PASSION AND PROMISE FULFILLED
Melvyn M. Sobel | Freeport (Long Island), New York | 03/05/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I'm often astounded by the unexpected, especially in well-worn music I am overly familiar with, when suddenly, as if out of the blue, I am knocked sideways by the epiphany a performance can bring.
The Lark Quartet's fervent and heartfelt rendition of the two Borodin string quartets is just such a serendipitous case in point.
In all my years of listening to these works, and in as many performances, I have never heard musicians clarify the dialogue between instruments so vividly. The emotional impact created when one actually hears this "conversation," seemingly for the first time, though hardly this, is affecting beyond words. The interpretive combination of Borodin's wonderful Slavic lyricism and the incredible voicing artistry of the Lark ensemble creates a fusion that propels the listener into revelation upon revelation. For once, the cello does actually speak, as does the viola--- both no longer subservient--- and the second violin, too, has its say. Suddenly, without warning, we hear it all, every note, and this incredible realization shakes us to the bone. Just as quickly, Borodin's instrumental writing becomes infinitely transparent, his fabulous unison harmonics thrill, and melody pours forth unfettered. It is a frisson that fills the heart with existential joy while, simultaneously, causes tears to flow.
What a phenomenal listening experience, and captured by engineering that is awesome in its truthfulness, nuanced detail and glowing warmth. I could not possibly praise the members of The Lark Quartet adequately enough for their exceptional talent and sensitivity, or for renewing, refreshing and elucidating these works as beautifully as they do here.
[Running time: 65:11]"