Celebrating a milestone 70th-anniversary year, the world-leading Borodin Quartet has signed to Decca Classics for a major series of recordings of the music of Shostakovich.
The centrepiece of this landmark season, the Shostakovich project will comprise the composer’s complete works for string quartet. No quartet performs Russian repertoire better than the authoritative players of the Borodin Quartet – Shostakovich himself personally supervised the ensemble’s study of each of his quartets and a profound understanding of his music has been passed down through the generations.
An initial release featuring String Quartets 1, 8 and 14, plus the Elegy and Polka (Adagio and Allegretto), will launch a comprehensive series of recordings that will include the String Quartets 1–15, the String Quartet movement in E flat major (“Unfinished Quartet”), the Piano Quintet in G minor, op.57, and Podrugi (“Girlfriends”) for string quartet, trumpet and piano. All the recordings will be made in high-definition 24bit/96kHz.
Decca Classics Managing Director Paul Moseley welcomed the signing: “The Borodin Quartet is probably the world’s oldest quartet, and though the personnel has inevitably changed, its sound and style remain unique. In 1962 Decca made its first commercial recording in the West and now we are delighted to announce its first complete digital Shostakovich cycle. Thanks to the composer’s personal involvement with the original players, the Borodins’ performances of his work are still unrivalled in both their authority and their intensity.”
For their part, the players say: “In the Quartet’s 70th-anniversary year, we are truly delighted to launch a collaboration with one of the most highly respected, and longest-established, recording companies in the world, by embarking on this complete Shostakovich project with Decca Classics.”
Over the decades this illustrious ensemble has become known for its definitive interpretations of the string quartet repertoire as a whole, critics enthusiastically endorsing a world-class standard of musicianship: “There can be no greater experience in chamber music than the Borodin Quartet playing Shostakovich” – The Australian.
“… the Borodin Quartet plays with uncommonly rich, even tone and consoling warmth. For sheer musical presence, it has few equals” – The Sunday Telegraph.
“In their smooth, perfectly balanced sound, impeccable intonation, and nigh-perfect moulding of the shape of each phrase and utterance, they are peerless” – The Sydney Morning Herald.
February 2015 sees the much-garlanded quartet being honoured in Istanbul with a lifetime achievement award: a fitting tribute to an ensemble whose members Australia’s Daily Telegraph has aptly dubbed “grand masters of their craft”.
The quartet will be celebrating its 70th anniversary with a year-long international tour, taking in the UK and Ireland, The Netherlands, Austria, Germany, Poland, Turkey, the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Japan, as well as its native Russia, with Shostakovich featuring strongly in the programmes.