Notes and Editorial Reviews
This is an interesting and well-played program, even if only one of the works (Stravinsky's Concerto in D) was actually written for the medium of string orchestra. All of the other pieces are heard in Dmitri Sitkovetsky's very capable transcriptions. Shostakovich's Third Quartet wasn't included in the series of four "Chamber Symphonies" arranged by Rudolf Barshai from the various quartets, and the truth is it would have been nice to have a few woodwinds thrown in for contrast (in the first movement especially), but this splendid work makes a strong impact nonetheless. I don't agree with those who claim that Shostakovich's quartets are often "orchestral" in sonority, but the largest of them, including this one, certainly
transfer well to performance by larger forces.
The contrast with Stravinsky's neo-classical, dry-as-a-bone concerto couldn't be greater. Curiously, the music's wit and impeccable formal architecture comes across more strongly when bracketed by the two Shostakovich works. The elegant aria from Mavra, a transcription of Stravinsky's own violin and piano transcription of the original, makes an ideal little encore. Sitkovetsky certainly has the measure of all of this music: he keeps the Concerto in D moving smartly along and lets the piece speak for itself (as if he had a choice), while the Shostakovich Third retains a surprising amount of chamber-music-like nuance despite the full sonority that Sitkovetsky gets from his ensemble. Very good sound provides the finishing touch to this intelligent and enjoyable disc.
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
Works on This Recording
Pieces (2) for String Octet, Op. 11 by Dmitri Shostakovich
New European Strings
Period: 20th Century
Written: 1924-1925; USSR
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