Postcard from Nalchik: Haydn / Prokofiev / Shostakovich

The Edinburgh Quartet, Delphian regulars for nearly a decade in 20th- and 21st-century music, showcase their recent changes of personnel by delving further into chamber music’s glorious past.

Here, two of the quartet repertoire’s most familiar – and challenging – works are linked by the less commonly programmed but equally virtuosic Second Quartet of Prokofiev, which shows a Russian composer writing home from the geographical margins just as 150 years earlier Haydn had looked outwards, to the Grand Duchess Maria Feodorovna of Russia and her husband the future Tsar, dedicatee of the six quartets subsequently published as the Austrian master’s Op. 33.

If the Prokofiev displays all of the new line-up’s corporate and individual dynamic nuance in its energy and folk-inflected vigour, Shostakovich demands, and receives, total expressive commitment in a work which, the composer darkly suggested to a friend, was written in his own memory.

"Seriously fine performances - exceptional in Shostakovich's Eighth Quartet - of an attractively varied programme."

"The Edinburgh Quartet’s finely matched sound and firm sense of rhythm lead to a splendid performance of the Haydn...I’m impressed by the way these players have worked to produce the precise sound to transmit the emotional import of each phrase."

"[I] admire the Edinburgh Quartet players, who approach Haydn’s quartet with poise and humour."

"The playing - perky and pristine in the Haydn, gutsy and attitudinal in the folk-inspired Prokofiev, movingly sustained in the grim delights of the Shostakovich - is richly considered, rigorously balanced and, ultimately, a musical treat."

"They have an appropriate sense of the music's menace and unrelenting intensity"


Producer: Paul Baxter
Recording venues: Broughton St Mary’s Parish Church, Edinburgh
Recording dates: 19-21 June 2013
Physical format: Jewel case
Number of discs: 1
Number of tracks: 12
Release date: 10 March 2014
Album ID: DCD34081
Total playing time: 0:59:46

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