Navarra String Quartet, Alison Teale (cor anglais), Benjamin Marquise Gilmore (violin), Rob Buckland (alto saxophone)
[String Quartet No. 1] I found that, despite many stark passages, the quartet is ultimately a progression from darkness to light, or from pessimism to optimism. It deserves a place among the most important British quartets of all time. Le Jardin à Giverny … is hauntingly beautiful, with long-breathed, sinewy melodic lines and nods to John Ireland’s harmonies. It would not surprise me if this were taken up by Classic FM. [Triptych] The finale Moto perpetuo is a fusion of Italian and Hibernian mores. Based on the tarantella, it somehow morphs “into an Irish jig, where previous chromatic elements are transformed into diatonic ones”. The foot-tapping sounds are not faults on the disk – Gregson encourages this. The Benedictus … is a moving exposition of a simple melody supported by reflective string writing. The String Quartet No. 2 is remarkably satisfying … I cannot fault anything here. The performances are extraordinary all around. The recording is superb. All five premiere recordings reveal great depth, vision and technical assurance.
John France, MusicWeb International (May 2022