Notes and Editorial Reviews
There were some outstanding performances in this series, though I had a few reservations about some of them (the Third Quartet, for instance, struck me as just a bit underplayed). However, hearing this set as a whole, it becomes clear that this is certainly as fine a cycle as any of the other great ones available (Borodin, Emerson, Fitzwilliam). The Mandelring Quartett, as Jed Distler noted in his review of one of the single issues, has the singular ability to characterize each work. And so the subdued Seventh Quartet isn’t played with the same raw intensity as the devastatingly tragic Eighth, or the elegiac Fifteenth.
In that sense, this isn’t a set for listeners who want to hear all
of this music approached more or less from the same interpretive perspective. You won’t find, for example, the same unbridled fervor of the Borodin or Fitzwilliam sets, or the Emerson’s razor-sharp precision of ensemble as defining characteristics of the interpretations. Certainly, the Mandelring’s superior musicality remains consistent throughout, and Audite’s sonics are second to none, but you will perhaps notice a wider variety and range of expression than you have grown accustomed to expect in this music—or at least in complete quartet cycles. It’s very much a matter of personal taste and emphasis, somewhat akin to the way in which Bartók quartet sets may dwell on folk elements, or technical precision and timbral effects, without necessarily having to sacrifice either. It’s good to see that these works have achieved the kind of canonic status where we can enjoy such a broad range of approaches.
-- David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.om
Works on This Recording
Quartet for Strings no 1 in C major, Op. 49 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Mandelring String Quartet
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1935; USSR
Date of Recording: 02/25/2005
Length: 14 Minutes 0 Secs.
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