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Shostakovich: String Quartets 3, 7 & 8

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
With their emotionally penetrating approach to chamber music, the members of the Hagen Quartet have an obvious flair for Shostakovich, yet more than a decade has elapsed between their first recording of the composer's music and the present one. They've used the intervening years to hone their interpretive powers to an even sharper point, and here they take the listener through some particularly intense territory, from the Third Quartet of 1946, shadowed by the end of World War II, to the deeply introspective Seventh and Eighth Quartets, written back to back in 1960. Among the virtues of the Hagen's playing, especially in modernist repertoire, is their willingness to ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Scott Paulin
With their emotionally penetrating approach to chamber music, the members of the Hagen Quartet have an obvious flair for Shostakovich, yet more than a decade has elapsed between their first recording of the composer's music and the present one. They've used the intervening years to hone their interpretive powers to an even sharper point, and here they take the listener through some particularly intense territory, from the Third Quartet of 1946, shadowed by the end of World War II, to the deeply introspective Seventh and Eighth Quartets, written back to back in 1960. Among the virtues of the Hagen's playing, especially in modernist repertoire, is their willingness to explore the full range of their instruments' tone colors, including ones that aren't conventionally beautiful. When expressionistic angst is called for, as in the fugue of the Seventh Quartet's last movement, to name just one of several incidents, you can count on the Hagens to bring forth a sound both traumatized and boldly aggressive. Yet Shostakovich calls for many more delicate effects, too, and the Hagens have a wonderful way with them as well: the countless shadings of their pizzicato attacks, for example, and their quietly seamless blending in the slow movements of the Eighth Quartet. The latter, one of Shostakovich's best-known works, is the ultimate testing ground to measure this quartet against their many competitors in the repertoire. Like few other ensembles, the Hagens move with ease between visceral, roller-coaster thrills and the deepest expressions of pain and isolation, making their version of the Eighth Quartet -- no less than the other works featured here -- a profoundly moving experience.
All Music Guide - James Leonard
If the Hagen Quartett was a band, it would be Metallica. The naked brutality of its attack, the blazing virtuosity of its technique, and the concentrated intensity of its performances are interpretative strategies both ensembles advocate. In any repertoire from Haydn to Schubert to Janácek, the Hagen is inexorable and unrelenting, but in Shostakovich it is unbearable and overwhelming. The Hagen's 1995 recording of the Soviet master's "Fourth," "Eleventh," and "Fourteenth" quartets was a coup de maître of musical slash and burn, and this 2006 recording of the "Third," "Seventh," and "Eighth" quartets is a chef de oeuvre of sheer terror. Showing compassion only for the hopeless yearning of the "Seventh"'s ghostly waltz and endless grief of the "Eighth"'s shattered finale, the Hagen mercilessly assaults sonorities, push rhythms recklessly, and force tempos relentlessly, as if Shostakovich wrote not socialist realist music but the darkest death metal music. Although this approach might not work for every listener -- those for whom only Soviet despair does the trick need not apply -- even the most faithful party apparatchik will have to admit the Hagen has found a convincing alternative approach to Shostakovich's music -- pure, unmitigated fury. Deutsche Grammophon's digital sound is vivid, hard, and deep.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 7/4/2006
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • UPC: 028947761464
  • Catalog Number: 000650502
  • Sales rank: 160,401

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–5 String Quartet No. 3 in F major, Op. 73 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Nikolaus Boddin (31:07)
  2. 6–9 String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp Minor, Op. 108 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Nikolaus Boddin (11:52)
  3. 10–14 String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Nikolaus Boddin (20:21)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Hagen Quartett Primary Artist
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