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Ravel/Shostakovich - Scottish Ensemble - The Herald


16 June 2003
The Herald
Michael Tumelty

Not everyone agreed, when Rudolf Barshai's arrangement of Ravel's String Quartet was unveiled in the series of concert through April, as to the effectiveness of the veteran Russian musician re-working of Ravel's original. Personally I didn't see or hear a problem. It was not as though Barshai had radically altered the piece in writing it up for a 12-strong string group; nor, equally, had he simply added a double bass part and multiplied its original 4 parts to 12. The process was infinitely more subtle, and the delicate performances by Gould's immaculate group demonstrated. The proof, if any is required, is on the CD recording. And magically atmospheric and intriguing it is, with every ouncce of zest and colour in the original not merely captured, but given fresh (and effective) perspective. Coupled with Barshai's arrangement of Shostakovich's 10th String Quartet in a pungent and powerful performance by Gould's elite brigade.
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