Notes and Editorial Reviews
The Chiaroscuro Quartet is led by Alina Ibragimova – every inch a soloist – and there’s no doubting that it’s the excitement of her music-making that stamps its personality on these performances. Not that her fellow musicians sit back, but her dazzling playing in the outer movements of Mozart’s Dissonance Quartet makes them sound almost like violin concertos.
Certainly, it’s not often that you hear period-instrument playing of such consummate and seemingly effortless virtuosity. The two movements are done with both repeats observed, so that in each case the coda, following the second-half repeat, makes its full effect as the music’s culmination. It would be hard, too, to imagine the work’s slow introduction done with a greater
sense of mystery.
The Chiaroscuro’s account of Schubert’s A minor Quartet – one of the most hauntingly melancholy of all his pieces – has much to offer, though there are times when its melodic warmth sounds rather underplayed. A good deal of this music unfolds at the pianissimo level, and it’s good to hear due note taken of Schubert’s markings, particularly in such moments as the slow movement’s ‘Rosamunde’ theme. If anything, the fortissimo of the finale’s central episode could do with more weight and tension. But this is an impressive debut recording, and the light and shade of the playing fully justifies the name the group has chosen for itself.
-- BBC Music Magazine
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