As the Tokyo String Quartet played Monday night at Portland State University's Lincoln Hall, you had to wonder: Was it the players' awareness that this was one of their final concerts that made for such an intense experience, or was it heightened attention on the part of a listener who knew this was likely a final live encounter with one of the great quartets of our time? Read More...
— James McQuillen,
All farewells are sad, especially saying adieu to a group so obviously at the peak of their powers, but this one had a feeling of work completed, and completed well and – in the end, perhaps the greatest gift the Tokyo Quartet has lavished on us – the sense that such a satisfying farewell is possible. Read More...
— Robert Harris,
The Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Saturday’s Fontana Chamber Arts concert was bittersweet. On stage, before a full house at Dalton Center Recital Hall, was the legendary Tokyo String Quartet, poised for another sublime performance in its storied career. Read More...
— C.J. Gianakaris,
The Kalamazoo Gazette
In the midst of an extensive farewell tour, the Tokyo presented a superb program of works by Mozart, Bartok and Mendelssohn Tuesday night for Friends of Chamber Music. A large and supportive audience filled the University of Miami’s Gusman Concert Hall for an evening of great music-making that transcended the sentimentality and nostalgia that inevitably pervade such occasions. Read More...
— Lawrence Budman,
But the real reason to mourn the impending end of the Tokyo is the quality of its musicmaking. Violinists Martin Beaver and Kikuei Ikeda, violist Kazuhide Isomura (a founding member of the quartet) and cellist Clive Greensmith bring an exceptional level of finesse to what they perform. Read More...
— John Terauds,
Because of a long professional relationship with co-artistic director Jon Nakamatsu, Tokyo has opened Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival for the past four seasons, and Monday's sold-out hall and general enthusiasm showed that it will be missed. Read More...
— Keith Powers,
Cape Cod Times
If the intention was to quit while strong, and not after fading, as its contemporary the Guarneri did before retiring in 2009, the timing was right: they've still got it. Read More...
— James McQuillen,
These days the Tokyo sound is big-boned, rich, with an almost glossy sheen. Read More...
— Richard Fairman,
The Financial Times
The Tokyo String Quartet proved once again on Thursday-night at a Jane Mallett Theatre recital why it is considered to be one of the finest chamber ensembles in the world. Read More...
— Musical Toronto
Each player was a master at manipulating his sound: Notes were variously finished off with vibrato, abruptly stopped, or, in the case of open notes, left to ring. What was most impressive was their lean tone and single-minded approach, the sensation that all four players were somehow one instrument being led by a single artistic hand. Read More...
— Peter Dobrin,
The Philadelphia Inquirer
As the Tokyo quartet nears the end of a major chapter in its history, it shows no sign of weariness. Read More...
— Vivien Schweitzer,
The New York Times
Over the past 40 years, the Tokyo String Quartet has built a well-deserved reputation for rock-solid ensemble playing and immaculate, razor-edged precision. Those enviable qualities were often in evidence Wednesday night at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater, where the Tokyos opened the 31st season of the Fortas Chamber Music series. Read More...
— Stephen Brookes,
The Washington Post
It's always a special occasion when the Tokyo String Quartet, one of the world's premier chamber music ensembles, comes to town. A moderately sized yet fervent audience at the Folly Theater Friday night seemed to agree as the ensemble, presented by the Friends of Chamber Music, displayed an elegant and finely wrought sound. Read More...
— Timothy L. McDonald,
The Kansas City Star
Tokyo, first formed in 1969, still ranks at the top of existing quartets, despite personnel changes through the years. This particular incarnation - Martin Beaver and Kikuei Ikeda (violins), Kazuhide Isomura (viola) and the impressive Clive Greensmith (cello) - has worked together almost a decade now, and the members respond to each other's skill with profound facility. Read More...
— Keith Powerrs,
Cape Cod Times
There are hundreds of fine string quartets in the world, but the Tokyo is the cream, and the Bathfest was very lucky to catch them on their latest tour. Read More...
— Helen Reid,
Bristol Evening Post
Fit, classy, seasoned, impeccable, the Tokyo scaled the dizzying heights of that Mount Everest of the repertoire - the Quartet in B-flat, Op. 130
, with its original finale in place, the nearly insurmountable, bow-shredding Great Fugue
- and never put a foot wrong. Read More...
