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Shostakovich - Schidlof Quartet - The Sunday Telegraph


01 May 1997
The Sunday Telegraph

I recommend strongly these absorbing performances of three masterworks. The two quartets, No 4 written after the 1948 party-line savaging of the composer and No 7 a memorial to his first wife, are cryptic, epigrammatic works packing a disturbing emotional punch beneath their apparently casual outward form. The young Schidlof Quartet, founded in 1994, captures the uneasy, spectral spirit of the music perfectly while revelling in the technical expertise of the writing. Ian Brown joins the Schidlofs in the 1940 Quintet. Here the recorded balance between piano and strings is excellent, the playing taut where necessary and appropriately expansive and passionate by contrast.
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