ALBUM TITLE: Formosa Quartet
WORKS: Mozart: String Quartet in G, K387;Schubert: Quartetsatz in C minor;Debussy: String Quartet; Wolf:Italian Serenade
PERFORMER: Formosa Quartet: Jasmine Lin, Joseph Lin (violin),Che-Yen Chen (viola), Ru-Pei Yeh (cello)
The Formosa Quartet is the latest in the conveyor belt of excellent chamber ensembles such as the Belcea and Jersualem Quartets to have cut their first disc on EMI’s Debut label.
They come to this beautifully balanced recording with an impressive CV, having won the 2006 London International String Quartet competition as well as a host of awards elsewhere.
Not surprisingly they deliver almost technically flawless performances taking particular care to ensure that textures are as crystal-clear as possible throughout each work.
This approach is particularly effective in the Mozart K387, which is given a marvellously elegant performance full of youthful freshness and exuberance in the outer movements with a naturally warm lyricism in the Andante Cantabile.
It also illuminates the rhythmic complexities of the Scherzo of Debussy’s Quartet presented here with spellbinding virtuosity. At the same time, an element of inner passion and urgency eludes them in slow movement and finale of the Debussy, making the overall interpretation of this work seem a little glib and lacking in spontaneity.
Moreover for all the surface brilliance that the Formosas bring to Wolf’s Italian Serenade, the work requires a bit more seductive charm to make its impact. Still, these are relatively minor caveats in a disc that has many positive attributes.