There are good things and bad things about the Rubio Quartet's 1998 disc of Shostakovich's Seventh, Ninth, and Twelfth string quartets -- nothing so bad as to make the disc unlistenable, but nothing so good as to make it worth seeking out, either. The intensity in the Seventh's closing Allegro, the Ninth's central Allegretto, and the Twelfth's closing Allegretto is commendable. But the lack of intensity in the Seventh's opening Allegretto, Ninth's closing Allegro, and the Twelfth's opening Moderato is regrettable. The intimate tone in the Seventh's central Lento and the Ninth's twin Adagios is appropriate. But the restraint in the face of the Seventh's harrowing morbidity, the Ninth's extravagant emotionality, and the Twelfth's maniacal energy is unacceptable. While the Rubio's technique is satisfactory and the ensemble is adequate, the interpretations are too reserved to recommend. For great Russian performances, try the Beethoven, the Borodin, or the Taneyev quartets' recordings. For great non-Russian performances, try the Fitzwilliam or the Éder quartets' recordings. Globe's clean, crisp digital sound, however, is absolutely recommendable.
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AllMusic Review by James Leonard
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