J. S. Bach The Well-Tempered Clavier Book One for String Quartet (arr. Kitchen)

Living Archive

The renowned Borromeo String Quartet continues its penchant for reinvention in this premiere recording of Bach’s complete Well-Tempered Clavier, Book One arranged for string quartet (by the Borromeo’s own first violinist Nicholas Kitchen). The Well-Tempered Clavier has been an inspiration for every great composer since Bach wrote it nearly 300 years ago, and bringing the complex counterpoint to life in String Quartet form has fascinated composers since Mozart's time. In 2015, Kitchen decided to build on this tradition and pay homage to these great works by transcribing the entire Book One for string quartet for the Borromeo to perform and record. The counterpoint of this great music now comes alive in a new form at the hands of four masterful collaborating musicians.

With the highly-anticipated New York premiere of this set for its Carnegie Hall performance on October 20, 2017, the project dates back to January 2015, when the BSQ was performing in Beijing. The trip was very fulfilling, but while travelling across the city for rehearsals and performances, the group spent much time stuck in traffic. Without the responsibility of driving, first violinist Nicholas Kitchen decided to dive into a project he wanted to pursue for a very long time – arranging the Well-Tempered Clavier Book One for string quartet. These traffic jams, normally a nuisance, instead provided Kitchen with the perfect opportunity to begin creating these transcriptions.

Upon returning from China, the project was temporarily put on hold, not resuming until the BSQ’s annual residency at the Taos School of Music in New Mexico. Determined to complete the transcriptions that summer, Kitchen finished up the last fugue as the Borromeo’s return flight touched down in Boston. Fast forward several months and the Borromeo Quartet is proud to release Book One of the Well-Tempered Clavier, marking the conclusion of a journey of both discovery and rediscovery guided by the timelessly astonishing spirit of J.S. Bach.

30 May 2017

As It Was, Is, And Will Be

GM Recordings / Living Archive GM 2080

On November 30, 2009 the Borromeo Quartet performed Gunther Schuller's String Quartet No. 4 in Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory of Music. It was intended to be a warm up for recording session scheduled one month later. Magic happened on stage that night and both Schuller and the Borromeo felt this live performance warranted inclusion on the CD in addition to the studio version subsequently recorded.

The studio version was made with exactly the same acoustic setup as the concert, with the addition of four individual microphones. The concert and studio recording were engineered by Jeremy Sarna. The editing of the studio version was done by Nick Kitchen and then refined with Nick and Gunther working together.

14 January 2011

Mendelssohn 1825 OTTETTO / CD/DVD set

Living Archive

THE BORROMEO STRING QUARTET AND THE ARIEL STRING QUARTET joined forces at the New England Conservatory of Music where the Borromeo is the Faculty Quartet in Residence and the Ariel was finishing their participation in the Professional String Quartet Studies Program. This live performance on October 27, 2009 in Jordan Hall allowed the Boston audience to hear and see the unique 1825 manuscript version of Mendelssohn's famous string octet for the first time.

The 1825 Ottetto is a significantly different piece than the 1832 version that we are familiar with. Learn this different, but equally miraculous, version by the 16-year-old Mendelssohn.

DVD includes commentary, performance tracks and manuscript-only tracks.

21 January 2011

String Quartets

Robert Maggio Music

Lyrical, passionate, melodic, and rhythmically charged chamber music by composer Robert Maggio, featuring soulful variations on American and Italian folk songs; performed by the world-class Corigliano and Borromeo String Quartets.

01 February 2011

Speak Like the People, Write Like the King

Bridge Records, Inc. BRIDGE 9257

Music by Steve Mackey

The three pieces on this disc are for string quartet and double string quartet and performed by the Borromeo and Brentano String Quartets. Ars Moriendi, Latin for 'the art of dying well', in 9 sections, is an extremely personal written by Steve Mackey, virtually a diary describing the demise of his father. Lude was written as a companion piece to J.S. Bach's Contrapunctis XI from "The Art of the Fugue", and Gaggle and Flock was composed to celebrate collegial bonds between the two quartets that share this recording.

