Gringolts Quartet
French German

Press reactions

BADISCHES TAGBLATT, Udo Barth, 23.10.2017
The musical entity created by the four musicians is formidable. An ensemble sound of fine coherence yet extremely confident playing with rapid tempi, with bows zipping across the strings at a great pace. If anyone still doubted whether this matinee could become one of the finest moments of chamber music, they were soon disabused by the performance of Brahms' Second Quartet in A Minor.

GRAMOPHONE, October 2017 - about the Schoenberg CD
The fruits of their work have ripened in this intensely sympathetic account of the Second Quartet. Just a ghost of Russian old-school, high-intensity vibrato haunts the second movement's parody of 'O, du lieber Augustin', before the expression broadens without relaxing into the burning fires and open wounds of'Litanei'.


KLASSIK-HEUTE.COM, Martin Blaumeiser, 28/9/2017 - about the Schoenberg CD
There hasn't been such a persuasive case for Schoenberg's music for years, making this CD my new reference recording.


RP-ONLINE.DE, 26/9/2017
The Gringolts Quartet played everything with complete clarity and stylistic assurance. The fast movements were played so swiftly that you could only just make out the details, and the calm movements were played with hardly any vibrato. This sensational evening sets high standards for the new Duisburg chamber music concert season.


THE SCOTSMAN, Susan Nickalls, 14.8.2017 - The Edinburgh Festival
The fabulous Gringolts demonstrated just about every sound you could make on a string instrument.


HERALD SCOTLAND, Svend McEwan-Brown, 12/8/2017
Beautifully integrated sound; immaculate execution of impeccable, mature interpretations, charismatic on-stage and, above all: they are purely about the music. Striking a fine balance of profundity and humour for both Haydn and Brahms, they left their audience enraptured or tittering in all the right places. They convincingly adapted their sound to be classically vibrato-free for one then full-fat Romantic for the other.


DIAPASON, J.C Hulot, June 2016 - about the Taneyev/Glazunov CD
Once again the team headed by Ilya Gringolts dazzles us with tonal richness, accent diversity and an equally sophisticated (and solid) interpretation as if it were performing Brahms. The expectation of clarity that the musicians bring to the Glazunow is all the more valuable for the lush polyphony of Taneyev that ranges between chamber music and concerto. It sharpens the contrasts, highlights the diversity of the various climates.


THE CLASSICAL REVIEWER, Bruce Reader, 10/05/2016 about the Taneyev/Glazunov CD
Gringolts Quartet and Christian Poltéra bring a fine fluency and lovely shaping to the Allegro con spirito, finding so many little details as the music dashes ahead. These players provide some lovely textures in the quieter moments, exhibiting terrific control as this music rises and falls, a tautness that is rather fine, revealing all of the quickly changing facets of this music. This is a very fine performance indeed of an attractive work in which these players find many beautiful moments.


GRAMOPHONE, Richard Bratby, April 2016 - about the Taneyev/Glazunov CD
Ilya Gringolts's glowing tone and liquid grace score highly. Listen to the expressive but unaffected way he handles the little cadenza at the end of Var 5. Gringolts is never more than first among equals, however, and the Quintet's sunset coda is lovingly handled, the individual strands of the texture beautifully caught in BIS's warm, transparent sound.


BALLADE.NO, Emil Bernhardt, 01/04/2016
The Gringolts Quartet's interpretation of Haydn was distinguished by an impressive technical superiority which never appeared to be insincere or superficial. It was as if the audience could observe every detail with a magnifying glass, and even the smallest and most subtle movement produced the maximum expressive effect.


KLASSIK-HEUTE.DE, Heinz Braun, 25/02/2016 - about the Taneyev/Glazunov CD
One can only congratulate the Gringolts Quartet for this performance with Christian Poltéra: the musicians not only always find the appropriate character but the true one in all the expressivity and marked contrast and they also achieve the transparent sound that is so essential to Taneyev's interwovenscore. Romantic chamber music lovers should definitely not miss this new recording.


RONDO MAGAZIN, Michael Wersin, 06/02/2016 - about the Taneyev/Glazunov CD
A captivating listening experience and a first class performance thanks to the Gringolts Quartet's playing and Christian Poltéra as second cello: a full and at the same time deeply focused sound allows the listener to experience the pieces as if from the heart of the action one feels completely cocooned in this strangely unfamiliar yet hugely appealing music.


