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  • Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos. 1, 2 & 4
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Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos. 1, 2 & 4

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Audio CD, December 5, 1995
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Product Details

  • Performer: St. Petersburg String Quartet
  • Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
  • Audio CD (December 5, 1995)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B00000DSM3
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #618,918 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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The same producer, Gerhard Tses(s), made these recordings for SONY before making the complete cycle on Hyperion a few years later. Assuming that all the Hyperion discs have the same reverberant sound, the recordings for SONY stand in stark relief, and I think should be considered instead of the Hyperion for 1-7 (except 6).

These are raw, unfiltered performances, without any scrubbing, and there are delicious thrusts and grinds from the cello. This part of the equation is about the same as it is in the Hyperion cycle. The sound, however, is tight, and in the best traditions of the house for SONY. It IS tight, though, so, the opening thrusts of the "Overture" to No.2 have no real orchestral space to bloom in to, (just recall my favorite Borodin/EMI).

Within the confines of this tight little beautiful space, the St.Ps deliver bracingly fresh and vibrant performances that seem to emulate the best Russian traditions, seemingly giving us "classic" performances simply in updated sound. If you are looking for anything but sizzling and alive and digging performances, you will have to go West!

No.2's "Recitative" could perhaps be milked more, and I like a slightly broader "Overture", but these are just quibbles in the face of such a high profile performance overall. No.4 is ever fresh here, very brisk and clear and clean, hitting a nice tilt at the end.

I overlooked this CD for 20 years, and there are no reviews, so I just took a chance. I'm convinced you'll enjoy these performances much more than the Hyperion, and as a matter of fact, they're quite unique amongst all the modern versions. I do particularly like the unedited rawness that is produced.
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