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The Soviet Experience is the first Shostakovich quartet cycle to include works by other important composers of the Soviet era, adding variety and perspective to the listening experience.
This superbly performed series of audiophile recordings, produced and engineered by multiple Grammy Award winner Judith Sherman, will appeal to everyone interested in great Russian music of the 20th century.
Volume 1 received universal praise on both sides of the Atlantic and was included on the best classical albums of 2011 lists of The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The New Yorker, San Jose Mercury News, Newark Star-Ledger, and St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Dmitry Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 1 in C major, Op. 49
III. Allegro molto
Dmitry Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 2 in A major, Op. 68
I. Overture: Moderato con moto
II. Recitative and Romance: Adagio
III. Waltz: Allegro
IV. Theme with Variations: Adagio
Dmitry Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 4 in D major, Op. 83
Dmitry Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 3 in F major, Op. 73
II. Moderato con moto
III. Allegro non troppo
Sergey Prokofiev: String Quartet No. 2 in F major, Op. 92
I. Allegro sostenuto
“The expected rhetoric and terror of Shostakovich's Soviet armour are here carefully measured with universal frameworks of great sonic beauty, whether fragile or strong: Beethoven, thank goodness, looms larger than Stalin...[in Prokofiev's String Quartet No. 2] the Pacifica Quartet's sophisticated teamwork is stretched to the limits, but it works beautifully.”
12th May 2012
“It adds up to another powerful listening experience.”
“Their playing is always clean and well focused - tonally, technically and interpretatively. But it works best, I feel, when the musical character itself is clear-cut...if you are looking for excellent modern recording and clean playing, plus the bonus of extra revelant repertoire, or if you are allergic to overstatement in Shostakovich, then there is certainly much to enjoy...But if a distinctive interpretative angle is your priority, I would advise looking elsewhere”
“The playing is excellent throughout, with no sense of strain and perfect tuning between the various members of the quartet. They can well withstand the close balance of the recorded sound to which they are subjected...Certainly there is much to admire in these excellent, civilised and deeply considered performances.”
29th April 2012
“These Shostakovich quartets present vast musical and psychological challenges...[the Prokofiev's] originality is telling: the sinewy, heterophonic workings of folk material in its second movement here sound like music from much later.”
The Independent on Sunday
15th April 2012
“the maturity of an experienced composer is clear, his music dynamically and compellingly realised here.”
10th May 2012
“exceptional both in the musicians’ maturity and breadth of expression and in the sheer humanity and emotional force of the playing...Everything about these performances points to an ensemble with an acute understanding of the music’s implications and with a capacity to communicate it freshly by means of a broad, astutely applied spectrum of timbre and a compelling blend of immediacy and intimacy.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.