• Dmitri Shostakovich

    Last Three String Quartets; 50th Anniversary Recording

    Fitzwilliam String Quartet

    Last Three String Quartets; 50th Anniversary Recording 2 cd CKD612
    Linn Records

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The Fitzwilliam String Quartet celebrates a remarkable milestone with this special fiftieth anniversary recording of Shostakovich’s last three string quartets. Fittingly, this landmark recording will look back to the music which first propelled the Fitzwilliam to international prominence. Shostakovich entrusted the Fitzwilliam with the western premieres of his last three quartets (Nos.13, 14, 15), and before long they had become the first ever group to perform and record all fifteen, winning many international awards along the way. The highly innovative String Quartet No.13 is notable for its unique single-movement form and the virtuosic viola writing, which shines a spotlight on founding member Alan George. No.14, despite its twelve-tone structure, is perhaps the most accessible of Shostakovich’s late quartets with a wealth of identifiable melodies. The six movements of No.15 are profoundly melancholic and intimate, with the composer’s obsession with death a clear influence. The Fitzwilliam’s pre-eminence in the interpretation of these works has persisted: Benjamin Britten reported after Shostakovich’s death in 1975 that the composer had told him the Fitzwilliam were his ‘preferred performers of my quartets’.

"...their latest thoughts on these late masterpieces are unmissable, showing an even greater depth and responsiveness, every phrase and note, every percussive stroke, carefully weighted, every tempo inflection and nuance of phrasing brilliantly judged."
Europadisc, 25 October 2019
"Recommended: A fitting 50th anniversary recording of late Shostakovich... A gift all round."
The Strad, February 2020
"Performance 4* / Recording 5* - ... thanks to the dynamic and tonal range of Linn’s engineering, pianissimo has a cusp-of-silence significance."
BBC Music Magazine, January 2020
"...the performances here are outstanding, with every phrase, every note, every dynamic and every gesture reflecting the depth of understanding the players have of these remarkable works."
The Whole Note, 1 February 2020
"This is a very fine set of the last quartets, unyielding in its commitment to this amazing music."
MusicWeb International, 13 January 2020
"...these transparent, refined and frequently brilliant performances are thoroughly up to date."
Gramophone, January 2020
"Sound Quality 95%: "
Hi-Fi News
"Sound Quality 95%: ...outstanding sound quality ... and the interpretations are surely definitive."
Hi-Fi News