This September, the quartet has travelled Down Under for concerts in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland in New Zealand and Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Hobart, Sydney, Newcastle and Perth in Australia. They have thrilled audiences with their performances of string quartets by Haydn, Wolf, Beethoven, and Russian masters Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich and are receiving great admiration from the critics:
“the Borodin Quartet reaffirmed both the pleasure and privilege of experiencing the sublime artistry of one of the world’s leading chamber music ensembles…the Borodins held nothing back in their highly-charged performance. They effortlessly conveyed a sense of romantic striving, in both the dramatic to-and-fro of musical argument, and moments in which one sensed rich textures were calling out for fuller orchestral shading” – William Dart, The New Zealand Herald
“Rarely have I heard, throughout a varied concert, playing of such subtlety and refinement, and rarely have I heard such superb balances between all four players” – The Dominion Post
“The Quartet’s restraint gave us a flowing account with beautifully judged flexibility, revealing both the music’s variety and the blended homogeneity of the ensemble” – Elizabeth Kerr, Radio New Zealand
“The group’s balance sounded impeccable, the texture individual…the night’s finest playing came with Beethoven’s Op. 130: rational, involving, the players focused on and rapt in their rewarding discourse” – Clive O’Connell, The Sydney Morning Herald
“After 73 years, it does Russian melancholy better than anyone – and this latest incarnation of the legendary group continues in the grand tradition, the famously blended instrumental tone as dark as the four men’s matching attire, their ensemble playing as solid as Russian oak…for the chamber music devotee, this was the thing itself, the imposing, vaguely terrifying beast that is the Russian heart and soul laid bare” – Martin Buzacott, The Australian
“Here we were treated to the classic Borodin tone with its finely calibrated vibrato and timbral intensity, truly taking us to another place… After the interval came Shostakovich’s final quartet, his 15th, Op. 144. The Borodin’s performance of this work alone is well worth the price of admission.” – Tony Way, Limelight Magazine
“The six movements all run on without pause, often with one instrument featured solo for long passages, and the dramatic thread was heightened in this performance by the Borodins playing with the lights down, illuminated by lamps on their music stands. The playing and the effect were both spellbinding” – Steve Moffatt, Wentworth Courier
“A sugar-coated first half would scarcely have prepared one for the bite of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No.15, his final embittered work in this medium. The hall was plunged into near darkness, with the players barely visible through dim lights illuminating their scores. This seemed like the only way to experience the work’s six continuous slow movements, highlighted by painful pauses, pregnant silences and interjected dissonances. One could hear a pin drop amid this blanket of unnerving stillness and unease, so grippingly negotiated by the quartet.”– Chang Tou Liang, The Straits Times
After this tour, the quartet will perform two concerts at Victoria Concert Hall in Singapore, including one in collaboration with musicians from the Singapore Symphony Orchestra.
Finally, they will end their tour in Hong Kong, where they will return to perform two concerts at the Joy of Music Festival at Hong Kong City Hall and will collaborate with pianist Ilya Rashkovskiy for Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet.
For more information on the Borodin Quartet’s tour of New Zealand and Australia, visit Chamber Music New Zealand and Musica Viva. You can also read the press release for the quartet’s New Zealand tour here.