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Pražák Quartet: Shostakovich – String Quartets no.7 & 8, Piano Quintet (24/96 FLAC)

Pražák Quartet: Shostakovich - String Quartets no.7 & 8, Piano Quintet (24/96 FLAC)

Pražák Quartet: Shostakovich – String Quartets no.7 & 8, Piano Quintet (24/96 FLAC)

Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich
Performer: Pražák Quartet
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Praga Digitals
Release: 2010
Size: 1.21 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110
01. I. Largo
02. II. Allegro molto – attaca
03. III. Allegretto – attaca
04. IV. Largo – attaca
05. V. Largo (attaca)

String Quartet No. 7 in F-Sharp Minor, Op. 108
06. I. Allegretto – attaca
07. II. Lento – attaca
08. III. Allegro – attaca
09. IV. Allegretto

Piano Quintet In G Minor, Op. 57
10. I. Prelude. Lento
11. II. Fugue. Adagio
12. III. Scherzo. Allegretto
13. IV. Intermezzo. Lento
14. V. Finale. Allegretto

The back cover of this Czech release promises “certainly the most intense chamber programme that might be dedicated to the joint memory of Sviatoslav Richter and Dmitry Shostakovich,” and the performances live up to the billing. The first half of the program is given over to a pair of string quartets from the year 1960, around the point where Shostakovich’s inward turn following his denunciation by Soviet cultural commissars merged with his reflections on the violence of modern war to create a uniquely modern tragic dialogue. The String Quartet No. 8 in C minor, Op. 110, often heard in a string orchestra arrangement but more powerful in the original, was composed after Shostakovich visited Dresden and saw its total annihilation, little changed by that time (the rebuilding of the city did not begin until some years later). Whether the work was dedicated to the victims of fascism, as the composer said, or to those of the Soviet state, as has later been suggested, is in a sense irrelevant; the work develops Jewish melodies and the Dies irae into a fever pitch of despair unleavened by any hint of sentimentality. The shorter String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp minor, Op. 108, is made from the same material, somber but tense. The sizable Piano Quintet in G minor, Op. 57, that rounds out the program dates from before the war and takes another of Shostakovich’s inspirations, the late chamber music of Beethoven, as its model. It ends a very dark program with gravity and calm. The Czech Prazák Quartet and Russian pianist Evgeni Koroliov never flag, either technically or emotionally, in a work of the most difficult tragic content, and together they deliver a first-rate recording of Shostakovich’s chamber music. Excellent booklet notes are given in English, French, and German.

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