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B. Tishchenko - String Quartets, Vol 1 - The Glazunov Quartet

B. Tishchenko - String Quartets, Vol 1 - The Glazunov Quartet-Quartet-Chamber Music
ID: MKM230 (EAN: 4607167791824)  | 1 CD | DDD
Released in: 2001
OLYMPIA - Mezhdunarodnaya Kniga Musica
Chamber Music
TISHCHENKO, Boris Ivanovich
EROFEYEVA, Elena (cello) | KHARITONOVA, Elena (violin) | KOLGATINA, Natalia (violin) | KOLGATINA, Olga (violin) | PESKOVA, Inna (viola)
The Glazunov Quartet
Other info:
TISHCHENKO, Boris Ivanovich (b. 1939) 
String Quartet No. 1 Op. 8 
1. I. Andante mesto4:39 
2. II. Allegro giocoso2:15 
3. III. Lento5:28 
String Quartet No. 4 Op. 77 
4. I. Moderato - attacca -18:10 
5. II. L'istesso tempo - attacca -6:38 
6. III. Allegro risoluto - attacca -10:40 
7. Intermezzo - attacca -1:54 
8. IV. Moderato - attacca -9:49 


Ever since Olympia’s sensational CD of Tishchenko’s Second Violin Concerto (12/88) I have been searching for other works by Shostakovich’s ‘favourite pupil’ which would live up to its level of inspiration. This new issue of two of his string quartets doesn’t quite do that, but it does at least contain music of a quality not wholly eclipsed by his teacher.

Tishchenko can emulate the obsessiveness of Shostakovich without sounding second-hand. His music has rhythmic backbone, not being afraid of crotchets and quavers, but not making a fetish out of them either. It is remarkable to discover that the First Quartet is the work of an 18-year-old, written long before he began his studies with Shostakovich. True it is somewhat short (it lasts a mere 13 minutes) and underdeveloped, as though he was still testing the water, and the aggressive dance of the second movement is eclipsed by its counterpart in the Fourth Quartet, while the last movement ducks the issues somewhat. But the opening slow movement is successful in elevating introversion to the main topic for discussion, and its harmonic control and calculated open-endedness are admirable. Plenty of student quartets get written, but few could survive the critical scrutiny of maturity as well as this one can.

The Fourth Quartet goes to the other extreme of length, its five attacca movements lasting a full 47 minutes. The barbaric central movement, exhausting in its remorseless intensity, makes the strongest initial impression, and I cannot honestly say that the rest of the piece entirely sustains its exceptional length. But the intriguing, spectral silences and long arcs of dramatic tension of the first two movements are deeply impressive, as are the catatonic cello of the fourth movement and the shell-shocked ostinato, jazzy overlay and deliberate non-tying of loose ends in the finale.

The performances by the Glazunov Quartet are as gritty and forthright as the music demands. There are some audible edits, but otherwise the recording is close and clear, maximizing the impact of the playing. These are welcome additions to the catalogue and I await the next instalments with interest.

David J. Fanning, Gramophone


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