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Shostakovich & Myaskovsky String Quartets / Pacifica Quartet

Shostakovich / Miaskovsky / Pacifica Quartet
Release Date: 09/27/2011 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 127   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Dmitri ShostakovichNikolay Myaskovsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Cedille certainly produces some of the smartest "concept" albums in the classical music business today, because the concept always seems to work musically. Now, the Pacifica Quartet is one of the best chamber ensembles out there, as its Mendelssohn recordings for this same label attest. Even so, there's no dearth of fine Shostakovich cycles, starting with the Borodin Quartet and running through the Emerson Quartet. These performances, every bit as fine as those, would be excellent by themselves, but they do risk getting lost in the discographic shuffle. So it was an inspired idea to pair them with other important works in the same medium by Shostakovich's contemporaries. I'm not sure if
Read more this adds up to a "Soviet Experience," whatever that is, but it does make for some great listening.

The four Shostakovich quartets offered here constitute the heart of the cycle, culminating in the incredibly popular (amazing because musically it's very sad) Eighth Quartet. In this latter work, the Pacifica Quartet finds a perfect balance between technical polish and raw intensity, nowhere more so than in the ferocious second movement. In Quartet No. 5, with its complex outer movements, the players pace the music with an unerring feeling for tension and relaxation. Even the slender Seventh, Shostakovich's shortest quartet, has an unusual measure of cogency and expressive depth.

Miaskovsky's Thirteenth Quartet, his last, is a splendid work: conservative, to be sure, but so beautifully written. The scherzo, marked "Presto fantastico," displays a vast quantity of color and texture, but then the entire work belies the notion that the quartet medium tends toward the monochrome. The thematic invention is also surprisingly arresting for this composer; some of the symphonies seem bland in comparison. Once again, it would be difficult to imagine a finer performance, and the engineering allows the players' attractive sonority and well-balanced ensemble work to speak with total naturalness. A great start to a very promising series.

– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com
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Works on This Recording

Quartet for Strings no 8 in C minor, Op. 110 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; USSR 
Length: 21 Minutes 56 Secs. 
Quartet for Strings no 7 in F sharp minor, Op. 108 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1960; USSR 
Length: 12 Minutes 13 Secs. 
Quartet for Strings no 6 in G major, Op. 101 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1956; USSR 
Length: 25 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Quartet for Strings no 5 in B flat major, Op. 92 by Dmitri Shostakovich
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1952; USSR 
Length: 31 Minutes 45 Secs. 
Quartet for Strings no 13 in A minor, Op. 86 by Nikolay Myaskovsky
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Pacifica String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1949; USSR 
Length: 25 Minutes 36 Secs. 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  3 Customer Reviews )
 Superb Incisive December 31, 2013 By Joseph B. (Eastpointe, MI) See All My Reviews "Having heard the Pacifica Quartet numerous times in person, including performances of several Shostakovich String Quartets,my expectations for this complete set of Quartets was quite high. Theses expectations were more than met. They were played beautifully,emotionally and some times frighteningly.I have listened several times over and find new nuances on each hearing, the best recording of most of the quartets that I have and those that I have previously heard. Except for one, the remaining quartets were unfamiliar to me but found them beautifully played and contextually interesting and informative.Overall a fantastic set that I expect to enjoy for many years." Report Abuse
 Great Music July 11, 2013 By Mary Lynn H. (San Antonio, TX) See All My Reviews "This two disk set is every bit as good as the recordings by the Borodin Quartet and I like that the Miakovsky 13 is added. If you want Shostakovich at his most interesting, start here. The music and the sound are great." Report Abuse
 Matches Live Performance May 30, 2012 By John E. (Chicago, IL) See All My Reviews "These recordings have matched the intensity and beauty of the live performances Pacifica gave last year at Ganz Hall in Chicago." Report Abuse
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