“…strong and intelligent performances… While there is much more to Opus California than a whimsical collage, Beamish's 'sampling' of ideas from Op, 18 No. 4, also pays tribute to Beethoven's somewhat unsettling humour… This contrasts very effectively with the more serious, 'world' folk-inflected lyricism of the First Quartet, again played with great conviction and focused musical intelligence.”
“Sally Beamish… Second Quartet has concision and winning expressiveness from start to finish, while using the medium with an insider's special resourcefulness. The Beethovenian roots can easily be heard but they provide echoes and associations, never extending into parody or pastiche. In the lively outer movements you are more likely to be reminded of jazzy, neo-classical Stravinsky or (in the finale) early Britten. There's a rapt sense of wonder in the second movement, suggested by the sight of the Golden Gate Bridge from the air, and touches of warm sentiment in the third. These are spacious, well focused recordings; and all three performances by the Emperor Quartet - they play the Beethoven Op 18 No 4, too - have abundant character and technical aplomb.”
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