Arcadia Quartet

Representation: General Management


Ana Török - violin

Rasvan Dumitru - violin

Traian Boala - viola

Zsolt Török - cello

The Arcadia Quartet came into being in 2006 while its founding members were still students at the „Gh. Dima” Music Academy of Cluj-Napoca, attending the chamber music class of professor Nicusor Silaghi, member of the reputed Transylvanian Quartet.

Seeking to continually expand their performing horizons, the quartet participated in several master classes both in Romania and abroad, which allowed them to come into contact with renowned ensembles like the Belcea Quartet, the Ad Libitum Quartet, the Artis Quartet, the Voces Quartet, the Bartók Quartet, the Alban Berg Quartet. Following a sustained collaboration dating from 2008, the Arcadia Quartet become a member of the ECMA (European Chamber Music Academy). In September 2009, the quartet participated in their first international competition – „Gianni Bergamo” Classic Music Award (Lugano, Switzerland), where they won the 2nd Prize (1st prize not being awarded), after which followed the 1st edition of the Internationales Kammermusikwettbewerb Hamburg, where they enjoyed a tremendous success: the 1st Prize, the „Johannes Brahms” Prize and the „Felix Mendelssohn-Bartholdy” Prize. They recently won the prestigious Wigmore Hall London International String Quartet Competition 2012, The Esterházy Foundation Prize and The Beethoven Prize.

Download full repertoire list here

The high technical standards of chamber music performance achieved by young artists, particularly string quartets, has risen so high over the last couple of decades to be something one takes for granted.

However, less often does one encounter performances which, in addition to immaculate technique, have the depth of musicality displayed by the Romanian Arcadia Quartet, making their first appearance in Norwich last Sunday.

Both technically and interpretatively it was a tough programme - late Haydn, Op.76, No.5, Janacek's first Quartet, The Kreutzer Sonata, and the Debussy. Their refined and elegant playing of the Haydn was a joy.  All the instruments are emancipated in late Haydn, and the clarity of detail was perfectly calculated, with nothing overstated, the whole perfectly paced. 

The Janacek was stunning; powerful, it gripped the attention immediately, and throughout one felt that electricity that a great performance generates.

It was technically flawless with all the shifting moods and colours of the music perfectly captured.

Their Debussy, stylistically so different from the Janacek, was equally fine and captured all the subtlety of this magical score.  On the strength of this recital alone, the Arcadia must be one of the finest young quartets around, and judging by the rapturous reception they received, the audience agreed. 

We were rewarded with an encore - the quartet letting their hair down in an exuberant performance of the Bartok Romanian Folk Dances.

Frank Cliff, Eastern Daily Press, Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A less than capacity audience attended the HHH Concert at St Christopher’s Church, Haslemere, last Saturday to hear the outstanding Arcadia Quartet.   Perhaps this was because of the weather, or the threat of even more hostile weather to come, but whatever the reason those who stayed away missed a rare treat.   From the opening bars of the first piece on offer, Beethoven’s String Quartet in B flat major Op 18 No 6, it was evident that these accomplished young Romanian musicians would provide an evening of confident, engaged and sometimes breath-taking music.

Beethoven wrote his Op. 18 quartets between 1788 and 1800 and dedicated them to Prince Franz Joseph Maximilian Lobkowitz.   No-one can be sure exactly in what order they were written although it is most unlikely that they were composed in the order they were published.  No. 6 is firmly rooted in the 18th-century and is a most charming work.   Ana Török, the Arcadia’s leader, set a brisk pace in the first movement – the ensemble’s tempi in general tended towards the fast side – but with great assurance and understanding.   The second movement, marked Adagio ma non troppo, was played with great delicacy and feeling.   The Scherzo, with its complex and very difficult syncopation was deftly handled and the Arcadia fully explored its wide dynamic range.   Beethoven marked the introduction to the final movement La Malinconia and directed that it should be played with the greatest delicacy.   The Arcadia observed this direction faithfully but when finally released from the sombre opening, drove into the rondo with terrific verve and concluded with an exciting prestissimo coda.   Altogether a very fine performance.  If there is one very slight niggardly criticism, it is that Zsolt Török’s cello was a little prominent in some of the accompanying passages, perhaps due to him directly facing the audience rather than the leader as is often the practice.

The Beethoven was followed by a very different piece, Janáček’s String Quartet No. 2. – Intimate Letters.  In his later years Janáček fell ardently in love with Kamila Stösslová who was married and thirty eight years his junior.  Whether the relationship was physical or simply “spiritual” (as claimed by the composer) and whether the passion was reciprocated, no-one can be sure, but the composer is believed to have exchanged more than 700 love letters with Kamila on which this quartet is based.   It is a restless piece with little development of the numerous themes introduced; at once frenzied and tender, spirited and soulful.   The viola, representing Kamila, has a prominent role and the Arcadia’s violist, Traian Boatâ, produced some delightfully moving moments, such as in the solo introduction to the third movement.  The Arcadia seemed thoroughly at home with this music and gave us a superbly enjoyable performance.

Debussy’s only string quartet, in G minor, Op.10, completed the advertised programme.  It is an early work, published in 1893, and was rather baffling for the first listeners.   It owes much in style to Debussy’s teacher, Franck, but it also distinctly points to the revolutionary symbolist sound-world Debussy was about to enter (his next composition was L’Apres-midi d’un faune).   The Arcadia Quartet again established a brisk pace in the first movement (marked Animé) whilst maintaining perfect ensemble.   Perhaps the most moving music of the whole evening came in the third movement of this work in which the opening poignant motif is introduced by the first violin and passed around the quartet.   This was music-making of the highest order.

Appropriately, the concert ended with a lively encore of Romanian Dances by Bartok, written for piano and transcribed for string quartet.  

It seems there is no limit to the talented young musicians that HHH attracts.  Next up are the Ellipsis Wind Quintet on Saturday 23rd November.  Tickets from 01428 652448 or Chamberlain Music.   Not to be missed.

Peter Andrews

How fortunate for Leamington to be included in Arcadia’s prize-winning tour to celebrate their 2012 Wigmore Hall International String Quartet competition success. Lucky, too, for Leamington to be treated to one of their competition- winning entries from Haydn’s Opus 76, followed by one from Beethoven’s Opus 18.

Choosing Opus 18 No 6 enabled Arcadia to demonstrate just how much Beethoven learned from the late Haydn quartets of the last few years of the 18th century. As a ‘pupil of Haydn’ - although Beethoven did say he never learned anything from Haydn! - he clearly put Haydn’s Menuetto development to good use in his own Scherzo development.

Arcadia’s playing is simple, clear and crisp, with skill to create the changes in level and pace required by the recurring themes of the Haydn Opus 76 No 5 Largo Quartet. Playing the Beethoven, Ana Török showed firm leadership and great industry as she coaxed her cellist, Zsolt Török to make a very strong contribution with a climax at pace.

Arcadia is on home territory when playing Enescu’s Quartet Opus 22 No 2, an elaborate work which took 30 years to complete. Once again, a strong cello contribution is called for with some delicate interplay with the violins. Rarely will we hear a performance of such success. Polish, good harmony and evidence of the influence of the music school of Cluj are determinants of that success.

Clive Peacock

click here to read the review (German)

  I. Allegro non troppo

  II. Andante moderato

 III. Quasi Minuetto, moderato - Allegretto vivace

  IV. Finale. Allegro non assai

  I. Adagio, Allegro vivace

  II. Adagio non lento

III. Allegretto con moto

  IV. Presto


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