Shostakovich / Quartetto Nous - String Quartets, Vol. 2 | RECORD STORE DAY

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MusicWeb International made the first volume of this series a Recording of the Month when it was released in 2022. 'This recording by the Quartetto Nous is an exceptionally good one... The superb sound given to the Nous really does make a difference... The Nous play with plenty of grit... but there is always that sense of lamenting, singing voices behind and responding to the violence... If you have any sense that these works are just a bit too austere then this recording is really one to get as it has given me immense pleasure as well as the more expected qualities of a recording of music by Shostakovich.' The Italian ensemble now turns to a trio of quartets traditionally considered inscrutable but (in the right performances) no less filled with both musical and private stories than the quartets of Bartok. The Tenth Quartet embeds the composer's cryptogram, DSCH, within the textures of the outer movements, which are separated by a biting Scherzo and a desolate passacaglia. Reminiscent in these facets of the composer's mid-period symphonies, there is a highly compressed symphonic expression to the quartet. The Eleventh, by contrast is episodic and elliptical, a curtain-raiser to the composer's late style, and the first quartet of four to be dedicated to the individual members of the Beethoven Quartet. Sven brief movements outline and develop a long and winding theme, often making it's way unsteadily along a major-minor ridge. The Twelfth takes a unique form: one of Shostakovich's typical Moderato introductions takes a 12-tone theme as it's subject, though he does not adopt a serial procedure in developing it. This is followed by a long movement condensing elements of Adagio, recitative and fugue which takes the listener on a long dark night of the soul before a major version of it's opening theme wins out, in characteristically equivocal triumph. Between them, the three quartets make a compelling unity of their own, and the Quartetto Nous has established itself among the most distinguished ensembles of our day in this music.