"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
At times, the music was close to magical. The entire performance was a model of focus and moderation, and gripping from the first measure to the last. Read More...
— Richard Todd,
The Ottawa Citizen
The performance was vivid and colourful, showing the quartet’s intimacy with the score, their sense of rhythm and their intense musicality, all perfectly measured and integrated in an unforgettable interpretation with great impact. This was deservedly greeted with an electrifying roar of admiration by the audience. Undoubtedly, one of the best performances of Beethoven’s quartet that I have ever heard. Read More...
— Margarida Mota-Bull,
MusicWeb International: SEEN AND HEARD Concert Review
The Tokyo String Quartet stands above its contemporaries as a truly "great chamber ensemble," said Jeff Simon in The Buffalo News. Moreover, unlike many classical acts, it still sells albums and draws avid audiences. Practically from the moment this quartet initially formed, at the Juilliard School in 1969. . . Read More...
— The Week
These players come as a well-honed package. The purity of the ensemble is paramount. Individual showmanship is not in their repertoire. Read More...
— Kenneth Walton,
Tokyo String Quartet, Queen's Hall
The Tokyo quartet's playing has rare beauty of tone. It all sounds gorgeous; every single radiant last note of it...
— Rowena Smith,
The players gave a perfectly persuasive performance, and the final lyrical postlude (of Lera Auerbach's "Primordial Light") was transcendentally beautiful. Read More...
— James Hennerty,
The Times Union
"In the quartet's performance at the 92nd Street Y...it was a passionate, richly toned discussion among intelligent, charismatic equals...This was exemplary chamber music." Read More...
— Vivien Schweitzer,
The New York Times
"It is easy to see why the Tokyo Quartet has built such an excellent reputation. They play with startling vivacity and subtle reserve...their fervor for the music is contagious; the audience can't help but be swept away with them." Read More...
— Chicago Maroon
"The musicians displayed such finesse, such careful shaping of each melodic line as it was passed from one instrument to the next, that it left one almost breathless."
— The Toronto Star
"The ensemble delivers it all, with an elegance and maturity rarely encountered. One of those musical experiences in which everything is right, everything played so perfectly that no other experience could be imagined." Read More...
— The Palm Beach Daily News
"The Tokyo String Quartet boasted not only staggering dynamic control but a complete mastery of the piece's [Dvorak] emotional pacing. Climaxes were unforced but intense, the quartet's clean, burnished tone never seemed thick or overluxurious, ensemble was flawless, and rough edges were not to be heard."
— The Orange County Register
"The Tokyo String Quartet lays down truly glistening interpretations."
"The tone was perfectly balanced, with every phrase exquisitely weighted and structured."
— The Australian
"It was all there: grace, consummate phrasing and that rare ability to produce a sound at once soft and luscious."
— State of the Arts.com (AU)
"Playing of infinite finesse and extraordinary subtlety...." Read More...
— The Sydney Morning Herald