Polish & Russian String Quartets
Shostakovich’s 15 string quartets have taken their rightful place as a major part of 20th century chamber music repertoire. Often said to illustrate his very personal responses to the political difficulties of his time, more importantly they reflect the different stages of Shostakovich’s development as a Soviet composer who would achieve world-wide renown.
Prokofiev wrote about his first string quartet: "Before starting work on the String Quartet No 1 in B minor, Opus 50, I studied Beethoven's quartets. Perhaps this explains the somewhat 'classical' idiom of the first movement of my quartet." After its premiere in Moscow 1931 the composer Nikolay Miaskovsky praised the work for its “true profundity in the sweeping melodic line and intensity of the finale”.
Polish composer Krzysztof Meyer was fascinated by chamber music from his childhood. “When I was a little boy,” he recalled, “I had a chance to listen to chamber music concerts that were regularly organised at my home. Probably these first impressions fundamentally shaped my interests and principles…My musical homeland is the chamber music of the Viennese Classic, extended by the most splendid of twentieth-century musical worlds—Bartók’s”.
Expressive string quartets by Russian composers Stravinsky and Grechaninov and Polish composer Szymanowski complete this powerful package.
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