Glazunov: Five Novelettes and String Quintet

"The Fine Arts Quartet...has a tonal splendor and luxuriousness I find addictive."

(Brian Reinhart, MusicWeb International, August 2012) Full Review

***** "EXCELLENT DISQUE...Glazounov est un compositeur un peu mal aimé, ainsi qu'en témoigne l'indigence de sa discographie; il est vrai qu'il n'est pas vraiment un novateur, mais sa musique est quand même celle d'un maître. Ce disque en constitue un enrichissement utile. L'excellent Fine Arts quartet joue le quintette avec naturel, sans chercher à lui faire dire ce qui n'y figure pas, sans pathos excessif, mais sans ignorer non plus l'origine russe du compositeur. les cinq novelettes sont consacrées à des danses d'origine géographique diverse, charmantes à défaut d'être essentielles." (Guillaud Rollin,, 20 septembre 2012) Full Review

"Glazunov's warmly attractive lyricism, as well as his technical mastery come out winningly in both these works...The Fine Arts Quartet, plus Nathaniel Rosen on the second cello, give brilliant performances, warmly understanding as well as polished, and very well recorded in New York."  (Penguin Guide to Recorded Classical Music 2010)

Penguin Guide

***** "Memorable in every way...Glazunov proves, if proof were needed, that he is a minor master. Maybe not original (all rather of the previous generation perhaps - Tchaikovsky, even Dvorak is apparent) but liltingly graceful and memorable. Yes, memorable. The performances are superb: fresh, alert and deeply musical. Recorded sound is similarly impressive. Another Naxos triumph in fact. 

(Guy Whit,, 9 May 2009)  Full review

***** "Fantastische Rarität...Insbesondere die hier vom Fine Arts Quartett eingespielten "Noveletten" sind ganz fantastische Beispiele der feinen, angenehmen und dennoch tiefgründigen Kompositionskunst Glasunows. Das Fine Arts Quartett interpretiert die Stücke hinreißend, mit Schwung und Empathie für das Werk." (Putti,, 9. März 2009) Full review

MusicWeb International critic's choice: Recording Of The Year 2007 "I strongly believe that Glazunov’s substantial output of music is not as well known as it deserves to be. This admirable Naxos release of the Five Novelettes and the String Quintet will help to redress the balance and not just appeal to chamber music lovers. Recorded in New York the sonics are to demonstration standard. For my money the delightful and substantial Five Novelettes is a hidden gem worthy of discovery." 

(Michael Cookson, Music Web International, December 2007)  Full review

"The Fine Arts Quartet is a highly accomplished ensemble. On the evidence of these superb performances and other recent releases such as the Schumann String Quartets 1-3 they prove themselves to be in the same elevated league as ensembles such as the Emerson, Škampa, Talich, Takács...There are only a small number of alternative versions of Glazunov’s String Quintetand Five Novelettes and none that I consider an improvement over this superb Naxos release."  (Michael Cookson, Music Web International, November 2007)  Full Review

"I cannot resist Glazunov's sweetly melodious String Quintet and the Five Novelettes on a new Naxos CD (8.570256), gorgeously performed by the Fine Art Quartet, with Nathaniel Rosen playing the second cello." 

(Robert R. Reilly,, Nov 24, 2007)  Full review

"Die Noblesse und die distinguierte Spielkultur des Fine Arts Quartet lassen das Vorurteil, Glasunows Musik wäre zu seicht und ohne Tiefe, schnell vergessen und zeigen den russischen Komponisten schlicht und einfach als Meister von wunderbaren musikalischen Einfüllen." (Ensemble Magazin für Kammermusik 4/2007: August und September) 

"Phrasing is warm and affectionate; rhythms are moulded and not detonated; homogeneity of string tone ensures a capacious sound...the performances are sympathetic and accomplished and the recording allows plenty of detail to register without becoming clinical. Genial Glazunovians will enjoy the wares on offer." (Jonathan Woolf, Music Web International, June 2007)  Full Review

"Loving performances and spectacular sound...should qualify this release for some kind of 2007 music award. Don't pass it up!"

 -- Bob McQuiston, Classical Lost and Found (Crock's Newsletter, April 28, 2007)  Full Review

"The first time I heard Glazounov's String Quintet..., it served as kind of a "'gateway drug" to my ten-year-long obsession with his chamber music...This very fine recording has kick-started my habit once again...I like this performance of the Novelettes as much as the one by the Hollywood Quartet." (Fine, American Record Guide, July/August 2007) 

"Powerfully energetic and tenderly poetic...Anyone who knows and loves Glazunov and doesn't know these works should hear this disc." (James Leonard,, March 2007)   Full Review

"Each movement underlines just how adept the Fine Arts players are at contrasting moods, both between and within sections...It is all profoundly rewarding." (Roderic Dunnett, The Strad, July 2007)

"I was delighted to review this particular CD because I have been waiting almost 20 years for a recording of the Five Novelettes by Alexander Glazunov...I found the Novelettes to be totally charming, in fact delightful. The string quintet is a good piece without being great, but is absolutely well-made and pleasing, and the Fine Arts and Rosen play it superbly. The playing is “old school” in the best possible way, with beautiful portamenti, thick dark vibratos and luscious sound. The sonic equivalent of eating chocolate ice-cream in the bath—a total pleasure."  (Christopher Latham, Limelight, November 2007)

"The Five Novelettes opening this CD were written at the age of 16, and what a joy they are. Using Spanish, Hungarian and ‘Oriental’ melodies, the Novelettes are free spirited and highly enjoyable. The String Quintet was written ten years later and is equally competent, but less energetic. The Fine Arts Quartet and cellist Nathaniel Rosen obviously enjoy this music, as will anyone who takes the time to listen."  (Andrew Fraser, Music Australia Guide, July 2007)

"Die hervorragende Einspielung von A. Glasunows Streichquintett op.39, einem Meisterwerk der Gattung, mit dem Fine Arts Quartett und Nathaniel Rosen schliesst eine Lücke im so reichhaltigen Katalog von Naxos...das Fine Arts Quartett und der Cellist Nathaniel Rosen legen eine in allen Belangen überzeugende Interpretation dieses Meisterwerkes vor...Die orchestrale Anlage des Quintetts scheint wie geschaffen für das Fine Arts Quartett und Nathaniel Rosen, die das Werk stets in vollen Zügen auskosten und technische oder intonatorische Probleme nicht zu kennen scheinen." (, 22.11.2007)

"The members of Fine Arts Quartet, one of America's finest and long resident at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee, are joined by Tchaikovsky Competition cello gold medalist Nathaniel Rosen for this fine disc."  

(J Scott Morrison,, 14 April 2007)  Full review

"Seldom heard or recorded, the disc makes a welcome addition to the catalogue." (David Denton, David's Review Corner, March 2007)