Borodin Quartet

Borodin: String Quartet No. 1; Stravinsky: Concertino; Myaskovsky: String Quartet No. 13

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The new membership of the Borodin Quartet may or may not be deemed as good as the older incarnations of the same group, but each is a distinctly different group with a unique approach. The older incarnations featured sumptuous textures, voluptuous phrasing, and warmly expressive interpretations, while the newest features lean textures, clean phrasing, and expressive but not nearly as open-hearted interpretations. Yet this 2010 disc of works by Borodin, Stravinsky, and Myaskovsky is indisputably superlative. The new group's take on Borodin's ultra-Romantic First Quartet is tighter and more muscular than the older group's, but no less lovely and no less moving. Better yet is the hard-edged yet thoroughly enthralling account of Stravinsky's archly modernist Concertino, but best of all is the reading of Myaskovsky's deeply affecting Thirteenth String Quartet. From start to finish, the musicians are under the skin of the music, and their keen enthusiasm makes the strongest possible case for this little known work. Captured in amazingly present digital sound, this disc deserves to be heard by anyone who enjoys great chamber music playing.

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