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Chamber Music - Released November 2, 2018 | BIS

Hi-Res Booklet Distinctions Gramophone Editor's Choice - 5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
Founded in 2005, the Chiaroscuro Quartet brings together musicians from all the corners of Europe: the Russian Alina Ibragimova and the Spaniard Pablo Hernán Benedi on violins, the Swede Emilie Hörlund on the viola and France's Claire Thirion on the cello. From their very first performances Chiaroscuro have been hailed as "a trailblazer for the authentic performance of High Classical chamber music" by the very highbrow UK music magazine Gramophone, and "a shock to the ears of the best kind" by The Observer. Indeed, their performance of Schubert is compelling in its rhythmic freedom and its limitless palette of contrasts. It goes from the gentlest pianissimo to the most resounding full-bowed fortissimos by way of a thousand and one shades which are hardly ever heard in the performances of "classical" quartets. In their hands, the discourse of Death and the Maiden takes on a bitterness, a pure romanticism and even a level of modernity as they strip out the rather sepia-Vienna aspect which some traditional interpretations feature. As for the Ninth Quartet in G minor, it's one of the those Schubertian miracles written in his adolescence: coming to light in 1815 its discourse is indeed tragic, but lacking in the inconsolable depth of Death and the Maiden. However, this doesn’t make it any less of a masterpiece. © SM/Qobuz
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Classical - Released July 1, 2016 | BIS

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Classical - Released January 26, 2015 | Aparté

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The multinational Chiaroscuro Quartet, formed in Britain, has produced unorthodox interpretations of Classical- and early Romantic-era music, using period instruments and bows, and gut strings. No one could ever accuse them of delivering the chilly sort of Mozart playing Baroque specialists so often do. If anything, they look forward in time, not back. Check out the moody, sustained playing in the first movement of the Mozart String Quartet in D minor, K. 421, for an example. It's subjective and passionate in a way that isn't normally associated with Mozart, but it's intelligently sustained throughout the work. Moreover, in several recordings this quartet has programmed Mozart's music with that of later composers in which its resonances emerge in some distinct way, and the pairing here, with Mendelssohn's String Quartet No. 2 in A minor, Op. 13, is especially strong. Each work broke new ground for its composer, and each set a dark emotional tinge against a prevailingly sunny musical language. The sound, recorded at the abbey of Port Royal des Champs in France, is a major plus, catching the warm sound of the instruments even as the group lays out an uncompromisingly intense vision of the music. Certainly an alternative vision of Mozart and Mendelssohn, but one well worth investigating.