BERNER ZEITUNG, Heinz Kunz, 16/01/2016
The interpreters presented the piece [Bartok's String Quartet No. 3] with fascinating diversity: they emphasised the contrasts intensively, fundamentally integrated lyrical moments into the severe character of the work and increased the expression in the second part to its limits. The Gringolts Quartet played with passionate devotion, which found its culmination in Schubert's String Quartet No. 15.


LA VANGUARDIA, Jaume Radigales, 17/4/2015
The chemistry between the Gringolts Quartet, Jonathan Brown and Arnau Tomàs from the Casals Quartet was just right. They performed with the utmost precision and a generous approach to the musical phrases that alternated between the six instruments in the Sala Oriol Martorell. Fabulous!


BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE, Stephen Johnson, October 2014, on Brahms CD (Orchid Classics)
Listen to the Gringolts Quartet in the Op.51 No.2 and Op.67 Quartets and you may conclude that they've simply not been played right. There's so much sensitive give and take between the four instruments here, so much intimacy and subtle variation of colour, that the feeling is these are Romantic chamber gems comparable with Schumann's three Quartets. In the first movement of Op.67 the shifts in rhythmic patterns are handled with the kind of supple freedom even the most refined orchestral conductor could hardly match. There's humour, too, especially in the finale, with its teasingly incomplete theme.


ENSEMBLE MAGAZIN FÜR KAMMERMUSIK, Hans-Dieter Grünefeld, August/September 2014, Issue 4/2014, on Brahms CD (Orchid Classics)
The added bonus to the Gringolts Quartet's interpretations is the clear analytical insight that has obviously gone into the preparation for this recording of Johannes Brahms' complete string quartets. Their ensemble playing is completely transparent and convincing (...). However the Piano Quintett in F minor is particularly fantastic, not only because Peter Laul's subtly heartfelt piano part is naturally integrated into the sound balance, but also because the transitions into the fluctuating mix of emotions of the “sighing” motifs move seamlessly in the dynamics and structure. (...) This brilliant Brahms sound experience is based on perfect intuition when played by the Gringolts Quartet.


PIZZICATO.LU, Alain Steffen, 7/8/2014, on Brahms CD (Orchid Classics)
This is a really spirited and very modern rendition of Brahms. The Gringolts Quartet dares to go off the beaten track and, at least in part, to turn its back on the romantic gesture. (...) The Gringolts Quartet plays relatively briskly, with clear phrases and clarity to each instrument. The melodic flow remains in place but is frequently put into perspective through sharp edges, accents and analytical precision. The pianist Peter Laul is also excellent and blends seamlessly with the ensemble. The interpretational concept reveals new ways of understanding the work.


SALZBURGER NACHRICHTEN, Florian Oberhummer, 4/8/2014
A star soloist needs a team whether it's in football or at the Salzburg Festival. (...) Gringolts returned to the Großer Saal of the Stiftung Mozarteum on Friday evening as the first violinist of his splendid string quartet. (...) For this concert, the quartet was joined by David Geringas (cello), Jonathan Brown (viola) and Dariusz Mizera (double bass) to perform the string septet version of Richard Strauss' Metamorphosen in luxurious splendour.


OBSERVER, Stephen Pritchard, 22/6/2014, on Brahms CD (Orchid Classics)
Like opening the curtains on a sunny morning, this recording throws fresh light on the familiar features of Brahms's beguiling chamber music. The glorious Piano Quintet in F minor, Op 34, bursts with confidence, the Gringolts and Peter Laul fully conscious of its soaring, symphonic ambition.


The Gringolts Quartet maintains a dignified, yet highly passionate overall sound, in which the talents of each musician are evenly divided.


RONDO-MAGAZIN, Michael Wersin, April 2013, on Braunfels/Strauss CD on Profil
The Gringolts Quartet, with the addition of cellist David Geringas, delights the listener with well- structured, spellbindingly lively first-class playing and brings off Strauss' passion for sound and Braunfels' harshness with conviction and surprising versatility. This is a CD, which not only invites the listener to immerse themselves completely in the music, it almost compels one to do so.


