Oslobodenje, Sarajevo (May 2016)
The Sixteen-year-old Mendelssohn
The students demonstrated a great proficiency in controlling sound, dynamics and effect. Their completeness was fulfilled in the desired acoustic atmosphere.
The concert’s peak was reached by the eight-member chamber music ensemble. They brilliantly performed the string octet Op. 20 in E-flat major by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy, a very challenging piece of the chamber music repertoire. The ensemble’s members: Jevgenijs Cepoveckis (violin), Nefelina Musaelyan (violin), Andrii Uhrak (violin), Alona Pynzenyk (violin), Martyna Faferek (viola), Jorge Enrique Lozano (viola), Floris Fortin (cello) and Ala Yakusheuskaya (cello). In Mendelssohn’s four movement work, the octet demonstrated all its skills in collective performing, an equilibrium vis-à-vis the timbre and dynamics and great control, but also displaying great passion, power and extreme inspiration. In driving seat as leader of the ensemble, the young musician Jevgenijs Cepoveckis managed to conjure up the sixteen-year-old Mendelssohn and his youthful vigour by playing the violin with a musical effortlessness and airiness.
The students demonstrated a great proficiency in controlling the sound, dynamics and effect. Their completeness was fulfilled in the desired acoustic atmosphere
Kronen Zeitung (August 2018)
Wordlessly singing transformation
The Oberton String Octet is not just acoustically intoxicating but also delivers an effortless and convincing presentation of programme choices. The sound of Schubert’s Lieder, Piazzola’s tangos and a work by Respighi contributed to the evening’s theme of Austrian Folk Music in the Sankt Georgen an der Stiefing Castle during the Styrian Chamber Music Festival.
The relation between folk music and Classical music is a story of a thousand metamorphoses. The technically brilliant young musicians of the Oberton String Octet hence presented an almost overly colourful programme on this theme, presenting feasts for the ears such as Ottorino Respighi’s double quartet and various famous tangos by Astor Piazzolla.
The arrangements are a kind of trademark of the ensemble. Hardly anyone could have shaped Resphigi’s piece, in which Hungarian melodies are woven together, with such an uncompromisingly lyrical vibrato, as the ensemble did. In the middle part of the concert the musicians added innovative elements to the strings’ brilliance. In their own arrangements of Schubert’s well-known Lieder, the ensemble demonstrated its sensibility to the inner polyphony of these works. In Erlkönig, for example, the different registers of the original workare assigned to various solo voices as wordless speaking roles. Meanwhile, the Ständchen of Schwanengesang begins with an innocent pizzicato serenade, which in turn transforms into a tragedy by means of the song’s theme.
Kleine Zeitung (May 2018)
Eight Musicians with vigour
The Oberton String Octet: not the usual routine
The musicians of the Oberton String Octet met each other in 2015 at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz and rightly deserve their place in the Musikverein’s chamber music cycle. The octet opened the evening with two movements by Schostakowitsch: the prelude was quite tamed, whereas the scherzo shimmered in various colours – grotesque, sensitive, wild, exhilarating.
The string octet in C major by Joachim Raff burst with energy even in the first movement, with the Allegro molto following in a gently galloping manner. The Andante moderato sounded like a sweet intermezzo that flowed gently over the 32 strings of the octet.
The leading roles between the musicians was well balanced, and Yevgeny Chepovetsky held his position as first violin very modestly. The transitions in George Enescu’s octet were arranged finely, however, the flautando seemed slighly exaggerated at times. Two classics were chosen as an encore: Puccini’s Nessun Dorma and Piazzolla’s Adiós Nonino.
Kronen Zeitung (May 2018)
There are only a few composers who have written works for string octet. Thus, the Oberton String Octet performed rarities by the likes of Dimitri Schostakovich, Joachim Raff and George Enescu at their Musikverein debut.
It may sound self-explanatory, however, for the ensemble it is vital: the musicians of the Oberton String Octet love the sound of their instruments. It is rare to hear strings which glide over the jittery chasms of the opening Zwei Stücke für Streichoktett by Schostakowitsch with such a sensual spectrum. The following string octet by the Swiss composer Joachim Raff catches fire and the musicians impart a spicy tingle to the piece. This sweet serenade-like flavour can also be tasted in the slower sections of the work.
