This is the third installment in the Pacifica Quartet’s highly anticipated, and already highly acclaimed four-volume CD survey of the complete Shostakovich string quartets: The Soviet Experience: String Quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich and his Contemporaries.
The Soviet Experience Volume III features Shostakovich’s String Quartets Nos. 9–12 from the 1960s. The Ninth Quartet’s five continuous movements build to a colossal finale. The Tenth has a classically balanced, four movement layout. The Eleventh’s seven continuous movements present a series of character sketches. The Twelfth brilliantly juxtaposes atonal and tonal themes to produce a cohesive and powerfully compelling whole. These quartets are paired with Mieczyslaw Weinberg’s adventurous, symphonic-scaled String Quartet No. 6 of 1946, an inventive work once banned in the Soviet Union for being ahead of its time. Weinberg was a close friend and colleague of Shostakovich.
The Pacifica’s previous installment, The Soviet Experience Volume II, received an extraordinary reception from critics. The Telegraph of London said, “The playing is nothing short of phenomenal, bringing new dimensions of interpretative depth and a subtle fusion of intensity and clarity. . . . When the series is complete, it looks set to be the one to own.” Luxembourg’s Pizzicato magazine gave the CD a rare “Supersonic” rating. The Boston Globe said the Pacifica radiates “a wedding of youthful electricity and interpretive insight.”