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The magnificent four

The Borusan Quartet

John Shakespeare Dyson begins a new series on the stars of the Turkish classical music firmament. The Borusan Quartet take centre stage. Photograph by Monica Fritz

I first listened to the Borusan String Quartet on a snowy December day five years ago. The venue was the Süreyya Opera House in Kadıköy, an agreeably retro cultural mini-hub dating from the 1920s. What impressed me about the quartet was their discipline: in Shostakovich’s Piano Quintet they allowed themselves no more than the merest smidgeon of rubato, keeping strictly in time throughout. It crossed my mind that it might be the influence of Gökhan Aybulus, the Moscow-trained pianist they were accompanying, that was restraining them from any untoward display of beat-defying emotion. I soon realised, however, that their playing was of such high quality that it did not need to wear its heart on its sleeve, but was content to let the composer speak with no intrusive interpolations from intermediaries. I was hooked.

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Issue 65, January 2023 Roman Roads
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