Returning to London after their last visit in April, praise was once again showered upon the Borodin Quartet last weekend when they returned for two more concerts of their Beethoven and Shostakovich cycle as part of their 70th anniversary world tour. The critics have been unanimous in their verdicts:
“Beethoven’s ‘Harp’ Quartet, Op 74 brought out a dense, rich tone. […] they can take his [Shostakovich’s] notes and make them sound more right than almost any other ensemble. The Borodins – with Ruben Aharonian’s violin singing impossibly sweetly on top – made the whole thing flow as naturally as speech.”
Erica Jeal, The Guardian****
“It took only a few seconds of Beethoven’s so-called ‘Harp’ Quartet to make clear this quartet is something very special […] chastely beautiful tone and a quality of intense, inward listening. The quartet captured its [Shostakovich Quartet No.6] bitter-sweet quality, especially in the waltz’s middle section. Here Aharonian lofted the sweet musical-box tune ever higher, with a pearly perfection of tone and tuning that held us all spellbound.”
Ivan Hewett , The Telegraph****
“They have loomed grandly over the chamber-musical scene for decades […] and attained a refinement of expression, an effortlessness of technique, an interpretative poise, to marvel at. The readings of the two Shostakovich quartets [No.6 and No.3] had a dazzling authority doubtless informed by direct contact with the composer, and by which they moved between his insouciant classicism and emotional twistedness with utmost imperturbability, often, indeed, almost imperceptibly. This kind of double-speak was not without its uses in their Beethoven playing – notably for the F minor, Op 95 (“Serioso”) quartet’s finale, whose agitated falling-third figure burst forth with a paradoxical quality of classical containment yet tragic desolation.”
Paul Driver, The Sunday Times
“The precision, the beautiful tone and the sonorous chording […] beautifully played. The beauty of the individual contributions, especially that of the leader, was exceptional.”
Tully Potter, Classical Source
The quartet returns with more Beethoven and Shostakovich at Wigmore Hall on 15th and 17th September 2015. Please see more details here.
Please read the beautiful interview of the Borodin Quartet with The Strad, where they explain that they “seek to achieve sonic purity and elegance in everything they play”.