Recording of the Week Zig Zag and the Atrium Quartet
Any label that chooses a zebra for its logo is likely to be adventurous, bold and potentially do things that other labels don’t. And that is certainly true of French label Zig-Zag Territoires, which recently celebrated their tenth anniversary and continues to go from strength to strength. Like many successful independent classical record labels, it is the artistic vision of its creator that plots the course that the label takes, and in this case Franck Jaffrès seems to have a wonderfully adventurous mind with an astute ability to pick out both young artists and unjustly neglected repertoire.
On one level then it is a label rich of curiosities, generally superbly performed by young and fairly unknown artists (although thanks to Zig-Zag a fair number of these are now starting to become better known). However there is also a growing amount of more mainstream repertoire too, and also a growing number of artists with truly international reputations (a recent example being the widely acclaimed and Gramophone Editor’s Choice winning Beethoven Symphony cycle under Jos van Immerseel). Add into this people like Ensemble 415 and Chiara Banchini and it is certainly a label worth keeping more than a passing eye on.
Out today is a new disc of Beethoven and Shostakovich Quartets by the Atrium Quartet. They first rose to international prominence in April 2003 when they won the First Prize and the Audience Prize in the London International String Quartet Competition (held at the prestigious Wigmore Hall). Since then they have pursued a busy international touring schedule, which has also included more competition success. Indeed this disc is a result of First prize at the International String Quartet Competition in Bordeaux last year as Zig-Zag makes a disc with all the winners of that competition (Previous winners include the Belcea Quartet).
I’ve listened to this disc a fair amount over the last couple of weeks and can recommend it without reservation. They play with a beautiful burnished tone, and display an acute awareness of both balance and blend. The music is played with a real understanding and particularly in the Shostakovich they get deep inside its emotional core.
It is a good time to explore this disc and indeed all the treasures on Zig-Zag as we’re currently offering 25% off the whole label.
Available Format: CD
Anima Eterna, Jos van Immerseel
Available Formats: MP3, CD Quality FLAC