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53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential PG., 4 Nov 2008
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John David Charles Hilton "Creative spark...." (Redcliffe, Bristol United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Glass - Complete String Quartets (Audio CD)
There is only really one rival in this repertoire and that's the Kronos set that covers the same ground, though their set doesn't include the first quartet.
The performances here are wonderfully paced and range from delightfully restrained to whirlwind energy.
The recording is excellent and the notes informative and helpful.
The playing time may seem a bit on the short side (98 minutes) but it's priced as a single, mid price CD so it's good value regardless.
But the crucial question is, how does it compare with the Kronos Quartet's disc?
Well, it's cheaper for a start. The recording quality is slightly clearer with better focus. As for the performances, I would, by a very narrow margin, place this above the KQ set. But it's very close.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ravished by Smiths' Glass Works!, 18 Oct 2012
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This review is from: Glass - Complete String Quartets (Audio CD)
I love Philip Glass' music like I love the air I breathe. i have had the Kronos Quartet CD for these pieces for some time, which does not include the first quartet - the most unsettling in many ways, the most dissonant.

I recently went to a concert where the Smith Quartet - who i was unfamiliar with, played all 5 of the Quartets (Glass has written 8, but i believe he withdrew 3 of them as not being works he is satisfied with, so are not available on disc or mp3)

Any half way decent live concert will of course hold much more than a recording - the intensity of collective experience, what happens when musicians, music, audience connect and the energy, focus and presence of all continuously build the experience. That concert was extraordinary. Glass' music often feels as if inhabits my body, I feel it, like breath, like blood, within bone, transformational. Indeed, at that concert, strangers turned to us in the interval, overwhelmed, as we were, saying words like 'transforming, spiritual, beyond description'

This 5 years old recording cannot of course equal the live event, but it certainly points the way to it. There is a great intensity, passion, inhabiting of the music in the Smiths' playing, so i find it hard in some ways to sit still with this, the spiralling, dynamic quality of the music as it coils and uncoils, expands and condenses within this listener's body. Salute, Smiths!

I am now busily investigating what else the Smiths have recorded - Different Trains and am looking forward to hearing how this compares to the version I already have Different Trains / Electric Counterpoint
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5.0 out of 5 stars Some of my favourite Glass compositions with the added bonus of his First ..., 12 July 2014
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Mr. Anthony T. Hill (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Glass - Complete String Quartets (Audio CD)
Some of my favourite Glass compositions with the added bonus of his First quartet that I hadn't come across before. Sound recording on disc an improvement on the much earlier Kronos Quartet recordings, however I prefer the latters interpretation of the 3rd Quartet. Strongly recommended for Glass fans.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Just buy this, 19 Aug 2013
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Mr. G. C. Stone "mgcs" (Newcastle, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Glass - Complete String Quartets (Audio CD)
Forget categories and modern/traditional/minimalist etc. Mishima is simply a haunting, beautiful, melodic, compulsive and captivating piece. You're getting more than your money's worth for this alone. Treat the rest as a bonus.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Glass - Unbreakable!, 20 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Glass - Complete String Quartets (Audio CD)
Wonderful still, after all these years. I lost my original recording but this CD fills that gap admirably. If you like superb modern music with not too much minimalist repetition, then these rich compositions, often surprisingly melodic, are just for you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Smith Glass Perfection, 8 Mar 2013
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M. Gray (Galloway, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Glass - Complete String Quartets (Audio CD)
Heard the Smith Quartet perform the Glass Quartets live a few few years ago at the Tramway in Glasgow - bought a couple of copies of this set from them then but needed more as prezzies for friends. You either love this music, or can't abide it. I'm in the former camp! Mike Gray
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