CD: Shostakovich, Schnittke: Piano Quintets

(Naxos)

More classical CD reviews

It is luxury casting to have on the Naxos budget label the Vermeer Quartet, one of the finest in the US, and another star artist, Boris Berman. Written in 1940, Shostakovich's Piano Quintet was the work that most clearly signalled the dark, intense inspirations of his great sequence of string quartets.

This is a dedicated performance, recorded for Canadian radio, that with extreme dynamic contrasts brings out the greatness of the piece. The Schnittke Piano Quintet of 1972-75 is similarly one of the composer's finest chamber works, darkly elegiac, written in memory of his mother. Its gloom inspires Berman and the Vermeer Quartet to a powerfully concentrated performance.

Contributor

Edward Greenfield

The GuardianTramp

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