The Soviet Experience Volume II: String Quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich and his Contemporaries
- CDR 90000 130
Cedille Selects tracks are designed to provide a representative overview of the album
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This is the second installment in the Pacifica Quartet's highly anticipated, four–volume CD survey of the complete Shostakovich string quartets: The Soviet Experience: String Quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich and his Contemporaries. The Soviet Experience is the first Shostakovich quartet cycle to include works by other important composers of the Soviet era, adding variety and perspective to the listening experience.
Volume 2 features five works from the period surrounding World War II: 1938–1949. Included are Shostakovich's surprisingly sunny and spring–like Quartet No. 1; his often symphonic–sounding Quartet No. 2; the emotionally–powerful Third Quartet, one of Shostakovich's greatest chamber music masterpieces; his Fourth Quartet, notable especially for its "Jewish" - themed finale; and Prokofiev's folk–influenced Quartet No. 2.
The Soviet Experience: Volume I received universal praise on both sides of the Atlantic and was included on the best classical albums of 2011 lists of The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, The New Yorker, San Jose Mercury News, Newark Star–Ledger, and St. Louis Post–Dispatch.
The Pacifica Quartet performed the complete Shostakovich cycle to great acclaim in New York and Chicago and at the University of Illinois in Urbana, during the 2010–2011 season. The Chicago Tribune said, "The remarkable Pacifica Quartet... coaxed the music's unfathomable sorrows, fleeting joys and macabre humor to the surface as if creating it on the spot." The New York Times called the Pacifica "enterprising and eloquent" and said its Shostakovich installments were "beautifully and powerfully played." In 2011–12, the Pacifica plays the Shostakovich quartet cycle in London's Wigmore Hall.