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Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos. 1 - 13 [Box set]

Dmitri Shostakovich , Borodin Quartet Audio CD
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: Borodin Quartet
  • Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (May 20, 2003)
  • SPARS Code: ADD
  • Number of Discs: 4
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Chandos
  • ASIN: B00008WQB4
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,550 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Disc: 1
1. I Moderato
2. II Moderato
3. III Allegro Molto
4. IV Allegro
5. I Allegretto
See all 11 tracks on this disc
Disc: 2
1. I Allegretto
2. II Andantino
3. III Allegretto
4. IV Allegretto
5. I Allegretto Non Troppo
See all 11 tracks on this disc
Disc: 3
1. I Allegretto
2. II Lento
3. III Allegro-Allegretto
4. I Largo
5. II Allegro Molto
See all 20 tracks on this disc
Disc: 4
1. I Overture. Moderato Con Moto
2. II Recitative And Romance. Adagio
3. III Waltz. Allegro
4. IV Theme With Variations. Adagio
5. I Adante
See all 9 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews


Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
(9)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
66 of 67 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very nice partial cycle December 24, 2003
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
Since there seems to be some confusion as to what these recordings are, let's make a few things clear. This is the Borodin's first stereo go-round of the quartets, recorded for Melodiya in the late 60s and early 70s. It is not the same as the well-known EMI box set which was recorded in the 80s and keeps bouncing in and out of circulation. These performances have never been available on CD before.
Of course the last two quartets didn't exist at the time of these recordings, but they were set down by the slightly reconfigured Borodins soon thereafter and it is too bad those documents have been orphaned as they would have made the most logical compliment to this not quite complete set.
As to the performances themselves, they are classic, comparable to the later EMI versions but heard in a warmer acoustic, which has the effect of making the music seem a little less edgy, too.
One hopes that some of the other masterful cycles of this music by groups such as the Beethoven, Tanayev and Shostakovich Quartets will return to the catalog. The Borodins are great, but not the last or only word on the subject.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A little less of a good thing October 26, 2003
Format:Audio CD
The Borodin Quartet made their first Shostakovich cycle for Melodiya in 1967-71. Soon after the 14th and 15th quartets were written in 1973 and 74, they were recorded, too, but never integrated into any of the incarnations of this set, last seen in the US on Angel's budget Melodiya/Seraphim label. It is a shame they could not have been included here.

The performances are comparable to the 1980s Melodiya traversal now available on EMI, which is to say they are pretty great though perhaps a shade less intense, an impression abetted by the sound, which is warmer and more spacious than in the later set. But, of course, that one gives you all 15 Quartets and the Piano Quintet with Richter.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars From Fanfare Magazine (US) Sept/Oct 2003 Art Lange June 10, 2013
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
"Be careful, they say, what you wish for--you might get it. Well, this is an occasion when I am most grateful I asked. Back in Fanfare 25:5, reviewing a disc of Shostakovich string quartets by the Sorrel Quartet, I mentioned that to my knowledge the incomplete cycle of quartets recorded by the original Borodin Quartet (1953-74) had not been released on CD. (Issued in Russia on Melodiya LPs, quartets 1-11 were available for years here in two budget-priced Seraphim boxes, which is how I came to first, hear, own, and appreciate this music.) Now, only a year later, here it is, with the valuable addition of numbers 12 and 13. Violinists Rostislav Dubinsky and Yaroslav Alexandrov left the group before they could record Shostakovich's then-recent, final two quartets; however, the "new" Borodin Quartet, with violinists Mikhail Kopelman and Andrei Abramenkov, did record all 15 quartets (available on EMI) as well as several individual subsequent remakes. The sound of these "historical" (as Chandos designates them) recordings is primarily fine, with some ever-so-slight constriction at a very few climaxes, and just a trace of analog tape background hiss here and there--but nothing to get in the way of the listening experience. And I'm pleased to report that these performances are even better than I remember from my distant, hazy vinyl past--in fact they are among the very best currently available.

The major differences between the old and new Borodin accounts have to do with temperament and tonal qualities. There's plenty of characteristically Russian expressiveness in the earlier versions, with more vibrato than that used by non-Russian ensembles like the Fitzwilliam and Emerson, and recognizably "vocal" phrasing given to much of the folk-inspired (or quoted) melodic writing.
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28 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 5 stars for what is there. March 7, 2004
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is an excellent transfer of the recordings I remember from the Seraphim set of the 70's -- and more inclusive, since I believe that set stopped at #11.
As suggested in another post, I augmented this set with the Glinka and Beethoven Quartets recordings of #s 14 & 15 on the Praga label -- equally impressive performances; a fine recording.
It is hard to choose between this earlier set, and the later set, which includes all the quartets, plus the Quintet with Richter (and a really lumbering account of the scherzo; it could almost be a 'lost' fragment by Bruckner). Frankly, at this level of musicianship and personal identification with the composer, it might be a matter of shelf space! The BMG box is pretty hefty,
enclosing perhaps seven separate jewel cases. This chandos set, plus the Praga of the last two quartets, and a recording of the quintet take up the space of @ 4 1/2 jewel cases.
Unfortunately, living in a Manhattan appartment does make one think twice about shelf space. But this is a trivial matter; the performance and recording are what really count. All the more reason to appreciate this current, compact issue of excellent recordings.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This indispensable set of the (almost) complete Shostakovich string quartets would automatically go into every serious collection except that this part of the composer's output has attracted rivals that could reasonably be called indispensable. The Borodins (then named the Moscow Philharmonic Qt.) met Shostakovich in 1946, eight years after he took up the quartet form. By then, however, he had closely associated himself with the prestigious Beethoven Quartet, and they premiered all of his quartets until his death. they also made recordings, but these are in inadequate Soviet-era mono. By the time the Borodins went into Melodiya's studios, they had the benefit of surprisingly good stereo.

Their classic cycle from 1967-71, minus the 14th and 15th Quartets, which were composed in 1973 and 1974, has been successfully remastered by chandos - so far as i know, this particular issue, which dates to 2003, is the latest version. It captures Russian musicianship at its most penetrating. By comparison, even the very skilled, idiomatic Shostakovich Qt. (once on Olympia but now reissued on the bargain Regis label) sounds a touch unadventurous. There is really no way to tell that these silent, full-range recordings are decades old. The personnel of the Borodins changed dramatically when the charismatic first violinist, Rotislav Dubinsky, defected to the West in 1974, leaving behind a trial of bitter recriminations and counter-recriminations.

The ensemble regrouped after a two-year hiatus, largely due to the indefatigable cellist Valentin Berlinsky, who was cast into the shadows by Dubinsky as a Communist Part member but who must be acknowledged for remaining with the quartet for an astonishing 62 years (1945-2007).
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