The ensemble’s performance is technically absolute, yet in Enescu’s octet the musicians occasionally tend to brim over the thematic structures with sheer overflowing energy. However, it does not harm this pure feast for the ears by any means.
Glas Slavonije (April 2018)
The octet which sounds like an orchestra
The Osječka glazbena srijeda - OGS (Musical Wednesday of Osijek) brought to stage the Oberton String Octet from Graz, which performed at the Church of St. Cross in Osijek. The ensemble’s members are: Yevgeny Chepovetsky (first violin), Anna van der Merwe (second violin), Andrii Uhrak (third violin), Alberto Stiffoni (fourth violin), Martyna Faferek (first viola), Jorge Enrique Lozano (second viola), Floris Fortin (first cello) and Ema Grčman (second cello).
All the musicians are young and extremely gifted. They come from eight different countries, however, they are all students at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz. Chepovetsky’s initiative lead to the octet’s formation in 2015.
Even though the musicians have made music together since only two years, their work and effort have been recognised by several organisers like the OGS. The ensemble has already performed in Graz, Sarajevo, Gdańsk and Osijek. However, the octet will also perform in many other countries, such as Latvia and Switzerland, in the future.
The first piece on the programme in Osijek was Divertimento in E-flat major by Haydn. At the very start of the concert, the ensemble already demonstrated a sophisticated feeling for collective performing. The Echo, which is a kind of leitmotif of the piece, was conjured up extremely successfully. A unique feature of the string octet is the trio and quartet’s interaction between quality and sound. At the same time, the composer’s wit and performers give the effect of an entire orchestra. This also was the case in Shostakovich’s Two Pieces for String Octet Op. 11. The interpretation of the long and singing phrases captivated the audience. At the end, the ensemble performed Raff’s String Octet Op. 176 from 1872, the epoch of the most creative composers. The concert contained a very varied repertoire, which included Classicism, Romanticism and works from the 20th century. Every style was performed in the best way possible and showed the octet’s adaptability to different characters.
The musicians returned after a generous applause and performed Giacomo Puccini’s Nessun Dorma. An ensemble of such a quality will certainly have many excellent concerts in the future. Moreover, the audience of Osijek will keep in mind the concert at the Church of St. Cross for a very long time.
Kultura Yekaterinburg (July 2018)
Showing Humanity through Music
Source: Kultura Yekaterinburg
Vorarlberger Nachrichten (December 2017)
Using the Bow to its Limits
BLUDENZ Founder of the project Kultur.Leben Maria Müller brings a number of stars to the stages of Vorarlberg. However, she also makes new encounters possible between the artists and audience. This was apparent on Saturday evening in the Remise Bludenz, rendering these events additionally valuable. Founded just two years ago in Graz, the Oberton String Octet has already joined the likes of other well-established artists to have performed for the Kultur.Leben concert series.
Audiences can be hesitant towards newer programming, but this proved to be no problem in the case of the Oberton String Octet’s convincing performance of rarely performed works (including pieces by Dimitri Schostakowitsch, Andreas Romberg and Joachim Raff). In addition, the octet performed an arrangement of Piazzolla, adding an even more exciting atmosphere to the evening. Andreas Romberg’s works are not part of the standard concert repertoire, although the German composer now ranks well among the rediscovered classics. In contrast with Schostakovitch’s Octet, the tempo arrangement in the double quartet proved to be an excellent prelude to the pieces for string octet by the Russian composer. First violinist Yevgeny Chepovetsky played with great virtuosity, breaking his bow-hairs one by one.
The audience was enchanted by the convincing interpretation of unity in the strings’ sound quality and enjoyed an almost theatrically structured performance which reached its peak in Joachim Raff’s multi-movement work. Additionally, the Swiss composer’s composition made great use of the variety afforded by the flexibility of the string instruments. A masterly, inspiring, and highly enjoyable performance.