"A record in which the cohesion and beauty of the sound of the French group breaks out in broad daylight, and where, even in the harshest passages, the sound remains resolutely beautiful and warm. Great and beautiful conversation, and sometimes very animated! "
"The Voce Quartet plunges into the emotional states of excitement, but divides the forces judiciously. The loss of control remains calculated, savagery and beauty are in balance."
Mozart / Brahms Quintettes avec Lise Berthaud (2015)
DIAPASON - 5 DIAPASONS
Martine D. Mergeay
Soon after the release of the Mozart Complete Flute Quartets (with Juliette Hurel), the Quatuor Voce (founded in 2003) are back with two large-scale works, calling once more for a guest artist – here the violist Lise Berthaud. ‘The string quintet seems to us to be the most natural and the most intimate of forms, (...) redistributing the material of a conversation between four without changing the framework.”, write the Voce. This new recording bears witness to a beautiful harmony, through two contrasting quintets, although both in the major key, the first violin being given to Cecile Roubin for the Mozart and to Sarah Dayan for the Brahms. (…) Composed in april 1787, Mozart’s C major quintet is a particularly dense work, full of ample developments, mixing gravity with joy ; one might even say monumental, that the Voce tackle in a disarmingly natural fashion. The tone is set right from the start of the Allegro, punctuated by the imperious ascent of the cello – never in excess – to which the charming first violin responds, before all the instruments introduce themselves and enter into the conversation… A varied Minuet, meandering with melancholy, the Andante subtly balanced (…) and the Finale peacefully celebratory.
Brahms’ Op. 111 is even better served, taken with an epic breath and woven with warmer and richer sonorities than in the Mozart. (…) At the centre of this discourse lies the beauty of the lower voices, those of the cello, often the motor, and those, so human, of the first viola. The solos are magnificent, deployed with the same inspiration, making the melodic entanglement of the Adagio a summit of this typically Brahmsian emotion where nostalgia and euphoria become one ; and the sense of dance is everywhere, culminating in a Finale inhabited by the same delectable paradox as the Adagio, this time even bursting out, and concluded by a devlish czardas.”
The viola player Lise Berthaud here joins the Quatuor Voce, a brilliant ensemble founded ten years ago and which has since climbed to the highest of international peaks, for two of the most consequential string quintets of the repertoire; Mozart’s KV 515, written in 1787 – a veritable monument of symphonic dimensions - and Brahms’ very late Op. 111, composed almost one hundred years later, in 1890. Curiously, the dimensions of Brahms’ Quintet seem to be more concise, most of all for the ultimately mature Brahms – here the composer distils the quintessence of his writing, nothing superfluous, whereas he lives in a world seemingly still rather careless, or at least reasonably optimistic. Even the elegiac second movement resists being morose ! Lise Berthaud and the Voce, in perfect symbiosis, offer us an intensely profound reading.”
Mozart Quatuors avec flute avec juliette hurel (2015)
DIAPASON : 5 DIAPASONS
Juliette Hurel gives us the impression that we are listening to a masterwork. One must say that the Quatuor Voce support her with brio, balancing with the density of their playing (superb ’cellist) the impulsive character of a few of the movements, taking on a more touching dimension. This luminous recording can be listened to without fear after Barthold Kuijken (Accent) and Emmanuel Pahud (Emi), who are amongst our favourite interpreters of these works.”
It has been said that Mozart hated the flute, and it’s true that he even wrote it in a letter to his father. But qhen we listen to the flute quartets, we put things into perspective. These madly charming pages have just been recorded by Juliette Hurel, flute solo of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Quatuor Voce. A new version, which absolutely must be discovered! (…) The musicians of the Quatuor Voce have themselves a large repertoire stretching from the classical to the contemporary periods, taking in, as does Juliette Hurel, little detours via the romantic époque. Good ground for giving life to a joint project. Juliette Hurel, who wished to record these works with an existing quartet and not with soloists has found the ideal partner in the Quatuor Voce who are celebrating their ten years of existence.
The five musicians offer a delicate interpretation, light and elegant. The cohesion between them is perfect, the sonority of the wooden flute with its slightly velvety sound melting well into the strings in a colour which allies softness and warmth, bringing forth a great harmony from the ensemble. This balance is never monotonous, because the artists punctuate their fluid dialogue with subtle ruptures and jolts. Their spirit is light even if a serious tone appears in certain movements in this mix of profundity and frivolity so well-known to Mozart’s music. If you were to ask me what image springs to mind, without hesitation I would say countrified as a prairie in flower, or a shady clearing. A little bit cheesy? More like refreshing and reinvigorating at the same time. Music which really does one good!”
TELERAMA : FFFF
“ ‘I detest writing for an instrument that I cannot stand’, wrote Mozart to his father in 1778, whilst he was writing three quartets (and two concertos) commissioned by a Dutch amateur flute-player. Upon hearing these graceful and animated works, where the flute replaces the first violin, we have a hard time taking Wolfgang seriously. Or perhaps we should congratulate him on his fair-play, as nothing allows us to guess this aversion. (…) Juliette Hurel is the principle flute of the Rotterdam Philharmonic Orchestra since 1998, and the Quatuor Voce has been on a good career-path for ten years now. Right up until the very last quartet, a scholarly joke for music fans, the silky sweetness of the wooden flute fits marvellously with the beautiful fan of colours offered by the strings.”
NEUE ZÜRCHER ZEITUNG
“Whoever wishes to help someone discover the universe of Beethoven’s quartets can without hesitation try with this recording (…) Right from the first movement of the ‘Serioso’ quartet Op. 95, the Quatuor Voce show all their trump cards : a lively interpretation, always alert, with extremely contrasting colours and dynamics, always staying true to the brusqueness and the nervousness of the score. But the four young French also know how to play the « con molto di sentimento », without showing the slightest difficulty to the world. The Adagio, so written, of the Op. 59/2 quartet, a challenge for every formation, is the real jewel of the CD. Suggesting a vision of ensemble of a very formal coherence, and a sophisticated and uninhibited palette of colours, benefiting from the experience of contemporary music, the Quatuor Voce succeed in portraying a moving interpretation of this sound world which is both extremely wide and very intimate (…) Whoever hears this would wish to hear more Beethoven, and readily by the Quatuor Voce.”
“What makes Beethoven’s music so irrisistable is the directness of his rhythms, the energy he uses without rationing. Authority and generosity. Two qualities which distinguish the members of the young Quatuor Voce since the start of their discography, and which predispose them to not allowing themselves to be intimidated by the Beethovenian repertoire (…)”
DIAPASON : 4 diapasons
“Here is an fine and muscled ensemble serving three Beethoven quartets which bring, each in their own way, both new an fundamental compositional problems (Bernard Fournier). The Quatuor Voce has resolved the problem of the legendary (but sometimes very real) rivalry between first and second violin making them take turns in each role. The coherence stays the same, as these four young musicians are built on the hard discipline of quartets and are equally open to all kinds of musical experiences which enrich their path. Their conception of Beethoven is powerful and doesn't begin with looking for a beautiful sound. It is music which is often biting, dramatic, without concession, where the bad humour rubs up against moments of infinite tenderness. The character of the illustrious composer is there in full in this mix of coarseness and brotherhood.”
"Without sentimentality or misplaced violence, they offer a healthy vision of this immense work . "
« Death and the Maiden, an obvious choice for a quartet with such a feeling for Schubertian drama, does not disappoint. The first movement's opening statement rings out, with the answering query as tense as I've heard it. There's a sense of spaciousness, but at the same time attention to every nuance of detail. […] Definitely a quartet to watch. »