Mandelring Quartet

Shostakovich: Complete String Quartets, Vol. 3

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Hard-cornered, sharp-edged, and superbly played, the Mandelring Quartett's series of performances of Shostakovich's string quartets recorded for the Audite label are splendid examples of the modernist-internationalist manner. In this third volume featuring the Fifth, Seventh, and Ninth quartets, the Mandelring delivers clear, direct performance of the fast movements and dry-eyed performances of the slow movements. The Allegro non troppo that starts the Fifth is clean and rhythmically driven, while the Allegro fugue that starts the closing movement of the Seventh is air-tight and crisply articulated. Listeners used to the more soulful Borodin and Shostakovich quartets' recordings of these works may miss the emotional ambiguity of the Ninth's opening Moderato con moto and the lyrical tenderness of the Seventh's consoling coda. But listeners who already know these standard-repertoire works and are looking for challenging new recordings of them could do much worse than to try the Mandelring's discs, particularly in Audite's "you are there" super audio sound.

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