Dover Quartet : The Curtis Sessions Review
The Dover Quartet is a group of young phenomenal classical musicians. Taking the classical genre by storm and quickly rising in the ranks. Named the Cleveland Quartet Award-winner, and honored with the coveted Avery Fisher Career Grant, the Dover Quartet has been on an upward trajectory ever since. The Dover Quartet is comprised of Joel Link – Violin; Bryan Lee – Violin; Milena Pajaro-van de Stadt – Viola and Camden Shaw – Cello. The Curtis Sessions was scheduled one night after their Kimmel Center debut concert, the group was focused and primed as intricate ensemble writing by Dr. Eric Sessler was navigated with preeminent ease. The Curtis Sessions was released the summer of 2019.
“Dreams from life awake: I. reverberation-exploration-flow” is a stunning composition from Dr. Eric Sessler. A beautifully crafted composition with multi-hued zeal making each line ring clear and with character. The Dover Quartet’s scope of subtle sounds and powerful playing shines with the freedom and flexibility of chamber music. The result is an intoxicating combination of a creatively written score, with the performer bringing it to life in a manner that is simply light-hearted. Listening to this soon to be legendary quartet puts one at awe with the height of their musical powers. The players read Dr. Sessler’s parts not as a sacred text, but with a healthy respect, not afraid of a little tasteful playfulness and insertion of individual personality. That is what is most effective here, it is their ability to elicit the energy of surprise and bonhomie. Every note is leading somewhere, part of a larger, musical and emotional conception, realized by four gifted string players through the imagination of Dr. Sessler’s pen.
This is an ensemble that is unafraid to merge into a single unit or sing with a solo tone of individuality. This can be heard in the registral climbs and singing melody for each player in “Dreams from life awake: II. tenderness-love-warmth.” The four individuals sound like one resonant instrument in the chordal sections. Dr. Sessler gives each voice a chance to take their solo flights, which each does with a celebration of sound and tone. Also, of note, is how each member plays everything magnificently in tune, something we have come to expect from today’s power quartets, but with such expression and note coloring is much rarer.
It is easy to understand why The Dover Quartet has captured so many awards in such a short amount of time, their symbiotic energies compliment each other, while their individual sonorities and the characteristics that help this ensemble stand out as a cut above. The Curtis Sessions is a palatable listen throughout, and highly recommended.