Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Soviet Experience

From May 1, 2012 (Happy May Day, comrades!):

This is the second set in the Pacifica Quartet's Soviet Experience series for Cedille, and it's another winner. The two discs include the first 4 string quartets in Shostakovich's great cycle, and the 2nd quartet by Prokofiev, both of whose quartets are of the highest quality. The music on this disc reflects the tumultuous times in Soviet Russia from the period just before to just after the Second World War.

I know the Pacifica Quartet from their amazing Naxos recording of the String Quartets of Elliott Carter, which won a Grammy Award in 2009. The new Cedille set has the same outstanding levels of musicianship and engineering. The series provides the opportunity to immerse oneself in the heroic, horrific and incredibly sad period of the Soviet war with Nazi Germany, and the emerging war of Stalin against his own greatest artists. From the deceptive simplicity of the first Shostakovich quartet, with its folk-like melodies and glimpses of chaos to come, to the tragically great Quartet #3, the Pacifica players present an amazing tableau of the broadest range of emotions and the highest peaks of art. I look forward to the next release in this series!

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