Ilia Ioff / Lidiya Kovalenko / Alexey Massarsky / Elena Raskova

Boris Tchaikovsky: Complete String Quartets

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

With a name as widely recognized in music like Tchaikovsky, it's easy to assume that Boris Tchaikovsky would have some relationship to the more famous Pytor Tchaikovsky. The two, however, have neither bloodline nor compositional technique in common. Boris was a student of Shostakovich until the latter's expulsion from the Moscow Conservatory, and ended up completing his studies with Myaskovsky. B. Tchaikovsky's Six String Quartets, which were composed between 1954 and 1976, bare only a hint as to his educational lineage. Rather, Boris displays a very individualized use of tonality and key areas. Many of his works display the same sense of starkness heard in many of Shostakovich's quartets, but his treatment of the instruments is all his own. Are these six pieces undiscovered jewels of the quartet literature? Perhaps not. But they are still deserving of exploration and performance. This Northern Flowers album represents the first complete recording of Boris's quartets and features violinist Ilya Ioff and Elena Raskova, violist Lydia Kovalenko, and cellist Alexey Massarsky. The two decades between the First and Sixth quartets represent a considerable amount of change and development; Ioff and associates do a nice job delineating these changes to listeners in a straightforward, clean-cut manner. Their playing favors technical accuracy over emotive qualities, but given the complexity of some of Tchaikovsky's writings, this is not an altogether unwelcome feature. Listeners interested in exploring unheard chamber music will likely enjoy this worthwhile contribution.

blue highlight denotes track pick