Press quotes

Debut Köln Philarmonie

March 2018
[…] So you’re sitting totally gobsmacked listening to the début of the Chiaroscuro Quartet in the Philharmonie. There are of course plenty of brilliant ensembles out there these days... It can’t be explained with mere “chiaroscuro“, the famous light and shade effect used in Italian painting. It’s not the sharpness of the contrasts, rather the sheer endless diversity of the ensemble sound that keeps you on the edge of your stool until the very last bar, giving you the feeling that nothing is studied, but evolving in that very moment. […]

Magnificent Philharmonie Début

March 2018
[…] Appearing for the first time in Cologne’s Philharmonie... The Chiaroscuro Quartet took on a magic quite of its own in the closing so-called Rosamunde Quartet in A minor by Schubert, with its second movement theme borrowed from a Lied in his incidental music for the play of the same name.

5* Publico Portugal - Quartetos Iluminados

December 2017
"There is in their interpretations an energy, at first almost disconcerting, that turns out to be galvanizing."
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5* BBC Music Magazine - CD of the Month

September 2017
'It was the interpretation of No. 5 that blind-sided me on a first listening...This is a deeply absorbing reading, and can make other interpretations seem almost trite. It’s partly the sheer timbral and dynamic range on offer: each note is given its resonance, keening dissonances fully realised, high lines lent a fine spun, fragile beauty.'
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5* Financial Times - Haydn op.20 4-6 "Captivating"

August 2017
"Every unexpected twist and turn is as fresh as the day it was written"
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5* The Guardian - Haydn op.20 4-6

June 2017
"Immaculate and spirited" "...The playing is intense and refined, exploratory and poised. The sound is featherweight, but there is grit and substance when needed..."
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BBC Record Review

July 2017
“A dramatically daring reading…the dark timbres of their gut strings allowing them to find a sometimes astonishing range of dynamics and colours, and they’re never shy of seizing on any improvisatory element to Haydn’s phrasing. ”

5* Chiaroscuro Concert in Stockholm

November 2016
time seems to stop, gravity suspended, that is how strong it is.
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Gramophone - Haydn op.20

November 2016
"...Memorable, too, are their fine line-drawing and acute response to the ebb and flow of harmonic tension in No 1's Affetuoso e sostenuto (repeats, as ever, imaginatively rethought), and their shaping and colouring of the paired middle movements of No 2...a reminder that sensitive gradations of piano, pianissimo and even (at the enigmatic close of No 3) ppp are among the chief strengths of these thoughtful, fine grained performances."
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4* BBC Music Magazine - Haydn op.20

November 2016
“Where they surpass those earlier ‘period’ performances is in the radiant refinement of their sound, and their suave sensitivity of the phrasing. One hears this immediately in easeful launch of the E flat, Op.20 No. 1, and the intimate dying fall Ibragimova imparts to the little solo leading to the second subject.”
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The Strad - Haydn op.20

November 2016
"The Chiaroscuro Quartet lives up to its name in these imaginative, flexible accounts of the first three of Haydn’s six ‘Sun’ Quartets, introducing a wide range of dynamic nuances and strong contrasts of light and shade. With tempos, blend and balance finely judged, these are period-instrument performances of the utmost subtlety and refinement, conveyed with technical assurance in an easy-going, conversational manner and captured in exemplary fashion by BIS’s recording team."
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5* Early Music - Haydn op.20

July 2016
"these performances complement the marvellous invention of Haydn in their ability to make the listener hear these quartets in a fresh light"
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BR Klassik - Haydn op.20

July 2016
"Das Chiaroscuro Quartet hat für das neue Album die ersten drei Sonnenquartette aufgenommen. Bereits seit elf Jahren gibt es das Quartett in der immer noch aktuellen, internationalen Besetzung...Bleibt zu hoffen, dass das Chiaroscuro Quartet die Einspielung der übrigen drei Sonnenquartette auch schon geplant hat und eine Folge-CD bald zu erwarten ist."
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Wie im Salon - Ein wahres Meisterkonzert

