The Polish composer Grazyna Bacewicz wrote her Fourth String Quartet in 1951, Dmitri Shostakovich Fifth in 1952. Both works constantly swing the listener from mood to mood. Hope that blossoms in a lilting cello quickly turns into fierce violin strokes. A jaunty melody that jumps from player to player suddenly takes on manic forms. The Dudok Quartet emphasizes these contrasts with refined expressiveness. Just the range of vibrato shades, from meaty to faded.
Meanwhile, the foursome never loses sight of the undercurrent of unease. Because the unruly dissonances, hammered rhythms and nagging figures do not lie. These two masterpieces are steeped in existential dread. In between are seven short preludes for piano from Shostakovich’s opus 34, arranged for string quartet by two Dudok members. Brille splashes off, whether it concerns spinning virtuoso fireworks, a hesitant waltz or deep dark gloom. We can never get enough of such passionate, penetrating interplay.
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