— Ken Winters,
Globe and Mail (Toronto)
Given the high profile of the performers, it was no surprise that this BBC Radio 3 Lunchtime Concert was a sell-out. The performances were simply sublime. This was music making of the very highest calibre, a pleasure to hear from first to last. Read More...
— Colin Clarke,
MusicWeb International- SEEN AND HEARD Concert Review
It was hard not to be carried away by the amazing virtuosity of the playing that never seemed to falter in the smallest detail.
The balance and blend were, for all intents and purposes, perfect
All four movements (of the Debussy) were superb, but even at that the slow movement, the third, was outstanding, probably the most beautiful rendition that this listener has heard.
— Richard Todd,
The Ottawa Citizen
Unlike so many young (and not-so-young) performers who aim to reinforce their contact with audiences with the help of visually ostentatious display, the Tokyo Quartet is refreshingly loath to grandstand even during moments when the music takes a bombastic turn. Endowed with irreproachable technique and armed with four sumptuous Stradivariuses, they seize upon the attentive listener with the sheer force and integrity of their gimmick-free musical vision. Read More...
— Christopher Moore,
Globe and Mail
— Leslie Gerber,
Boston Musical Intelligencer
"From the opening notes of Franz Josef Haydn's Quartet in D Major (Op. 76, No. 5) a few things were very obvious: The Tokyo String Quartet has no fear of a fast tempo, their ensemble work has never been better, their musical insight more true or their technique polished to a higher gloss. From the start this had the makings of one of those rare evenings when music can turn into something approaching magic or, if you will, the song of angels."
"....to the extent that a concert can be perfect, this one was. I have never experienced a concert quite like this."
— Ivan Katz,
This was a near faultless performance....Musical integrity, rather than theatricality, lies at the heart of the Tokyo String Quartet's approach and it is more than worthy of its status as one of the world's great quartets. Read More...
— Eamonn Kelly,
You can count on not much more than one hand the string quartets that are considered capable of creating magical and soul-moving experiences. The Tokyo Quartet is certainly one. Read More...
— Lindis Taylor,
The Dominion Post (New Zealand)
This was an evening of music that kept the audience on the edge of their seats, mesmerized by an established ensemble playing as one living, breathing organism. Read More...
— John Terauds,
The near-stasis of the Adagio and the strange, emotionally fraught third-movement Trio were highlights of an interpretation both impassioned and burnished to a fine sheen. Read More...
— Mark J. Estren,
The Washington Post
The things the Tokyo does better than most are its almost symbiotic level of togetherness that produces such uniformity of interpretation; its control of dynamic levels that are so sensitive that they ranged from barely there to a loudness that was only for effect and not to overwhelm; and the ability to change the sound of the quartet depending on whose music they played. Read More...
— Geraldine Freedman,
The musicians made short work of the first two movements (of the Beethoven string quartet op. 135), engaging in frolicsome conversations and partnering at times for stinging jabs. The final Allegro, too, was full of surprises, as the musicians repeatedly came roaring out of seductive hushes.
But the most engaging journey took place in the Lento, in which the players pivoted on a single note from light to dark and then proceeded on a slow, reluctant crawl back to life.
Ravel's String Quartet, also in F-major, afforded the Tokyo musicians opportunity to display their lighter, more delicate side. The opening Allegro, for instance, sounded as if it might melt into air, while in the slow movement, the players discovered warmth through consonance at fragile volumes. Read More...
— Zachary Lewis,
Cleveland Plain Dealer
Classical style almost never seems as secure in the hands of other quartets; the Tokyo's Beethoven is both grounded and weightless, carved in granite and floating on air. Read More...
— Jeremy Eichler,
The Boston Globe
The ensemble's balance, intelligence and style were beyond exemplary. Read More...
— David Gordon Duke,
The Vancouver Sun
...the beauty of the Tokyo Quartet's performance was its expression of Beethoven's warm humor, rhythmic daring and harmonic surprises within a plausible classical framework of elegance and poise. Here was sunny playing with a distinctive edge of wit, perfectly integrated ensemble that still allowed room for four individual voices. Read More...
— Lawrence B. Johnson,
The Detroit News