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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 February 2012
Another winner from Brilliant Classics.If you enjoyed the recently released Weber /Schoenburg set Schoenberg; Berg; Webern - String Quartetsas I did, then this set from 1980 will also hit the spot.First off - the performances,sleevenotes and quality of recording are first rate.

There is real passion and clarity of expression here-the Quartet are able to take in all the jagged twists and turns , mood changes and strangely angular melody lines with which this music abounds.The Lasaille's are right at home with this repertoire and throughout the course of this hugely entertaining set make a very persuasive case Zemlinsky's work. In fact,the band's technical ability and engagement with the material,had me won over within a few bars of the opening piece.

I wouldn't want to make this set sound in anyway 'difficult'. In fact, it is very approachable- but it rewards the careful listener.There is sufficient conventional 'romantic' melodic material to allow the novice listener a way in- but from there on, expect,the unexpected- as the music veers from the tempestuous to the sedate,from the flowing to the choppy anguished rhythms that give these pieces their undeniable appeal and ability to hold the attention.Highly recommended.
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on 31 January 2012
As with the Lasalle Quartet's classic recording of the quartets by Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, this first appeared on Deutsche Grammophon and has been reissued by Brilliant Classics - for which services to music, many thanks! The transfer is excellent, as is the music - even the filler in this collection, a quartet by Hans Erich Apostel, inhabits the same, tense and fiercely expressive sound-world on the borders of tonality which makes Zemlinsky's work (and that of the early quartets by Berg and Schoenberg) so interesting. It's not music for motorway driving, but a challenging listening experience which brings great rewards.
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on 23 May 2014
I discovered these fantastic quartets when I was studying at Goldsmiths' College. At the time, I was learning about Mahler and found these amazing pieces as part of this study. I recommend them to anyone. In particular, the quartets chart an interesting journey from the late romantic period through the early 20th century, hinting at the more experimental and radical departures seen during the 50's.
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on 19 February 2014
Zemlinsky's output is slowly getting the hearing it deserves. For a long while we heard little but the Lyric Suite, but little by little his other vocal and orchestral scores have been recorded. Here the LaSalle Quartet bring off an excellent set of his four string quartets. The first is very derivative, from Brahms and Dvorak, but once we get to the second we are quickly absorbing the heavy (and heady) influences of Arnold Schoenberg. I am often struck by the absence of composers writing in the footprints of Alban Berg, and Zemlinsky never quite makes it to that status, but it's nevertheless rewarding to track the route he did carve out.
He died in abject poverty and misery in the USA after failing to find his feet as a post-1933 émigré. Such a sad outcome for one who actually carried real gifts. I hope you'll enjoy these discs as I have.
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on 22 October 2013
An excellent recital of the complete set of string quartets.

In contrast to some other productions, the string quartets are presented in full. It is particularly interesting to observe the development of the quartets over time.
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on 31 October 2014
Glad these performances are again available. Overall, they are better than the Naxos equivalents: sharper, more disciplined, better contextualised, combining sharp-edged precision and rhythmic verve with ravishing romanticism. Zemlinsky's quartet cycle is as good as anyone's in the 20th century. It would be particularly interesting to know of academic studies of the interrelationships between Zemlinsky and Bartok.
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on 29 September 2014
Brillant packed a great deal of beautiful music at a bargain price.
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