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This is the final instalment of an enthralling series that has matched the 15 Shostakovich quartets to those of some noteworthy Soviet-era contemporaries.

Here we find the last three of Shostakovich’s formidable cycle, dating from the 1970s, alongside Schnittke’s String Quartet No 3, written a decade later. The Pacificas maintain the standard of their previous releases, translating Shostakovich’s valedictory language – ghostly, playful, liturgical, anything but serene – with lucidity, intensity and consistency.

The 13th and 15th quartets (the latter consisting of six slow movements) include clear references to other musical sources – as does Schnittke’s potent Third.

Pacifica Quartet

The Soviet Experience Vol IV, String Quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich and his Contemporaries

(Cedille)

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