01 March 2009

Beethoven: Serioso

Image Recordings IRC 0202


Two Quartets:
Op. 59, No. 3, and Op. 95 ("Serioso")

"Their four voices, each blessed with breathtaking technical skill and plasticity of phrasing, create a seamless flow of energy that projects a uniquely wholesome Beethovenian vision...It is an extraordinary experience, from their command of enharmonic complexities to the ravishing fury with which they play the concluding flurries of each quartet's final movement..."
- Laurence Vittes Gramophone Magazine
Gramophone Complete Review
American Record Guide Review

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"Two of Beethoven's most dramatic and exciting works, played by the premiere young string quartet in America. Following the wild success of their first CD for us, the Borromeo Quartet has gone back into the studio and produced another stunning CD. Their interpretations of these two Beethoven quartets are second to none: dramatic, profound, and polished. This recording is the first by the Borromeo Quartet with its two new members, and we're delighted to say that the excitement continues! REVIEWS: "The Borromeo String Quartet's second disc for Image Records features two quartets from the Beethoven cycle, Op. 59, No. 3, and Op. 95 ("Serioso"). The performances are on the exalted and eloquent level we have come to expect from this ensemble, and the recorded sound is superb."
- Richard Dyer, Boston Globe

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"These performances are astonishing, not just for their technical accuracy, perfection of ensemble and attack, and beauty of tone, but they are interpretively revealing of details I thought I knew, but had never really heard brought out before...These four musicians bring a whole new dimension to the meaning of "team work".... "...I don't know what your engineers have done, but these CDs make my speakers disappear. It's as if the musicians are in the room with me...I don't think I've heard another recording that captures the sound of a string quartet as naturally, as realistically, and as sumptuously as this one does. Bravo to all concerned!"
- J. Dubins Vancouver, Washington

01 January 2002

Ravel: String Quartet and Sonata for Violin & Cello

Image Recordings IRC9901


String Quartet and Sonata for Violin & Cello

"This is an excellent example of all the elements of the recording working together to outstanding effect. The Ravel Quartet is an ideal vehicle for the Borromeo's shimmering sonorities and sensitive ensemble playing. As important, the production elements of the recording enhance the quartet's performance. The result is an engaging sound world that draws the listener into the experience of the music both viscerally and intellectually."
- Tom Bartunek, Chamber Music Magazine

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"This disc won the prestigious WQXR/CHAMBER MUSIC AMERICA 2001 Record Award. Ravel's colorful music is represented in all its dark, swirling passion. Recorded at the historic Methuen Memorial Music Hall outside Boston, MA, the Borromeo String Quartet's first recording project for Image Recordings, featuring the Quartet and String Duo of Maurice Ravel, was honored with the Chamber Music America/WQXR Award for Recording Excellence in 2001. The group has a busy performing schedule at major concert halls throughout the world, and audiences invariably rise to their feet spontaneously at their concerts. This disc will give you an idea why! WHAT THE CRITICS SAY...QUOTES "So rich in detail and variety one might have thought an entire orchestra was playing." The Washington Post "It is impossible to imagine a better performance. This quartet combines every 20th-century virtuoso ensemble virtue with an old-world sense of color, character, and style."
- The Boston Globe

01 January 1999

Soul Garden: The Chamber Music of Derek Bermel

Composers Recordings B000069LAW

"Derek Bermel can make instruments sing. He can make them talk. Laugh. Scream. Sigh. Bermel has an exquisite ability to capture the spirit of the human voice in his music. Performed by the Borromeo String Quartet, violist Paul Neubauer and cellist Fred Sherry and elegantly recorded by producer Judy Sherman, these works present, for the first time, an overview of Bermel's small-ensemble writing. Soul Garden is an album of consistently engaging chamber works - clean, smart and unique music. Bermel's is a garden in which to linger. "
- Mic Holwin

01 June 2002