This is the final installment in the Pacifica Quartet’s highly anticipated, and already highly acclaimed four-volume album survey of the complete Shostakovich string quartets: The Soviet Experience: String Quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich and his Contemporaries.
The Soviet Experience Volume IV features Shostakovich’s String Quartets Nos. 13–15 from the 1970s. The Thirteenth Quartet’s one and only movement featuring extensive solo viola uses extended techniques uncommon for Russian composers at that time. The Fourteenth, composed in 1973 is a surprisingly upbeat work of 3 movements prominently featuring the cello. The Fifteenth is a meditation on mortality and one of Shostakovich’s longest quartets. These three quartets are paired with Schnittke’s allusive homage, String Quartet No. 3, written in 1983. It’s a work full of quotation including a 12-tone row transposed from a theme by Shostakovich, whose influence was felt throughout Schnittke’s career
"... As previously in this series, the recording is unfailingly detailed and immediate ... Certainly the pacifica’s traversal can rank with those by the Sorrel Quartet (Chandos) or Quatuor Danel (Fuga Libera) as the most persuasive by a younger ensemble. If Shostakovich’s cycle has indeed become the dominant one of the twentieth century, then its attributes are manifestly in evidence here."
Richard Whitehouse - International Record Review - May 2014
**** Repertoire ***** Sound **** Interpretation
"... A wonderful CD!"
Carsten Dürer - Ensemble magazine (Germany) - April/May 2014
Performance ***** Recording *****
"...The Pacifica Quartet’s performance is stunning: a fitting conclusion to their exemplary Shostakovich cycle."
Erik Levi - BBC Music magazine - February 2014