Chiaroscuro: in dark times, some light


Dark times, in many too ways. Words can fail us. But Haydn’s inexhaustible humanity can be a comfort and inspiration, no? So let me recommend a recent CD of his music that I have so very much enjoyed, the Chiaroscuro Quartet returning to the Opus 20 quartets to complete their recording (BIS 2168 — you can also stream through Apple Music, and find their previous four discs there too).

Four friends, occasionally coming together to play concerts and record, performing with delight and bold inventiveness. Their use of gut strings makes for wonderful timbres, now earthy, now confiding, now echoing a viol consort. This is extraordinary playing, and not just from Alina Ibragimova who leads the quartet: the sense of ensemble and the interplay of voices puts some full-time quartets to shame. Richly rewards repeated listening.

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