MusicWeb International One of the most grown-up review sites around

 58,121 reviews
   and more ... 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


paid for

Acte Prealable Polish recordings

Forgotten Recordings
Forgotten Recordings
All Forgotten Records Reviews

Troubadisc Weinberg- TROCD01450

100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas
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

Brahms Dvorak
Brahms 2 Dvorak 7
all tudor reviews



Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

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


Discs for review may be sent to:
Jonathan Woolf
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
United Kingdom


REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Dmitri SHOSTAKOVICH (1906-1975)
Complete String Quartets
Quatuor Danel (Marc Danel (violin I), Gilles Millet (violin II); Tony Nys (viola); Guy Danel (cello))
rec. Bayerischer Rundfunk, Studio 2, Munich, October 2001-May 2005 (1, 3-12); Farao Studio, Munich, June 2005, (2, 13, 14); Bavaria Studio, Munich, May 2015 (15)
ALPHA CLASSICS 226 [5 CDs: 386:22]

I came to love these works when I was in my teens through the Borodin Quartet’s wonderful first recording of the then complete quartets (Nos. 1-13) on EMI Classics/Melodiya, now available on Chandos CHAN 10064(4). The line-up changed before the composer completed his final two quartets and the cycle was concluded with a single LP performed by Beethoven Quartet - a recording now in a Doremi box, DHR-7911-5. Both those quartets will forever be associated with these works, giving the premiere performances, as well as making the first recordings, of most of them. These musicians were also known to have advised Shostakovich.

My recordings of the quartets have largely revolved around Soviet cycles. As well as the Borodin’s set mentioned above I own their second recording, this time of the complete works, recorded between 1978 and 1983 on Melodiya MEL CD 10 01077, as well as most of the Shostakovich String Quartet’s recordings for Olympia, which are now available in a box set on Alto ALC 5002. I suppose my opinion may have been clouded by Russian performance practice. Whilst I greatly enjoyed the performance of the Quatuor Danel, I did at times find that their more western sensibilities lacked on occasion the visceral intensity that I had become use to. However, in the slower movements the Danel shine and they are the equal to anything that the Russians have to offer. For example, their control in the slow opening Elegy (Adagio) of the E flat Minor Quartet, No. 15, one of my favourites among all Shostakovich works, is wonderful and intense. Their performance in the rest of the quartet especially when the theme from the opening movement re-emerges in the final Epilogue (Adagio) is one of the finest on record. Another highlight is the B flat Major Quartet, No. 13. Here their tempos are slightly slower than most but they prove themselves excellent interpreters of this single movement work.

Where this set wins out is in the recording. Yes, the Melodiya sound is good, but it is now showing its age. Yes, you get the odd heavy breath although not enough to detract. Also, this set contains the finest notes that I have come across. Not only do you get an introduction by Frans C. Lemaire, there's also a sixteen page survey of the Fifteen Quartets by David Fanning. While that survey might not be as detailed as the notes in the Borodin Quartet's second cycle the latter can at times read like a translation. It is worth getting the Alpha Classics set for those notes alone.

Stuart Sillitoe

CD 1 [79:53]
Quartet No. 2 in A Major Op. 68 (1944) [34:36]
Quartet No. 7 in F-Sharp Minor Op. 108 (1960) [12:30]
Quartet No. 5 in B-Flat Major Op. 92 (1952) [32:16]
CD 2 [78:34]
Quartet No. 6 in G Major Op. 101 (1956) [24:26]
Quartet No. 3 in F Major Op. 73 (1946) [28:36]
Quartet No. 13 in B-Flat Major Op. 138 (1970) [21:43]
CD 3 [80:05]
Quartet No. 14 in F-Sharp Major Op. 142 (1973) [28:10]
Quartet No. 8 in C Minor Op. 110 (1960) [22:05]
Quartet No. 12 in D-Flat Major Op. 133 (1968) [29:21]
CD 4 [70:02]
Quartet No. 4 in D Major Op. 83 (1949) [25:32]
Quartet No. 11 in F Minor Op. 122 (1966) [16:54]
Quartet No. 9 in E-Flat Major Op. 117 (1964) [27:26]
CD 5 [77:48]
Quartet No. 1 in C Major Op. 49 (1938) [15:10]
Quartet No. 10 in A-Flat Major Op. 118 (1964) [23:41]
Quartet No. 15 in E-Flat Minor Op. 144 (1974) [38:35]



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical
All Naxos reviews

Chandos recordings
All Chandos reviews

Hyperion recordings
All Hyperion reviews

Foghorn recordings
All Foghorn reviews

Troubadisc recordings
All Troubadisc reviews

all cpo reviews

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

All APR reviews

Lyrita recordings
All Lyrita Reviews


Wyastone New Releases
Obtain 10% discount

Recordings of the Month

November 2022
Bach Orchestral Suites

del Cinque
Del Cinque Cello sonatas

Fujita Mozart
Mao Fujita Mozart

Stanczyk Acousmatic Music


October 2022

Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto Elmes

DEbussy Jeux
Debussy Jeux

Romantic pioano masters
Romantic Piano Masters

The future is female - Vol 2
Volume 2 - The Dance

impromptu harp music
Complete Harp Impromptus