Dmitry Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos. 2, 7, 8

“What we have here is one of the bleakest and most beautiful recordings of the year, with all three quartets (particularly the much-recorded No. 8) approached with an immediacy that would make you swear that the ink was barely dry on the page.”

Presto Classical, November 2019

“The PHQ’s formidable combination of almost orchestral depth of tone with mercurial, chamber-music responsiveness lies at the heart of their success in the C minor Eighth Quartet. This is a performance of real weight and incisiveness which nevertheless finds plenty of room for the intensely personal nature of the music.”

Europadisc, October 2019

“The wonderful Pavel Haas Quartet perform three of Shostakovich’s he­re: the wartime No 2, a powerfully reflective response to the suffering and anxiety of the time, rigorously and sweepingly argued; the short No 7, written in memory of his first wife, its mix of sweet memories, turbulence and soulful lamentation affectionately captured; and the harrowing No 8, a paean to tragedy and anger, presented here as a crunching finale to this engrossing disc.”

The Scotsman, October 2019

“Its interpretation of the first and third movements are notable. In the former, the performers show the vibrant multi-dimensionality of emotions, ranging from the robust A-major opening to the menacing nature of the middle section. With so many character changes, a significant challenge for any group is to keep the energy flowing throughout. The ensemble does this impressively.”

The Classic Review, November 2019

“It’s absolutely gut wrenchingly intense. It’s almost unlistenable too, it’s so fabulous, it’s such committed playing, it’s such deep, deep sincerity.”

BBC Radio 3 Record Review, November 2019

“The Czech players are always worth hearing, especially in their angst-ridden account of the biographical C minor quartet (No 8), but also in the forlorn, if fleeting, F sharp minor (No 7), written in memory of his first wife. Their account of the Second Quartet, in A major, is spacious, intense and symphonically conceived.”

The Sunday Times,  November 2019

“Le jeu des quatre amis tchèques est admirable de suggestion, il a vraiment l’élégance du désespoir, quelque chose de sinistre mais en habit de gala.”

Artallina, November 2019

“It’s their lightness of touch that commands; the subtle nuances of colour, line and texture performed with almost spectral intensity.”

BBC Music Magazine, Christmas issue 2019

“Das Pavel Haas Quartet schafft es, indem es einfach nur die Musik „erzählen“ lässt. Dabei dringen die Musiker aber selbst in die dunkelsten Ecken der ebenfalls aufgenommenen Streichquartette Nr. 2 und 7 mit einer Variabilität in der Tongebung und einem intensiven, aber eben genau ausbalancierten Melos ein, das schon lange zu den absoluten Stärken dieses Ausnahmequartetts gehört… Eine Weltklasseinspi­elung.”

Rondo, December 2019

“What really grips me about these performances is the ensemble’s ability to get under the skin of the music and their compellingly imaginative concept of texture, instrumental balance and nuance.”

BBC Music Magazine, January 2020

“Du celèbre 8e, les Pavel Haas font bien resortir l’essence conflictuelle. Ils ne visent pas uniquement la force d’impact mais, par leur jeu fois creusé et chaudement coloré, tirent l’œvre, d’une façon aussi partiale que captivante, vers son aspect le plus moderne.”

Diapason, January 2020

“Les Pavel Haas entrent dans cet univers glaçant avec une ampleur orchestrale qui laisserait presque croire à une oeuvre symphonique. Quel souffle!”

Classica, April 2020

“Supraphon presents them in vivid, reverberant sound that is a pleasure to listen to. Their playing is invigorating and always engaged, pulsing with life and emotion.”

American Record Guide, May 2020

“Turning to Quartet No. 7, the exquisite technique of the Pavel Haas players is aided by Supraphon’s sou­ndstage, which yields just enough reverb to heighten the strangeness of this opus. The pizzicato note runs in the first movement are a master class of precision. The second movement Lento is as otherworldly as any on record… The third movement Allegro is despatched with such violence that it’s a wonder the strings didn’t melt. The abrupt shift to hesitant meandering in the closing Allegretto leaves us in existential bemusement… Overall, the Pavel Haas Quartet have delivered another winning album.”

DSCH Journal, September 2021

“Well for me it is to do with how gripping this performance is, they make interpretive decisions that are unexpected but none the less to me felt deeply initiative and this passage showcases the gorgeous cello line that has extraordinary shaping in how you hear them just briefly melt away and then return. Really intelligent attention to detail.”

BBC Radio 3 Record Review, January 2023