ClassicsOnline Home » SHOSTAKOVICH / SCHNITTKE: Piano Quintets > Review List


Composer(s):Schnittke, AlfredShostakovich, Dmitry
Artist(s) Vermeer Quartet, Ensemble • Berman, Boris, piano
Period(s) 20th Century
Genre Classical Music
Category Chamber Music
Catalogue 8.554830
Label Naxos
Quality   320kbps


Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

Like the Shostakovich Piano Quintet, with which it is aptly coupled, the Schnittke Piano Quintet of 1972–5 is one of the composer’s most poignant and haunting works. Dedicated to the memory of his mother, and darkly elegiac, it was finished in the year of Shostakovich’s death. Its mood of gloom, unrelieved except for a painfully plaintive waltz in the second of the five movements, inspires Berman and the Vermeers to a performance as powerfully concentrated as that of the Shostakovich; if the CBC studios in Toronto do not always flatter their tone, this is a real bargain.

Review By Penguin Guide,January 2009

It is luxury casting to have on the Naxos budget label the Vermer Quartet, one of the finest in America, in partnership with another star artist, Boris Berman. This is a dedicated performance, recorded for Canadian radio, which with fearlessly extreme dynamic contrasts brings out the full greatness of the piece. The Schnittke Piano Quintet of 1972-5 makes an apt and unusual coupling, similarly one of the composer’s finest chamber works. The CBC studio recording is acceptable, and if the sound  is somewhat wanting in warmth and bloom this is still a formidable bargain.


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