“Flawless Ensemble and Excellent Balance”
Cape Town - The Arianna SQ from USA performed three magnificent works expertly for the Cape Town Concert Series on Saturday.
As was the case with their previous visit in May 2011, the quartet's playing was characterized by flawless ensemble and excellent balance. The sound of the 4 instruments blended beautifully, although there were passages where one instrument or another came to the fore with more important melodic material. These moments gave each individual the opportunity to demonstrate their technical proficiency and beautiful sound control.
But the highlight of the evening was not unexpectedly Schubert's “Death and the Maiden”. This profound work in which death is such an important element is always an emotional experience that one is nor likely to forget in a hurry. Particularly if it is performed in as outstanding a manner as the Arianna SQ did on Saturday night. - Die Burger, Cape Town, SA
ASQ Pretoria, South Africa
The works covered in this ambitious programme covered a wide range of expression and exploited most of the textural possibilities which this particular combination exacts.
In the face of this challenge the Arianna String Quartet (John McGrosso and David Gillman - violins; Joanna Mendoza - viola; Kurt Baldwin - cello) plumbed artistic depths and sustained an incredible level of execution. They were powerfully communicative.
In terms of generous tone the quartet had much to offer in the opening piece, Beethoven's String Quartet in G major, Op 18, no 2. Each partner produced quicksilver reactions, even playfulness as behoves this genre and they showed flowing deference to each other's contribution.
The players dug trenchantly into Ernst von Dohnanyi's String Quartet no 3. Suffice to say that they provided a towering interpretation of music that on the surface may register as somewhat austere but exhilirating nonetheless. There was a moving rendition of the middle movement. The set of variations had the players in absolutely sparkling form. Theirs wonderfully intuitive playing.
In Grieg's String Quartet in G minor there was an inordinate blend of emotional commitment qnd fluent virtuosity. The fiendish rhythmic and technical challenges wer surmounted so completely that the music's inner core of poetic vision stood revealed with startling clarity. They realised the many subtleties of texture and tonal drama to the full.
-RIEK VAN RENSBURG (Pretoria News)
"Quartet playing doesn´t get much better than this"
"The Arianna Quartet makes music with the tonal warmth, fastidious balance and heightened communication skills of groups many years its senior. In Schubert´s Quartettsatz, and especially a shimmering and stylish reading of the Ravel Quartet, the silken refinement of the playing was achieved with no loss of expressive vitality or spontaneity. Quartet playing doesn´t get much better than this"
"Arianna String Quartet never less than elegant"
"The Arianna Quartet made a strong argument for Bartok´s Fourth String Quartet in its performance for the Charleston Chamber Music Society. It didn´t dwell on the dissonant harmonies or angular rhythms that many ensembles exploit to bring energy to one of the great works of the repertoire. Rough edges were ground down, and tones were drenched in diaphanous color."
-The Charleston Gazette, Charleston, WV
"Pure and Brilliant"
"I was happy to see that this group concentrates their energy on contemplation of the pieces and clear expression of the musical structures, rather than merely showing off their technique. In the Mozart, their capacity of keeping the phrases pure and innocent was impressive, and the ringing, clear and energetic staccato was something I had not heard in a long time. The Beethoven Op.95 and Bartok No.6 are pieces that can sound extremely complex and confusing. However, the Arianna Quartet´s careful control of volume and harmony of each phrase and the mosaic-like organization resulted in an expression of the pure and brilliant structure of these works. This way of always naturally expressing the works may seem unoriginal, but it requires the highest technique. I deeply respect each member of the group for taking on the challenge of this task."
-Ongaku no Tomo, Tokyo Japan
"Arianna Quartet presents another fine program"
The Mozart set the tone for the performance and was delivered with the group´s accustomed precision, elegance and nearly telepathic rapport. The players delivered an electric performance that made this a genuine tour de force."
-St. Louis Post Dispatch
"Arianna String Quartet shows its excellence"
Leading off the evening was a crystalline, yet warm rendition of Haydn´s Quartet in E-flat Major, Op.64, No.6. The emotional high point of the evening was the relatively unfamiliar Quartet No.3, Op.94 by Benjamin Britten. At the hands of the Arianna, this haunting selection packed tremendous emotional punch, especially in the somber tolling of the final movement. The program was rounded out with a fine performance of Ravel´s Quartet in F Major."
-St. Louis Post Dispatch
"Mixture of exultation and melancholy was perfectly balanced"
"Two members of the distinguished Vermeer Quartet joined the players of the Arianna String Quartet for a lustrous reading of Brahms´ G Major String Sextet. Led by the Arianna´s sweetly sumptuous first violin, the Brahms Sextet had a quietly rhapsodic drive. Its mixture of exultation and melancholy was perfectly balanced; shifts in mood, especially in the scherzo and trio, were always convincing."
-Chicago Sun Times
"Tonally alluring and intellectually challenging."
"The Arianna Quartet´s performance of Janacek´s "Kreutzer Sonata" Quartet was beautiful, simply beautiful. The opening gesture of Beethoven´s Op.18, No.3 quartet was gorgeous, and the whole of Britten´s last quartet was cogently argued. Clearly, the Arianna Quartet is tonally alluring and intellectually challenging."
-The Ann Arbor Observer, Ann Arbor, MI
"Quartet´s technical virtuosity impressive"
"It didn´t take long before one heard the reason behind the impressive success of the Arianna String Quartet. These musicians displayed the smooth blending of sound that many quartets spend decades trying to achieve. In the Mendelssohn Op.12, the group flew through the “rapids” in perfect symmetry and clean phrasing, an impressive technical feat. The Stravinsky was filled with its pungent dissonance yet so cleanly played one could enjoy its satire and rhythmic accents. “La Oracion del torero” by Turina and the gentle Elegy by Puccini were both filled with slow passages played with loving care."
-Asbury Park Press, Asbury Park, New Jersey