Classical CD of the week – Forbes

Béla Bartók, Zoltán Kodály, Complete String Quartets, Alexander String Quartet, Foghorn Classics

If the San Francisco-based Alexander String Quartet had only put the six Bartók quartets on their latest release, it might have slipped my notice. That despite a sweetly lyrical Bartók (with a particular fluid take of the Third and a Fifth bent on lyricism), because there’s simply too much competition out there, in all various shades of interpretative excellence. 

In any case Kodály’s style suits the Alexander String Quartet’s penchant for near-symphonic beauty, but Kodály’s conciliatory air should not be mistaken for tonal timidity: plucky pizzicato passages, delightful-doleful dissonances, and atmospheric allusions are all present, as is a wildly charming Variations-and-Theme movement for a finale (actually authored by and credited to Kodály’s wife) in the first quartet.

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