Following the Chiaroscuro Quartet’s acclaimed debut recordings on BIS Records, the ensemble announces the release of Schubert’s seminal String Quartet No.14 in D minor ‘Death & the Maiden’ and String Quartet No.9 in G minor, in November 2018. The Chiaroscuro Quartet – with Russian-born Alina Ibragimova, Spanish violinist Pablo Hernán Benedí, French cellist Claire Thirion and Swedish violist Emilie Hörnlund – continues to forge its path as one of the most dynamic young ensembles of today. As one of the few groups performing exclusively on gut-stringed instruments, they are wholly committed to an authentic, historical approach.
2018 sees the Quartet give a number of high profile UK performances with highlights including Aldeburgh Festival on 19 June with pianist Cedric Tiberghien and Wigmore Hall on 1 October with period clarinettist Annelien Van Wauwe.
This recording marks a return to the Quartet’s roots, following its debut disc in 2011 featuring Schubert’s String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, and a continuation of the ensemble’s exploration of Schubert’s works.
Composed in 1824, after Schubert had suffered a serious illness and realised he was dying, ‘Death & the Maiden’ is considered by many as one of the pillars of the chamber music repertoire. The work, in four movements, is a testament to death, exuding fragility and pain. The Quartet’s use of gut-stringed instruments serves to heighten the colour and contrasts of the music and allows a certain sense of freedom when performing the work, “Each time we play this piece we discover something new about it, it’s never the same twice. Playing with gut strings allow us to explore the extremes of both the fragility of the work but also the unbearable pain, it’s not always beautiful and as a musician, you have to be ready emotionally to play Schubert,” comments the Quartet’s cellist Claire Thirion, “This piece has become a staple of quartet repertoire and it’s one that we have been wanting to record for a while so we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to do so.”
“Every unexpected twist and turn is as fresh as the day it was written” [Financial Times, 2017]
The ensemble’s recording of Beethoven and Mozart on Aparté led it to become the first quartet to be awarded the Förderpreis by German radio Deutschlandfunk and Musikfest Bremen.
Recent performance highlights include a debut concert tour to Japan, performances at Amsterdam Concertgebouw, Edinburgh International Festival, London’s Wigmore Hall, the Auditorium du Louvre Paris and the Aldeburgh Festival. Last season the ensemble performed at Sage Gateshead, London’s Kings Place, Konzerthaus Dortmund and Cheltenham, among many others.
“…dazzling delicacy…the interpretation of No. 5 that blind-sided me on a first listening.” [BBC Music Magazine, 2017]