Amsterdam Sinfonietta

Shostakovich: String Quartets 2 & 4

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There are plenty of great recordings of Shostakovich's Second and Fourth string quartets played by actual string quartets -- the Borodin, Beethoven, Tanayev, and Shostakovich quartets have made magnificent recordings of the works -- so where is the need for a recording arranged for string chamber orchestra? The answer becomes self-evident in this exciting recording. In arrangements by bass player Marijn van Prooijen, the Second and Fourth quartets turn out to be quite adaptable to the enlarged medium. Though one may miss the razor-sharp sonorities of the original, the weight and power of the transcriptions are persuasive. The Amsterdam Sinfonietta's performance is intense: the group is clearly enjoying every bow stroke. And if the intonation sometimes slips in more extreme passages, it more than compensates by the fervor of its attacks. Channel Classics sound is warm but a bit diffuse.

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