Tinalley String Quartet

String Quartets opus 20 nos. 4, 1 & 3 (Haydn)

reviewed by Neville Cohn

Although recorded back in 2011, this compilation of Haydn String Quartets from opus 20 has only been released now in 2014. It’s been well worth the wait.

From first note to last, the four musicians hit all the right buttons. Banff, in Canada, was the scene for one of the Tinalley players’ best moments – and if the quality which informs this compilation is anything to go by and the ensemble maintains its sharp focus on what it plays – the Tinalley musicians could well be on a fast track to international success.

Michelle Wood coaxes a warm-toned stream of finely fashioned sound from her cello, profoundly expressive but always within the line and contour of good taste. But it is perhaps invidious to single out any one player because all four are clearly as one in revealing the essence of whatever they essay. It’s a rare pleasure to listen to playing that is so committed to musicianship at its highest.

The gypsy minuet movement of the Quartet number 4 in D is informed by an engaging bucolic quality. It’s presented with an appealing freshness. And the finale, a little gem of scurrying insouciance, makes the finale a delight.

One of the spin offs for the Tinalley Quartet as winner of the 9th Banff International String Quartet Competition was the opportunity to make a compact disc recording – and this is it. The sheer professionalism brought to bear on this recording is unambiguous evidence that the Tinalley players are worthy winners of the prize.

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