Shostakovich: Adagio (Elegy)
This page lists all recordings of Adagio (Elegy), by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-75) on CD.
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Shostakovich - The String Quartets
“The Emersons have played Shostakovich all over the world, and this long- pondered intégrale sets the seal on a process that has brought the quartets to the very centre of the repertoire – the ensemble's and ours. While some listeners will miss the intangible element of emotional specificity and sheer Russianness that once lurked behind the notes, the playing is undeniably committed in its coolness, exposing nerve endings with cruel clarity.
The hard, diamond-like timbre of the two violins (the leader's role is shared democratically) is far removed from the breadth of tone one might associate with a David Oistrakh, just as cellist David Finckel is no Rostropovich. But these recordings reveal surprising new facets of a body of work that isn't going to stand still. The Fourth Quartet is a case in point, more delicate than most rivals with the finale relatively pressed, less insistently Jewish. The Fifth sometimes seems closer to Ustvolskaya or American minimalism than the mid-century Soviet symphonic utterance we're used to; the Emerson's almost hectoring mode of address and unfluctuating tempo are maintained for as long as (in)humanly possible. The very vehemence of, say, the finale of the Ninth tends to blunt the harmonic sense of the music, leaving something more visceral and rosiny than the argument can stand. To get the unique feel of this set, sample one of the encore pieces, the 'Polka' from TheAge of Gold. Little humanity and wit, but can you resist the explosive brilliance of the technique? DG's recording is exceptionally vivid if somewhat airless, the separation of the instruments being achieved at the expense of tonal blend.
Given that all the quartets were taped live with only remedial patching, the audience is commendably silent: their enthusiastic applause is retained for Nos 1, 2, 9 and 12 only. This is a Shostakovich cycle for the 21st century.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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