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The Maxwell Quartet’s recording debut stands out for its innovative approach: each of Haydn’s Op. 71 quartets is paired with a tune, or set of traditional tunes, from the ensemble’s homeland of Scotland. This prize-winning quartet believes classical music has a strong connection to its folk music heritage and aims to marry the two together with this unique and meaningful programme. Interspersing each of the three Op. 71 quartets, are the Maxwells’ own arrangements of traditional Scottish music designed to both celebrate and acknowledge the folk music heritage which influenced both performer and composer centuries apart. Surprisingly there are relatively few recent recordings of the Op. 71 quartets, yet they contain some of Haydn’s most virtuosic writing for string quartet. Each quartet has its own unique quality: No. 1 is overwhelmingly joyful, No. 2 is lyrical and romantic and No. 3 is perhaps the most compositionally innovative of the set. Hailed as superb storytellers and great communicators, the Maxwell Quartet’s inventive debut will add to its growing reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting strings quartets.
"The excellent recording helps the quartet to sing resonantly but precisely."
"They are a fantastic quartet…it’s a wonderful disc."
BBC Radio Scotland
"Their Haydn should be enough to earn a recommendation on its own, but interspersed with Scottish tunes it points up Haydn’s way with folk tunes and rhythms and ends with the timeless beauty of Lady MacGregor’s Lament."
BBC Radio 3
"...this is a recommendable performance of the Op.71 quartets with that of Op.71 No.2 standing out from the crowd...And nobody should miss out on their intensely beautiful epilogue, the lament, Griogal Cridhe."
"...a young ensemble whose fresh, unaffected playing marries technical brilliance with an authentically Haydnesque joie de vivre."
"Alternating classical quartets with traditional Scottish numbers, it sparkles with conviviality and palpable enjoyment of the music...With crisp articulation, well-judged tempos and a clear, open recorded sound, there is much to enjoy here."
"Together they give us an interpretation of these three quartets that Haydn would surely applaud."
My Classical Notes
"The playing is quite beautiful...Listening to this I guess I will come to associate these quartets with Scottish folk music. But I’m keeping it for the winsome playing in Haydn."
American Record Guide
"Recording of the Year: ... letting this superb playing simply wash over you has been one of the year’s great pleasures."