MUSIC WEB INTERNATIONAL, Michael Cookson, 13/2/2013 on Braunfels/Strauss-CD published on Profil
Gringolts and his players bring a cool, steely and achingly intense beauty to their interpretation. [...] These two fascinating works are well worth getting to know: one obscure from Braunfels and the other by Strauss in an unfamiliar guise. These are deeply felt and impeccably prepared performances rendered in excellent sound: cool, clear and well balanced.


KULTUR SPIEGEL, JANUAR 2013 (on the CD Box Robert Schumann Kammermusik by Onyx) Unlike some, Ilya Gringolts and his friends don't consider chamber music a high-performance sport. Instead, they put emphasis on style and atmosphere both so powerfully present in their interpretation of the violin sonatas and the piano quintet. Their Schumann sounds nervous but singable, contemplative and yet blissful.


The highlight of the concert is Brahms' Quintet in F minor. Ilya Gringolts and Anahit Kurtikyan on the violin, Silvia Simonescu (viola) and Claudius Hermann (cello) enthrall us entirely. The ensemble, which is based in Zurich, plays in a manner that is full of contrast, vivacious, luxuriating and tragic. The powerful, almost symphonic, first and third movements in particular win one over through their consistent phrasing.


The four all of them excellent instrumentalists played almost vibratoless and with glass-like clarity. The colours and the accentuation came across as effusive, and they rode wildly through the presto finale [of Haydn's Quartet op. 76,5]. (...) After the break Ludwig van Beethoven's A Minor Quartet op. 132 received a notable interpretation in an artificial, tonally refined, richly varied and at the same time, almost free from vibrato manner, which was greeted with bravos.


CLASSICFM.COM, June 2012 on the CD Gringolts Quartet Schumann: String Quartets
Led by the incisive Ilya Gringolts (...) the Gringolts Quartet puts Schumann's mercurial yet troubled psyche under an intense spotlight. They use every means at their disposal to draw out more disturbing elements of the quartets: the beginning of no.1 emerges as sombre as medieval plainsong, silences are full of unspoken menace. (...) The more joyous moments are undimmed with the Piano Quintet going great guns and Gringolts's violin-playing dancing through enchantingly nuanced passagework in the finale of the Quartet no.2. (...) Original, personal and beautifully played, these performances prove that there are as many facets to Schumann's quartets as there are ensembles to play them. A different and fascinating take.


Together, they achieve a consistent sound in which the music seems to come from one common source. The quartet is characterized by its fearless refusal to compromise. It was daring to begin the concert with Antonín Dvorak's fragile and intimate String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 51. But what a coup; the broken E-flat major chords slid into each other in a gloomy stupor until the movement gradually transitioned to a polka rhythm. In the Romanza, the four musicians achieved a singularly balanced coordination.


DIAPASON, 01/2012 on the CD Gringolts Quartet Schumann: String Quartets *****
Ilya Gringolts and his friends never let the tension drop. Amplified by the acoustics of the Lutheran Church of St. Petersburg, the sound of the ensemble, led by its fiery first violinist, cannot be beat. The transparent polyphony of the first Andante espressivo, along with the clarity of the accompanying voices and the sophisticated use of tone colours, stood in direct contrast to the biting but playful scherzo, and added to the performances poetic appeal.


The detail work is extremely refined, the precise articulation admirable. (...) The quartet is not dominated by one star or world-class soloist, but rather displays, as a whole, the greatest combination of soloistic skill and homogeneity in a way that is most impressive.


These artists are brilliant masters of their craft. The determined moaning of the viola or cello, flanked by gently restrained violins, was full of the protagonists intensity and subtle phrasing.


INDEPENDENT, 30/10/2011 on the CD Gringolts Quartet Schumann: String Quartets
Meticulously balanced (...) textures are clear, the lines long and well shaped.


Under the four artist's bows, the elegant beginning of the first movement of the String Quartet No.5 in D major (by Haydn) gradually began to flow with an increasing power and an impressive acceleration. The distinguished and sensual Largo, the heart of the score, seemed to open the doors of romanticism widely with its warm and sensitive tone. A sturdy minuet and an original finale, sparkling with spirit, were played with masterful vitality. (...) With great facility, the Gringolts Quartet offered a compelling vision (of Schumann's String Quartet No.1), full of vitality, freshness, fantasy and irony and at the same time they left enough space for dream and nostalgia.