Shostakovich Quartet

Borodin: String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2

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Call it truth in advertising: in this recording of Borodin's two string quartets played by the Shostakovich Quartet, Borodin's quartets sound oddly like they are being played by a group named the Borodin Quartet. That's odd because, Borodin being Borodin, his quartets were sweet-tempered, muscular, and nostalgic -- and when they're played by the Borodin Quartet, they do in fact sound that way. But not here: while the Shostakovich Quartet is a superb group with a focused ensemble and a strong sense of rhythm, the tone is tight but not warm, the intonation acerbic not lush, and the interpretations hard and driven rather than playful and sensual. For listeners who find Borodin too sentimental, this sterner approach may work. For those who find Borodin's blend of the epic, the heroic and the lyrical to be irresistibly attractive, however, it might be better to stick with the Borodin Quartet's account. Recorded in stereo and not noticeably remastered, the sound of this Regis issue is deep and honest, but rough around the edges.

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