Volkskrant, March 2012: Review of the "Rondom Roukens" CD

 

‘For a young string quartet, it is not enough to give stellar performances of the standard quartet repertoire, because everyone else is already doing that.  The Rubens Quartet (half Dutch, one quarter American and one quarter Israeli) has just released a CD with music that spans five centuries, and they have done so with astonishing elan.

 

And yet, the centerpiece of the disc is one of these standard string quartets, the “Dissonance” quartet, K. 465 of Mozart.  The foursome give the work a refreshing sound with great dynamic range – youthful and yet entirely adult.  In “And David Sang”, a transcribed motet of Josquin Desprez, they show how their ears and their manner of playing have molded themselves to the serene sound world of renaissance music – although Joey Roukens made free use in his own transcription of the plethora of sound effects that a string quartet has to offer.

 

Roukens has shown that he has a huge affinity for the genre of string quartet in his own “Earnest and Game”.  He does not shun dissonance, and especially in the lengthy final movement he pairs contemplative sounds full of homesick nostalgia with an energetic undercurrent which wells to the surface halfway through the movement.’

 

- translated from Dutch by Sarah Kapustin