String Quartets Nos. 7 and 8, String Quartet Op. 59, No. 1, “Razumovsky”
Valentin Berlinsky Quartet
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Avie introduces the Valentin Berlinsky Quartet, a Zurich-based international foursome which chose its name to honour the legendary founding cellist of the Borodin Quartet whose dedication to the string quartet form has been an inspiration to so many. The Quartet received the blessing for their attribution from the cellist’s daughter, pianist Ludmila Berlinskaia with whom the Quartet frequently performs. On their debut album The Valentin Berlinsky Quartet pair Beethoven and Shostakovich, composers who dominated the quartet genre during their respective eras and whose strong musical contrasts and rapidly changing mood swings complement each other well. Many of the Shostakovich Quartets were premiered by the Beethoven Quartet, and were championed by the Borodins. In an additional nod to their namesake, the two composers were a favoured combination of Berlinsky’s.
The award-winning members of the Valentin Berlinsky Quartet are four of the finest musicians working in Switzerland today. Bartek Niziol and Wang Xiaoming are concertmasters of the Zurich Opera Orchestra; violist David Greenlees and cellist Alexander Neustroev are principal players of the Zurich Tonhalle Orchestra. As chamber musicians they have worked with such artists as Martha Argerich, Julia Fischer and Radu Lupu. They formed the Valentin Berlinsky Quartet in 2010, to explore the masterpieces of the string quartet repertoire. In addition to performances in Holland, Poland, China and Switzerland, the Quartet has reached audiences further afield through their numerous YouTube videos. Their recording debut marks the first in a series for Avie featuring the works of Beethoven and Shostakovich.
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975)
String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp minor, Op. 108
1. I. Allegretto (3.32)
2. II. Lento (3.20)
3. III. Allegro (2.31) –
4. Allegretto (2.54)
String Quartet No.8 in C minor, Op. 110
5. I. Largo (5.25)
6. II. Allegro molto (3.06)
7. III. Allegretto (4.18)
8. IV. Largo (4.46)
9. V. Largo (4.14)
Ludwig van BEETHOVEN (1770–1827)
String Quartet Op. 59, No. 1 in F ‘Razumovsky’
10. I. Allegretto (10.01)
11. II. Allegretto vivace e sempre scherzando (8.28)
12. III. Adagio molto e mesto (12.37)
13. IV. Thème Russe: Allegro (8.52)
Recorded December 2010, Reformed Church, Seon, Switzerland
Producer: Chris Hazell
Balance engineer and editing: Simon Eadon
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