“You might think that discipline, passion and impetuousness inhabit different universes, but the St. Petersburg String Quartet has morphed the three into a powerful musical persona. The group’s program on Saturday at Georgetown’s Dumbarton Concerts in Dumbarton United Methodist Church was well geared to display the many facets of its personality . . .
Unassailable technique and intonation . . an astonishingly calibrated range of voicings and dynamics . . . sinew, luscious tonal blend and phrasing that surged with ardor . . . breathtaking assurance and laugh-out-loud wit.”
The Sunday Times (London):
“In the St. Petersburg we have the natural successor to the Borodin [Quartet’s] crown . . . virtuosic and sumptuous-toned.”
– The Boston Musical Intelligencer:
“The St. Petersburg String Quartet, all Russian musicians, is now resident in the U.S. It has lost none of its grasp of Russian idiom. Its playing of Borodin used plenty of rubato, and its tonal quality was as lush as you’d ever want to hear. Yet there wasn’t a trace of sentimentality throughout the work, and the very good balance of the musicians (strong viola and cello to match the violins) kept me aware of the texture of the music. It’s not just a bunch of beautiful tunes strung together!…Performances like this one, idiomatic, expressive, unexaggerated, and beautifully integrated, make the case for the music as well as anyone might want.(About Tchaikovsky Quartet No. 2)”
Toronto Globe and Mail:
“Bliss, for this listener, doesn’t get much more unequivocal than the St. Petersburg Quartet’s performance.”
Charleston Post and Courier :
“The quartet, from Russia, not Florida, is an unbeatable world-class ensemble. Their ensemble presentation is seamless and their musical insight is flawless.The St. Petersburg was matchless, with a sound so exact that it almost defies description. Following the inevitable but genuine standing ovation, the St. Petersburg played a brief encore: the second movement of Igor Stravinsky’s Three Pieces for String Quartet (1914), named “Eccentric,” reflecting a clown named Little Tick.”
The Newtown Bee :
“Saving The Best For Last: A Season Finale By St Petersburg String Quartet”
“In this, its 29th season, the Newtown Friends of Music concert planners wisely saved the best for last: The St Petersburg String Quartet, winners of countless prizes and awards on four continents, performed a program of Mendelssohn, Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky last weekend that was truly outstanding, and brought the audience to their feet in a spontaneous tribute.Right from the outset on April 29, with Felix Mendelssohn’s Quartet in A minor, Opus 13, the tone was so clear and vibrant that it seemed as if there were an entire orchestra on the stage…While Shostakovich, as other 20th century composers, is less melodic than his Romantic forebears, this quartet, drawing its theme from folk melodies, and taking them through a succession of major and minor modes, builds to an impressive and emphatic finale that again seemed so rich that it was hard to believe that all that sound was coming from four stringed instruments…This was so good to listen to and the performers did it so well that it made this reviewer wish that we could have the St Petersburg group for all six concerts next year.”
Review of the recording – St. Petersburg String Quartet: Dvorák Quartet, Op. 96; Mendelssohn Quartet, Op. 13; Tchaikovsky Andante Cantabile from Quartet No. 1.
“Having wrapped up its Shostakovich cycle for Hyperion last year during its 20th anniversary season, the St. Petersburg String Quartet has continued to celebrate on this recording with superbly poetic and elegantly considered performances of two rarely coupled masterpieces of the Romantic repertoire, plus a delicious Tchaikovsky encore. In the Mendelssohn, the quartet’s extraordinary attention to not just the composer’s dynamic markings, but the implications of how those dynamics affect phrasing, transforms what is often an exercise in juvenilia (Mendelssohn wrote the quartet when he was 17) into a reading of almost Beethovenian depth (appropriately so since the music is heavily influenced by Beethoven’s late quartets) and complexity. First violinist Aranovskaya and her colleagues are magnificent throughout, with wonderful shades of color shining through from the music’s harmonic interior, and a rich sound that never thickens. The Dvorák is an even finer performance, as beautiful as it can be, and touched by breathtaking rhetorical touches that never become ostentatious and subtle speed changes that bring the music alive. At every turn, the quartet seems to find something illuminating. Nothing is routine, nothing taken for granted, and yet it all sounds magically spontaneous. Recorded in the Church of St. Catherine in St. Petersburg, the sound is outstanding. At the end of the program note, there is this tribute from the quartet: “We wish to thank our first quartet teacher, Vladimir Ovcharek (first violinist of the Taneyev String Quartet), because he taught us to understand the Sacrament of Music.”