Classical Voice (FCL 2009 Bartók & Kodály)

"The CD comes together with an excellent translation of Brahms’ quintet, in which the wind instrument achieves such an integration with the strings that it truly resembles a symphony. The members of the Alexander offer that atmosphere, and a truly delightful sound."

— El Pais

“…Despite the light quality of the scoring, however, the Alexander Quartet plays them — as they did the Gershwin — with exceptional taste and feeling."

— Fanfare

"An unusual, interesting disc … worth hearing for the high craft they bring to bear to these pieces—plus, the Porgy and Bess transcriptions are simply wonderful.”

— Lynn René Bayley, Fanfare Magazine

"Bridging the two song cycles was Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor, in a lithe, agile performance by the Alexander String Quartet. The quartet, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, sounded especially lovely in the third movement (marked “Andantino doucement expressif”), with the strings producing richly colored, shimmering sound.”

— Georgia Rowe, San Francisco Classical Voice

"Then the Alexanders came onstage to perform Debussy’s String Quartet in G Minor…they managed to uncover new tones within the familiar territory and delivered an impressively thoughtful performance. Cellist Sandy Wilson brought the morose tone of the first movement to the forefront and it colored everything in its wake. Violist Paul Yarbrough picked up the thread from Wilson in the second movement, adding a quizzical element, and the violins of Zakarias Grafilo and Frederick Lifsitz performed the pizzicato ending with exceptional finesse…every movement was performed with its own distinct emotional current, with the players cognizant of the themes occurring in each, yet treating each one as a unique entity.”

— John Marcher, A Beast in A Jungle (Full Review)