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The Elias Quartet has already recorded a complete cycle of Beethoven quartets at Wigmore Hall that was extremely well received by the critics. Now Sara Bitlloch, Donald Grant, Martin Saving and Marie Bitlloch present on Alpha an album devoted to Schumann:"We have always had a special affection for Robert Schumann’s Third Quartet. It’s one of the first works we played together. Since then we have often come back to it, as if to a splendid and familiar region that we think we know thoroughly, but which yields up new secrets with each visit. The Second Quartet, on the other hand, was a much later and more complicated discovery for us. The writing is so personal, so unidiomatic for the instruments, so full of nuances, that to begin with we found it hard to come up with a unanimous voice for this work. The enthusiasm of the first movement can easily turn into anxiety if you push it a bit too far. In the slow movement, the texture is sometimes so bare that to convey its tenderness you have to sustain it with great fervour. The capricious Scherzo is bristling with rhythmic pitfalls and requires a diabolical mastery of the instruments, while the Finale is an endless explosion of joy!"

GRAMOPHONE Editor's Choice award Gramophone's Choice award Klara 10 award

"It’s not that their performances are so much leisurely as they are elastic. The music breathes in their hands; and even when they stretch a phrase as if to feel its emotional weight, it still sounds natural and right...The A major Quartet is, to my ears, the jewel of the set, and the Elias play it with profound tenderness."
"The Elias Quartet’s new recording of the second and third quartets is very fine indeed. Think supple lines, beautiful nuancing, and engineering which allows the four instruments’ individual timbral characters to shine out to an almost tactile degree."