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Franz Schubert: Death and the Maiden; Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975): Chamber Symphony / LSO String Ensemble

Album Summary

>Schubert, Franz : Quartet for Strings no 14 in D minor, D 810 "Death and the Maiden"
>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Chamber Symphony in C minor, Op. 110a (arr. by Barshai from String Quartet no 8 )
Conductor Ensemble Composers

Notes & Reviews:

The LSO String Ensemble, led by LSO leader Roman Simovic, gives magnificent performances of Schubert (arr Mahler) String Quartet No 14 Death and the Maiden and Shostakovich Chamber Symphony in C minor. This is the second LSO String Ensemble release on LSO Live, following the acclaimed recording of Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings and Bartók Divertimento. Schubert's Death and the Maiden Quartet, heard here in Mahler's stunning arrangement, is one of the most popular pieces in the repertoire. The original Quartet was written soon after Schubert had suffered from a significant period of illness, and some have speculated that it is the composer's testament to death. The piece gains its title from the second movement, which is a set of five variations based on the melody of one of Schubert's most poignant songs, Death and the Maiden, in which a girl struggles against the terror of impending death, that 'grisly man of bone', who casts himself as a welcome friend. The Chamber Symphony in C minor is an arrangement for string orchestra of Shostakovich's String Quartet No 8, prepared with the composer's approval by the violist, conductor, and founder of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Rudolf Barshai. Shostakovich's Eighth Quartet was written over just three days in 1960 and the composer, deeply depressed at that time, initially intended it to be his last work. The piece is full of quotations that hold a deeply personal significance, including a motif from Tchaikovsky's Pathétique Symphony, and references to several of Shostakovich's own works. Most strikingly, Shostakovich's initials 'DSCH' are embedded throughout the entire work, giving the piece an intensely personal musical fingerprint.

Gramophone Magazine, April 2016
Roman Simovic has a tendency to launch phrases with a penetrating sniff but secures characterful and energetic results, the very occasional imprecision let through in the interests of emotional electricity.

Herald Scotland, 22nd April 2016
You cannot fault the impressive ensemble sound, the fabulous playing, or the unanimity of purpose...The LSO's string playing with leader-violinist Roman Simovic is out of this world in almost every respect, from polish to immediacy of impact.

Classical Music, May 2016
The current performance is as fine as any, tense and detailed.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: The Barbican, London (04/26/2015).



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Works Details

>Schubert, Franz : Quartet for Strings no 14 in D minor, D 810 "Death and the Maiden"
  • Conductor: Roman Simovic
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra String Ensemble
  • Running Time: 42 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Romantic
  • Written: 1824
  • Studio/Live: Live

>Shostakovich, Dmitri : Chamber Symphony in C minor, Op. 110a (arr. by Barshai from String Quartet no 8 )
  • Conductor: Roman Simovic
  • Ensemble: London Symphony Orchestra String Ensemble
  • Notes: Composition written: 1960.
  • Running Time: 22 min. 58 sec.
  • Period Time: Modern
  • Written: 1960
  • Studio/Live: Live