The Navarra Quartet's latest album Love & Death, released in July 2020 on Orchid Classics, has been received warmly by critics and audiences alike.
The disc, which also captivated audiences in concert houses across the UK, Ireland and France as a live programme, explores the themes of love and death through masterpieces by Schubert, Janácek, Puccini, and Turina, interspersed with miniatures by Kurtág.
Particular praise was given for the Navarra Quartet's imaginative programme, compelling storytelling, expressive intensity and versatility. You can read the reviews below:
"The Navarra String Quartet['s] playing has a transparent, febrile energy" - Fiona Maddocks, The Guardian
"The premise behind this album conjures up manifold possibilities, but the Navarra Quartet have devised an illuminating programme. Most perceptive are the ‘elegies’: that by Turina is a rapt if often fervent evocation of a toreador about to enter the bullring (and skilfully transcribed by the composer from the original for four lutes!)... An absorbing collection, on a par with the Navarra’s impressive release of Pēteris Vasks." - Richard Whitehouse, Gramophone
"A stimulating mix... even the most darkly melancholic works are suffused with the light, expressive touch of the Navarra. Turina's Prayer is an evocative, tenderly played opener, the antithesis of the drama of the bullring, the calm before the storm, the balance of sound exquisite...Janácek's String Quartet No. 1 is played with a fine balance between intensity and lightness. The diversity of Janácek's expression is fully explored, from the skittering of strings to the frantic, hellish scratching of the third movement." - Sarah Urwin Jones, BBC Music Magazine - performance ****, recording ****
"The Navarra String Quartet make a very positive impression here...[Puccini's I crisantemi] receives an affectionate and well-integrated performance with excellent balance among the instruments...They play with dramatic flair [and] choose good tempos and are both warmhearted and incisive as the music demands. Their sul ponticello is otherworldly in the second and third movements, and the dynamic range is excellent... The Navarra Quartet’s account of Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” Quartet is also among the best of the competition...As a whole, this disc with its generous timing has much to offer the listener in the variety and quality of the works presented. It also well demonstrates the versatility of the Navarra String Quartet." - Leslie Wright, Seen and Heard International