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D. Shostakovich: Complete Quartets [Box set]

Borodin Qt , State Prokofiev Quartet , Dmitry Shostakovich , Sviatoslav Richter Audio CD
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Composer: Dmitry Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (3 Feb 2014)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 6
  • Format: Box set
  • Label: Melodiya
  • ASIN: B000HXE5BK
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,935 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Product Description

Product Description

Shostakovich's quartets are a vast world without which it would be impossible to form a full impression of the composer's work.

Indeed, Shostakovich's quartets have no less import than his symphonies, while often surpassing the latter in psychological subtlety and wealth of emotions. While the subject of Shostakovich's symphonies is mankind his quartets represent alone Man as a main hero.

Product Description

The Borodin String Quartet

Customer Reviews

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4.9 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
51 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic performances 10 Sep 2008
I agree with the other reviewer. There are too many superlatives that one could use to review this set. The music is made to sound both ravishing and frightening. These performances are among the very best that are available on recorded format, if not THE very best, and are something of a reference work because the Borodins worked so closely with Shostakovich throughout his life, and the composer shared many exclusive insights with them. In fact, the Borodins frequently performed Shostakovich's Piano Quintet with Shostakovich himself at the piano, and there was a very famous concert that they all gave of that work in Gorky in 1964 which was the composer's last public peformance as a pianist. People in the audience cried, hugged each other and held hands as Shostakovich walked off stage. The Borodins' recordings were the first publicly available recordings of the quartets in many countries, including USSR, Germany, USA and Japan, and Shostakovich wrote to them in December 1964 after hearing recorded performances by them and said "Accept my deep gratitude for your superb performance of my quartets." That is certainly a top recommendation!! The Borodin Quartet here is the second reformation of the quartet. The second reformed quartet was established in 1972 and had 2 members from the original band - Shebalin (viola) and Berlinsky (cello). The original Quartet undertook a complete recording of the Shostakovich quartets but only got to quartet 13. All of their recordings are available in an excellent set that has been issued by Chandos, who have remastered them. It is much admired. The complete set recorded by the second reformed Quartet (all 15 quartets) is what is reissued here. These recordings date from 1978 to 1983. They have long been quite difficult to get. Read more ›
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The meaning of authentic performance 7 Jun 2009
D. Shostakovich: Complete Quartets
I first met Shostakovich's string quartets through the collection of DG with the Emerson quartet. I loved them immediately. Members of Emerson quartet are fine musicians. And they did their homework. For example in page 23 of the booklet Philip Setzer says that Harlow Robinson (a Shostakovich scholar) told him that the three terrifying chords at the opening of the fourth movement of the eighth quartet was a common signal that KGB had entered the room. So we have four qualified musicians, skilled, with emotional intelligence and with passion. But they have a disadvantage. They did not live there. Members of Borodin quartet lived there. And they have rage. How can any western musician have the experience of those people. Listening to Borodin's performance made me forget everything else.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS is THE SET you WANT! 31 July 2012
Verified Purchase
First, as an interesting note on these recordings, they keep appearing and disappearing from the catalogue, and also change labels! One of those things that makes you go "hmmmmmm" for sure!

Originally available on Melodiya Dmitri Shostakovich: Complete String Quartets (20 bit Remaster), then released on EMI Shostakovich - Complete String Quartets, and apparently afterwards on BMG (although I have not actually seen this release personally), and now, again on Melodiya!

Further, the Borodin Quartet has recorded these works "complete" twice....the first time in the years 1967-1971 and consist of only the first 13 as those were the only ones composed and published at that point in time. This first set has also jumped around some and currently can be found on Chandos Historical Shostakovich: String Quartets 1-13.

(A history of the Borodins follows, so if you should not be interested in it, skip to the review, following the asterisks below).

Originally formed in 1945 it was known as the Moscow Conservatoire Quartet, its members were: Rostislav Dubinsky and Nina Barshai on first and second violins and Rudolf Barshai on viola, and Mstislav Rostropovich on cello. After only a short time, Rostropovich withdrew from the group and was replaced with Valentin Berlinsky.

In 1946 the group first became acquainted with Shostakovich and began interpreting his works. Over the years they became close to the composer, and had first hand insight into these works through that direct association with him. They became the most revered group in the Communist era, and had the distinction of playing at both the funerals of Stalin and Prokofiev (who both passed away on the same day in 1953).
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
What can I say? If you can only buy one set of Shostakovich string quartets this, in my humble opinion, is it. Melodiya have done a nice job remastering this incredible set. Buy it before it disappears once again.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart-Stoppingly Beautiful 31 Dec 2008
Not too much too add to the above reviews except that these recordings affected me deeply!! I urge you to buy this issue while its still around "superior music making"
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