April 2016
"Mozart (und Beethoven) aus der Wohnzimmerperspektive – was für ein Erlebnis! Das junge Streichquartett fühlt sich zwar der historischen Aufführungspraxis verpflichtet (...) bleibt aber immer authentisch, auf höchst lebendiger Entdeckungsreise und unterliegt nie der Gefahr, besserwisserische Theorie zu verkünden. Technisch ist das alles brillant, feinstens differenziert in der Tongebung und durchhörbar bis ins letzte liebevoll ausgeleuchtete Detail, natürlich und nachvollziehbar im Ausdruck. Im Chiaroscuro Quartet (...) passt einfach alles zusammen."
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Mozart–hinreißend und virtuos

April 2016
Hamburg. Ein Seufzer nur, ein leises Fallen. Es scheint von nirgends zu kommen und trifft doch mitten ins Herz. Von den ersten paar Tönen des Divertimento B-Dur von Mozart an will der Hörer wissen, wie es weitergehen mag. Diese Spannung wird den Abend über anhalten im Kleinen Saal der Laeisz­halle. Das Chiaroscuro Quartet hält das schönste, dringlichste Plädoyer für die Originalklangbewegung, das sich denken ließe. [...]
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Mit Mozart in die Wüste

May 2015
Ebenjener Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, der im Andante seines d-Moll Streichquartettes KV 421 zu weit gegangen ist. Absichtlich natürlich und in der Hoffnung, dass es jemand merkt und mit ihm geht. Was dem Chiaroscuro Quartet gelungen ist, vielleicht als erstem...So tief dringen die Musiker ein in den Klang des Gewebes, dass aus dem vertrauten oft auch ein fremder Mozart hervortritt, einer, der mehr weiß, als er sagt [...] Diese CD riskanter Extreme erscheint zu einer Zeit, in der es dringend nötig ist.
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4* BBC Music Magazine

May 2015
No shortage of drama...The delightful Intermezzo, also with an allegro interlude, displays the poise which is one of this group's strongest suits
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Gramophone

April 2015
There is no doubt that there is the sort of energy on this disc, particularly in the Mendelssohn, that is hard to find anywhere else [...] this ensemble is without a doubt a trailblazer for the authentic performance of High Classical chamber music.
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4* The Irish Times

March 2015
The historically concerned players of Alina Ibragimova’s Chiaroscuro Quartet bring the works closer together than you might expect, handling the Mendelssohn in a way that’s more tonally austere than usual, the Mozart in a way that’s more personal and romantic. Common to both is the deep consideration to which the music has been subjected, and the players’ willingness to embrace unorthodox outcomes
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4* The Guardian

March 2015
A shock to the ears of the best kind
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5* The Big Listen/Sinfini Music

March 2015
To spend an hour in their company is extraordinarily enriching...In the Chiaroscuro's collective hands, both works have an immediacy and an unflinching quality that is absolutely hypnotic
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BBC Radio 3

February 2015
Daring, emotionally uncompromising playing from Chiaroscuro, with first violinist Alina Ibragimova taking risks with the recitative like writing, the quartet never shying away from the bold, bare sound they can produce with their gut string instruments, especially in the opening of Mozart’s D Minor quartet, which is the coupling, but it’s also the musicianship of great warmth as I hope you heard … a really intelligent piece of programming.” Andrew McGregor / BBC Radio 3
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5* The Scotsman

February 2015
Such assuredness and golden musicality
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5* BBC Music Magazine Choice

September 2012
This is an impressive debut recording, and the light and shade of the playing fully justifies the name the group has chosen for itself...It’s not often you hear period instrument playing of such consummate and seemingly effortless virtuosity.

The Strad

August 2013
One of the most impressive chamber recording debuts of recent years.
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Wales Online

September 2014
The Classical period specialists, who take their name from the art technique of contrasting light and dark, chose three pieces which amply demonstrated why they are acclaimed throughout Europe.
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Herald Scotland

August 2013
Their technique is impeccable only players of the highest calibre could risk such an exposed, unadorned approach and make it sound this good and their unanimous musical intuition makes consistent sense so that every phrase takes the space it needs and every gesture feels natural.
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Bachtrack

August 2013
Their excellent ensemble skills rely much less on eye contact than is often the case in quartet playing. It seemed to be much more about listening and “feeling” the music together.

L'EXPRESS - La crème des quatuors francais

April 2013
...ces quatre solistes venus d'horizons différents (une Russe, un Espagnol, une Suédoise, une Française) cumulent, à leur manière, les qualités des Diotima et des Ebène.
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