Magazine article Gramophone

Grieg Sibelius * Thommessen: Grieg String Quartet

Magazine article Gramophone

Grieg Sibelius * Thommessen: Grieg String Quartet

Article excerpt

Grieg Sibelius * Thommessen

Grieg String Quartet, Op 27 Sibelius String Quartet, 'Voces intimae', Op 56 Thommessen String Quartet No 4, 'Felix Remix'

Engegard Quartet BIS (F) [SACD] BIS2101 (72' * DDD/DSD)

The quiet E minor chords that give Sibelius's Voces intimae its nickname occur a minute and a half into the third movement of this new recording by the Engegard Quartet. As Sibelius directs, the four players drop to a whisper; but the Engegards' cellist Jan Clemens Carlsen leans ever so slightly on his own double-stopped chord. It's just enough to darken the sound, to shift its emphasis. Five minutes later, in the movement's closing bars, the chords return; this time, though, it's the leader Arvid Engegard who brings out his line--and, in the subtlest possible way, suggests the distance that's been travelled since that first mysterious interruption.

It's a detail, but one that I think gets to the heart of this fine Norwegian quartet's approach to both major works on this disc. The Engegards' ensemble sound is characterful and lit from within by Carlsen and viola player Juliet Jopling. Their performances--lucidly captured by the BIS engineers--live in the moment: they're colourful, fluently paced and feel entirely spontaneous. …

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