Formed in 1994 at the Royal College of Music in London, the Belcea Quartet has recorded the complete string quartets of Beethoven, Brahms, Bartók and Britten. For this new Alpha release it has chosen two works by one of the leading composers of twentieth-century chamber music, Dmitri Shostakovich. The Quartet no.3, of historic importance, was initially censured by the Soviet regime, then revised by Shostakovich for its first performance in 1946; the refined playing of the Belcea Quartet brings out all its contours. The Piano Quintet is among its composer’s most famous works and significantly contributed to his success on the international scene and with the Soviet authorities. The Belcea Quartet performs it in the company of the Polish pianist Piotr Anderszewski: the result is a musical encounter at the highest level of excellence.

Presto Classical Editor's Choice award

"It’s a potent package and was released yesterday on the Alpha label and it’s the Record Review Disc of the Week."
BBC Radio 3
"There have been numerous fine recordings and now another one joins those ranks of excellence – it comes from the Belcea Quartet with Piotr Anderszewski at the piano, a meeting of musical minds that produces a performance of intensity yet also languor and poetry."
Gramophone
"The Belceas summon a big, baleful, quasi-orchestral sound for the early stretches of the Piano Quintet, followed by playing of immense delicacy in the bleak second-movement fugue; the scherzo crackles with electricity thanks to percussive pizzicati and rasping martellato, and Anderszewski matches them with sonorities that could almost emanate from a prepared piano"
Presto Classical
"The Belcea Quartet’s first Shostakovich release offers much food for thought. Their insightful performance of the Third Quartet fully encapsulates the work’s war-scarred anguish…Anderszewski works miracles with Shostakovich’s often spare two-part piano writing, bringing out a greater wealth of colours than is normally the case."
BBC Music Magazine
"A controlled approach to vibrato complements rhythmic tautness even when the players lay it on thick in the scherzo movements, which also gain strength from an evident appreciation of their origins in Mahler’s favoured, stamping Ländlers. Bigger, rougher, more apparently authentically ‘Russian’ accounts are not hard to find, but for a Shostakovich of our time, set in the context of his forebears, the Belcea players are without equal."
The Strad
"That work’s edgy mood surfaces in the noisy, jazzy outburst in the quintet’s third movement. In a fine performance, Anderszewski and the Belceas give full expression to the work’s melancholy and lyricism."
The Observer
"I’d be very happy if someone were also to throw in this Belcea recording, especially for the Piano Quintet coupling. It’s well worth considering."
MusicWeb International
"For me, this is the most interesting account of both the quintet and quartet in years—highly recommended."
Fanfare, 6 August 2018