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String Quartet 8


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Audio CD, November 9, 1999
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“Technically speaking the Emerson String Quartet are unimpeachable, with meticulous internal balance and intonation sustained at all times, remarkable tonal matching between the instruments and precision phrasing and dynamics. There is a beguiling transparency about their sound-world that allows every voice to register with the ... Read more in Amazon's Emerson String Quartet Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 9, 1999)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B00002S5EU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #436,925 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. String Quartet No. 8 In C Minor: Largo
2. String Quartet No. 8 In C Minor: Allegro molto
3. String Quartet No. 8 In C Minor: Allegretto
4. String Quartet No. 8 In C Minor: Largo
5. String Quartet No. 8 In C Minor: Largo

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

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Genre: Classical Music
Media Format: Compact Disk
Rating:
Release Date: 9-NOV-1999

Amazon.com

Of Shostakovich's 15 string quartets, the eighth is probably best known and most frequently performed. It seems to express Shostakovich's innermost thoughts and feelings in the most personal though still carefully encoded way, giving the music a tremendous emotional impact. Shostakovich dedicated it to "the victims of fascism and war," clearly implying that he was including himself by building the work's main theme on the notes representing the letters of his initials (in the German spelling), and by quoting widely from his earlier works. The quartet encapsulates all the characteristics of his style: the biting irony, the desperate humor, the obsessive repetition, the bleakness, agony, and despair. The playing is beyond praise, technically flawless, tonally beautiful, varied and nuanced, texturally transparent and homogeneous. The players obviously have a strong affinity for the music; they skirt its emotional edge without succumbing to its excesses. Their expressiveness is deeply felt but always balanced and unsentimental. Recorded live, the playing has all the immediacy and excitement of a concert performance. --Edith Eisler

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 2, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Potential buyers: [price] often signals an inferior recording by less than stellar musicians. That's NOT the case here. This is a superb recording by cats who can play. I suspect the low price reflects the 19:34 playing time and the disc's function as a marketing piece for the ESQ's five CD set of the complete Shostakovih String Quartet cycle.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By scarecrow VINE VOICE on June 1, 2000
Format: Audio CD
My first introduction to Shostakovich Quartets was the Borodin Quartet,who bring the overwhelming power that these quartets certainly can imply.They do that with an aggressive approach to gesture where you can almost visualize the rosen dust hovering above the proceedings, where the impassioned tones as in the Allegro molto here almost bend out of tune. You sense this with Emerson however these gents are ever so sensitive and gentle coaxing the ethereal spiritual qualities from this quartet a reading seldom encountered. This lightness is forever present in the first violin, well the upper heavenly regions who has a difficult time, like a lone voice from a devasted village, weeping against his more brooding dark brethren.At first I thought this light sensibility distracted me from the focus of this work, But no. The subject of the Quartet is devoted to the victims of fascism and war, the Second World War, actually a frequent subject in of this composer. Shostakovich himself is no stranger to political struggle nor inexperience with the atrocities of this century, having experienced it first hand, having friends disappear around him, humiliated himself with the mindlessness of the cultural apparatchiks in Stalin's bureacracy.The disappeared is something we have come to associate with the in Central and South America in our times. but the voice of Shostakovich's profoundly extends to the present.If this Quartet has any content it is because it extends itself into the modern,for these atrocities haven't abated.If it ends, forecloses its content for the unknown millions of the Forties, of fascism and that war the Quartet has a museum quality, a content for passive reflection in the safe confines of our homes.I cannot except that view.Read more ›
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 26, 2000
Format: Audio CD
I'm familiar with shostakovich' symphonies, but I had never heard his string quartet music. I bought this cd tonight, and it's been in the player since I came home! What passion! what technique! bravo Emerson String Quartet!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By dsan on May 11, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I remember the first time I ever saw this piece performed. I was still in High School, and the Miró Quartet was in town. I went with my parents, saw them perform this piece, and was forever changed. That Christmas, I received this recording as a gift.

This is not a piece of music that sits in the background. This that demands active listening. I won't go over the story behind the composition here, not because it's fairly well known (which it is), but because it's clear just from listening what's going on. Every note is perfect, and Shostakovich never falls into the trap of letting the form of the composition dictate the content. Frankly, it's hard for me to listen to this without crying - it's that good.

It might just be nostalgia, but this recording is not as good as the Miró Quartet's performance - but that's not really saying much. They are both skilled groups and the emotional impact is still there. This is a Deutsche Grammophone recording, so the sounds quality is up to their usual exacting standards.

I have yet to encounter a more moving composition. My spouse refuses to listen past the first movement because of how emotionally overwhelming it is.

This is what music is supposed to be.
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