Novus Quartet 1: Webern, Beethoven, Yun | Aparte AP125

Novus Quartet 1: Webern, Beethoven, Yun


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Label: Aparte

Cat No: AP125

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Chamber

Release Date: 10th June 2016



‘This ensemble’s playing is incredibly solid and well-balanced. All four musicians perform at the same level and their music-making is enthralling.’

It was with these words that Lukas Hagen, first violinist of the renowned Hagen Quartett, described the four musicians’ artistic quality after their performance at the International Mozart Competition, held in Salzburg in February 2014, where Hagen was the Head of the Jury. The quartet went on to win First Prize at the Competition.

This first album represents a crossing of their influences, both Korean (Yun, ‘Arirang’) and German (Webern, Beethoven). Here, the Novus demonstrate prodigious technique in the service of exceptional musicality. Their versions of Webern’s Langsamer Satz and Beethoven’s ‘Quartetto Serioso’ will not pale in the game of comparisons.

In the style of a Bartók, Isang Yun’s Quartet, a discovery, takes up material from brilliantly colourful Korean musical folklore. ‘Arirang’ is Korea’s best-known and most popular folk song (inscribed on the Representative List of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity), a moving tribute from the four musicians to their homeland.

Established at the Korean National University of Arts in 2007, the Novus String Quartet is one of the leading chamber music ensembles in Korea. The Quartet studies under Professors Christoph Poppen and Hariolf Schlichtig at the Hochschule für Musik und Theater in Munich.

Novus Quartet:

- Jaeyoung Kim (violin)
- Young-Uk Kim (violin)
- Seungwon Lee (viola)
- Woongwhee Moon (cello)


The Novus players show in the Beethoven that they are a formidable unit, forthright and coherent, if perhaps just a little too relentless at times and not yet prepared to relax enough to allow movements such as the Allegretto of Op 95 the expressive space they really need. That makes the account of the Langsamer Satz a bit chilly and detached, too, and their most engaging playing comes in the work by their fellow countryman, and in the arrangement of Arirang, the Korean folk tune with which they end.  Andrew Clements
The Guardian 12 August 2016

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