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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pacifica Quartet, The Soviet Experience, Volume 2: Shostakovich, Prokofiev

The blog covered Volume One of Pacifica Quartet's The Soviet Experience in a posting of this past October 31. Volume Two is now out, again a 2-CD set (Cedille 90000 130), and it continues the definitive performance affinity that Pacifica has developed for the Shostakovich Quartets. For this volume we have his Quartets Nos. 1-4 and also Prokofiev's Quartet No 2. Needless to say they work well together as a program.

As before the Pacifica Quartet shows a tremendous verve in the fortissimo-allegro movements, a contemplative somberness as appropriate on the quieter andante and adagio movements.

The Prokofiev Second Quartet has not been recorded all that often and is a welcome addition to the set.

Perhaps most remarkable factor in these Pacifica recordings is the subtle shifts in mood and articulation throughout. The quartets are complex masterpieces that can sound like peasants merrily threshing hay in one moment and a cloudy horizon the next. The Pacifica Quartet brings out the subtle nuances along with the bold strokes. In that they are virtually unsurpassed.

Don't miss these performances.

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