Soviet Experience, Vol. 1: Shostakovich & Myaskovsky

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
Unlike his symphonies, the string quartets of Dmitry Shostakovich were not evenly distributed over his career; all but two date from after World War II. Shostakovich turned in earnest to the genre during his years of conflict with Soviet authorities, and they are remarkable documents of one of the greatest and most universal themes of his music, the experience of being forced to become inward. The "String Quartet No. 5 in B flat, Op. 92," was written for a small group of Shostakovich's associates shortly after his denunciation by Stalin's cultural commissars; it was not intended for public performance. Significantly, it introduces the signature D-S-C-H motif that runs ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - James Manheim
Unlike his symphonies, the string quartets of Dmitry Shostakovich were not evenly distributed over his career; all but two date from after World War II. Shostakovich turned in earnest to the genre during his years of conflict with Soviet authorities, and they are remarkable documents of one of the greatest and most universal themes of his music, the experience of being forced to become inward. The "String Quartet No. 5 in B flat, Op. 92," was written for a small group of Shostakovich's associates shortly after his denunciation by Stalin's cultural commissars; it was not intended for public performance. Significantly, it introduces the signature D-S-C-H motif that runs like a thread through the composer's later music. The other three Shostakovich quartets here appeared under more favorable circumstances, but the "String Quartet No. 6 in G major, Op. 101," and "String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp minor, Op. 108," are cut from the same cloth as the earlier work; all have deeply despondent slow movements and outer movements in which melodic ideas seem to fragment or be challenged by an implacable force. The odd work out here is the "String Quartet No. 8 in D minor, Op. 110," which is well known in a string orchestra arrangement by Rudolf Barshai. The work was dedicated to the victims of fascism and war, but annotator William Hussey suggests that the dedication was added by others and that the sense of tragedy in the work was more personal, having to do with the composer's depression over having been pressured to join the Communist Party. In either event, it is a more outward kind of work, and the Pacifica Quartet's tough intensity serves it particularly well. The "String Quartet No. 13 in A minor, Op. 86," of Nikolay Myaskovsky was composed at the height of the Stalinist restrictions in 1950 and helps put the Shostakovich pieces in context; it is an explicitly Romantic work. The Pacifica Quartet, based at the University of Illinois, is sometimes a bit stiff in Shostakovich's more vernacular melodies, but it gets the basic emotional qualities of the work very well, and there's nothing to fault in the ensemble work. These quartets benefit from being heard in groups like this, where Shostakovich's various approaches to his interior dialogue can be compared, and this is overall a very moving set.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/27/2011
  • Label: Cedille
  • UPC: 735131912723
  • Catalog Number: 127
  • Sales rank: 42,558

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1–3 String Quartet No. 5 in B flat major, Op. 92 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Pacifica Quartet (31:50)
  2. 4–7 String Quartet No. 6 in G major, Op. 101 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Pacifica Quartet (25:40)
Disc 2
  1. 1–3 String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp minor, Op. 108 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Pacifica Quartet (12:19)
  2. 4–8 String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110 - Dmitry Shostakovich & Pacifica Quartet (22:00)
  3. 9–12 String quartet No. 13 in A minor, Op. 86 - Nikolay Myaskovsky & Pacifica Quartet (25:37)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Pacifica Quartet Primary Artist
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