- Quintet for piano & strings in G minor, Op. 57
- Piano Quintet
There was a time when the Vermeer Quartet recorded the complete Beethoven "String Quartets" for Teldec and a time when Boris Berman recorded the complete Prokofiev piano works for Chandos. But with the collapse of the classical recording industry, those times are long gone and the Vermeer Quartet and Berman have had to leave the major labels in search of recording contracts. In 2000, the Vermeer Quartet and Berman recorded the piano quintets of Shostakovich and Schnittke for Naxos, a brilliant coupling of two great works by the two foremost Soviet composers. It was just the sort of disc the major labels used to issue in bulk lots before they came to the realization that there just wasn't a big enough market to support releasing them at full price. Hopefully, there is a big enough market to support this disc at Naxos' budget price, but whether there is or there isn't, this is a disc that still deserves to be heard. Both works are amply represented in the catalog, but while there are other, greater recordings of both works, this is the only recording to couple both works. More importantly, while there are other, greater recordings of both works -- the magnificent Borodin Quartet, Sviatoslav Richter of the Shostakovich and the Borodin, and Ludmilla Berlinsky of the Schnittke -- the Vermeer/Berman recordings of both works are exquisitely played, movingly interpreted, and vividly recorded. Their Shostakovich is big and brawny with a lovely Intermezzo, and their Schnittke is sensitive and soulful with a profoundly affecting closing Moderato pastorale. As fine a chamber music recording that was issued in 2003, the Vermeer/Berman recording of the Shostakovich and Schnittke piano quintets warrants a wide listening at any price.