SHOSTAKOVICH + BARSHAI new dimensions from an old friendship
“It is a great honour for me to be able to interpret music of this calibre. Shostakovich’s music is genius and every note one plays/conducts is an experience of sheer pleasure.
The Kiev Soloists are a first class ensemble to say the least and took these recordings very seriously. There were many discussions about the bowing, tempos, but most challenging was and is how to transform the deep feelings of this music in the studio and to ensure that as little as possible of this incredible ambiance, as Shostakovich intended, would be lost in the recording.”
Rudolf Barshai’s professional association with Shostakovich lasted until the composer’s death. The success of his five transcriptions and arrangements of Shostakovich’s string quartets was a catalyst for re-workings of nearly the entire cycle from string ensemble to full orchestra. The essential naivety and understatement of the First Quartet is here discreetly underlined by the larger string ensemble. This contrasts with the broodingly autobiographical Eighth Quartet, the searing emotions of which have made it the best known of Shostakovich’s quartets. Barshai’s transcription of the Fourth Quartet is his most ambitious and interventionist, the addition of winds and percussion emphasising the work’s symphonic dimension.