MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around 2024
60,000 reviews
... and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here Acte Prealable Polish CDs

Presto Music CD retailer
Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             


Some items
to consider

new MWI
Current reviews

old MWI
pre-2023 reviews

paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

All Troubadisc reviews

FOGHORN Classics

Brahms String Quartets

All Foghorn Reviews

All HDTT reviews

Songs to Harp from
the Old and New World

all Nimbus reviews

all tudor reviews

Follow us on Twitter

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Contributing Editor
Ralph Moore
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Buy through MusicWeb from £12.00 postage paid World wide.

Musicweb Purchase button


Nikolai MIASKOVSKY (1881–1950)
String Quartet No.13 in A minor, op.86 (1949) [25:35]
Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906–1975)

String Quartet No.1 in C, op.49 (1938) [14:06]
String Quartet No.8 in C minor, op.110 (1960) [22:28]
Kopelman Quartet (Mikhail Kopelman (violin), Boris Kuschnir (violin), Igor Sulyga (viola), Mikhail Milman (cello))
rec. 22 – 23 June 2006 (Miaskovsky) and 26 – 28 July 2007 (Shostakovich), Wyastone Leys, Monmnouth, UK. DDD
NIMBUS NI 5827 [62:18]

Experience Classicsonline

Miaskovsky’s last quartet begins with an easy-going movement which is quite Haydnesque; the second subject is very playful as befits the great master. It’s quite delightful. The scherzo, second, movement, is fast and vital, a rapid dance with simple, contrasted, trio. Despite Calum MacDonald’s claim, in his excellent notes, that Miaskovsky was a master of the demonic scherzo, I hear nothing demonic in this movement, but within the scale of this music it’s quite dynamic. The slow movement is pure melody and there is no better writing for strings than melody. The finale is an amiable quick movement. There’s nothing pretentious about this music. It’s simply very good-natured, well laid out for the instruments and very tuneful.

Shostakovich’s 1st Quartet is equally amiable. It’s interesting that after all the experimentation of the 1920s, and the denunciation concerning Lady Macbeth of the Mtsensk District, not only should he turn to the most intimate of music media, but that he should write such a slight work. Perhaps because he wasn’t to return to the medium for another six years he hadn’t realized what he could achieve with the string quartet. Originally named Springtime, although this name was quickly dropped, this quartet is bright and breezy as befits the season and gives no hint as to what was to come.

The 8th Quartet is both the most popular and the most personal of all Shostakovich’s works for the medium. Written whilst staying in Dresden, and working on the score for the film Five Days, Five Nights, the composer dedicated the work "To the victims of Fascism and War" but privately declared that the true dedicatee was himself. Full of self quotation this is a fantastic emotional trip. Three slow movements, a very fast and demonic scherzo and an demonstrative middle movement. Like Beethoven’s 5th Symphony, our knowledge of the music can cloud our appreciation and understanding of the argument. The opening movement may be seen as a lament for the victims/composer, whilst the wild danse macabre of the second, which quotes the 2nd Piano Trio in the most manic of fashions, could be yet another of Shostakovich’s portraits of Stalin and his machinations.

So here we have three Soviet Quartets, each exploring different lands, each giving much satisfaction in the journey we take with them, and each receiving performances of superlative stature. No ensemble will ever match the great Decca recording of the 8th Quartet with the Borodin Quartet (originally issued on Decca SXL 6036 and currently available on 425 541-2DM, coupled with a marvellous Borodin 2nd Quartet and the Tchaikovsky 1st Quartet played by the Gabrieli Quartet), but the Kopelman comes very close. Their intensity, poetry, insight and magnificent musicianship is obvious in every bar of these works. Their work is not to be missed and neither is this excellent disk.

Bob Briggs





Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all Bridge reviews

all cpo reviews

Divine Art recordings
Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10
All Divine Art reviews

All Eloquence reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing




Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Past and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Return to Review Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.