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Shostakovich : String Quartets Nos 1 - 15 [Complete]
 
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Shostakovich : String Quartets Nos 1 - 15 [Complete]

29 May 2006 | Format: MP3

14.49 (VAT included if applicable)
Buy the CD album for 22.94 and get the MP3 version for FREE. Does not apply to gift orders.
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Product details

  • Original Release Date: 1 Jan 1990
  • Release Date: 1 Jan 1990
  • Label: Warner Classics International
  • Copyright: 2003 Warner Classics, Warner Music UK
  • Record Company Required Metadata: Music file metadata contains unique purchase identifier. Learn more.
  • Total Length: 6:13:31
  • Genres:
  • ASIN: B001LH69JM
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 36,799 in MP3 Albums (See Top 100 in MP3 Albums)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By John Ferngrove TOP 500 REVIEWER on 27 Jan 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I've always had a certain ambivalence towards the Brodskys. Any ensemble that finds it fitting to credit their tailor as a fifth member has got to be deep in the camp of style over substance. On the other hand there is no doubt that with certain modern repertoire they can totally deliver the goods, as their jaw dropping recording of the astonishing Witold Lutoslawki String Quartet will amply attest. I purchased this set of the Shostakovich quartets to maybe get another angle on these sad and beautiful works than that provided by my much beloved Fitzwilliam set, Shostakovich: The String Quartets. This was part of preparation for an essay on old Dmitry's quartets I had to write for an Open University course. And anyway, they were going cheap, so what was there to lose. But for exigencies of shelf space alone perhaps I should not have bothered. There's no denying that the Brodskys make an impressive job of the energetic and assertive parts of these works. But when it comes to the more introspective parts, which is of course their very essence, their playing is cold, mechanical, and betrays a lack of empathy that is almost chilling. What's more to say? The Fitzwilliam's are the set you need, and these are no substitute.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
For me, this is a brilliant and moving performance, and shows how completely the Brodskys understand Shostakovich, whose music is, arguably, right at the top of the quartet repertoire. This is for all music lovers, whether or not you enjoy chamber music - if you're new to Shostakovich, try nos. 7 and 8 first, and I guarantee you'll love it!

This is the original Brodsky Quartet line-up, and the 1st violinist has been replaced by Daniel Rowland, but having heard them perform all 15 quartets in one weekend, I'm very much hoping that they'll record them all again.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful By kiwizzarrd on 13 July 2009
Format: Audio CD
These performances were recorded at Teldec Studio Berlin & whilst I have no grumbles about the playing itself (which is excellent), I find the dryness & lack of bloom around the string sound makes it very hard for me to want to come back to these recordings.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 2 reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Top-shelf interpretations 18 Feb 2008
By PH-50-NC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
The Brodsky Quartet recorded this set shortly after performing the complete cycle in a series of London concerts around 1989, and their familiarity with (and passion for) the music show.

Of the complete quartets CD sets I'm familiar with (2nd Borodin set, Fitzwilliam, Emerson, and this set), the Brodsky performances are probably closest in interpretation to the Fitzwilliam. That is to say, they don't shy away from the drama of the music or speed through it, and they are technically accomplished, turning in tight and nimble performances.

The Brodsky Quartet is the most rhythmically exciting of the ensembles I've heard play this music. The staccatos here are the liveliest, and where Shostakovich uses rhythms borrowed from popular music styles, the Brodsky's handle these rhythms with panache. Their other great strengths are 1.) their handling of the operatic moments (such as the second movement of the second quartet, "Recitative And Romance: Adagio"), and 2.) their overall sense of dynamics. Shostakovich is nothing if not varied in this music, which can go from lullaby-sweet melodies to intense polyphonic and polyrhymic angst-ridden climaxes in a matter of a few measures. This last point is a matter of taste, of course. Listeners who prefer the Emerson set seem to value the more consistent approach taken by that ensemble. The 8th quartet, one of the peaks of this cycle, is very strong here, as it's dark drama showcases the Broksky's strengths.

Sonically, the balances are as good as the Fitzwilliam set, though the Fitzwilliam Quartet's tone is unmatched in richness from top to bottom (at times sounding like a minature symphony orchestra). The Brodsky Quartet has a slightly thinner sound than the Fitzwilliam, a sound very comparable to that of the Borodin in their second recording of this music. But this is not to say that the sound here gets in the way of the enjoyment, and in truth it's as good or better than the rest of the competition.

If I could have only one set, I'd probably choose this set, though I'd miss the Fitzwilliam performances, some of which surpass individual quartets here. This music is so wide-ranging that the situation is a little like the role of Violetta in Verdi's La Traviata--no one artist can do everything perfectly and turn in a truly definitive performance. The Emerson Quartet, for example, can do the neo-classical moments in the music like no one else, and a couple of their individual quartet performances have won me over (though their set overall is my least favorite).

Nice that WEA finally issued this as a mid-price set so that more people might sample it.
The Brodsky Quartet’s good Shostakovich traversal 25 Aug 2014
By jt52 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
This is a solidly-played complete set of Dmitri Shostakovich’s 15 quartets from the Brodsky Quartet, a UK ensemble that recorded for Teldec over a number of years. The Shostakovich quartets I have been pleased to discover have elicited a number of outstanding releases, a field which I’d describe as exceptionally strong. Examples include the older Borodin Quartet cycle, which remains very good, as well as an excellent 2-CD set this long-time group did for Virgin circa 1990. The recordings from the St. Petersburg Quartet (quartets 5,7,9) and another younger UK ensemble, the Sorrel Quartet (quartets 6, 7, 10), are also exceptional examples of modern chamber music playing. I found that these abovementioned recordings outdo what is generally a good but not outstanding set from the Emerson Quartet, probably the best known cycle. I haven’t heard the Fitzwilliam Quartet’s cycle but, based on my experience with them in other repertory, can’t imagine they could keep up with these other recordings.

So where does this leave the Brodsky version? It’s a bit less successful than the Emerson set but still a good and successful set of performances. The Brodsky is before all else technically excellent and they create some nice interpretational touches. I particularly enjoyed their vibrant, cohesive account of the 6th quartet (1956). The ensemble takes the whole quartet exceptionally fast, which allows them to fashion an incredibly tight opening Allegretto into a thrilling performance. The awesome scherzo is also pulled together by the rapid tempo. The section towards the end of the Allegretto where the main theme is presented pizzicato by the cello while accompanied by other strings is spellbinding. All in all, a powerful and original interpretation.

I also liked their work in the later quartets, written in Shostakovich’s last decade, when he was experimenting with atonality and twelve-tone writing. Their playing of the 12th quartet (1968) for example is successful, well-done and evocative. I also enjoyed the 1st quartet (1938), an interpretation which held up as sensitive and well conceived as I compared it to other performances.

But the Brodsky Quartet has a tendency to slip into perfectly-executed and streamlined playing that shears Shostakovich of some of his emotional intensity and glosses over the opportunities for timbral effects so well exploited by the Sorrel and St. Petersburg Quartet releases. It’s a tendency I also heard in the Brodsky’s good but not exceptional Teldec release of the Borodin and Tchaikovsky 2nd quartets, by the way. This is heard in their version of the long 15th quartet, which is sensitively done but can be infused with more intensity and, in a piece that forms a sort of farewell, sadness.

The Brodsky Shostakovich cycle was apparently the first done in digital sound and you can tell that the technology had not yet been mastered, even by Teldec, a label with a well-deserved reputation for excellent engineering. This disc sounds good in the lower registers but is a bit harsh in the upper. This is a worthwhile if not perfect effort from the Brodsky. 4 stars.
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