EVGENY KISSIN (b.1971): String Quartet, DMITRI SHOSTAKOVICH (1966-1975): String Quartet No. 2, Op. 68, Elegy, Polka.
Catalogue Number: 10U075
Reference: NI 5970
Description: In recent years, this wunderkind virtuoso has branched out a bit, with recitations of Yiddish poetry onstage (which apparently he does remarkably well), and as he says in his recent memoir, "taking time out to compose". This quarter-hour quartet shows a musician of great accomplishments demonstrating thorough competence in his new field, but not much in the way of an original voice. Or to be accurate, there is a very original voice to be heard, but it is that of Shostakovich. The slow first and third movements, and the first part of the finale, borrow their somber, keening intensity, long aching melodies and harmonic language very closely from the Soviet master, and the fast final section is almost too close to pastiche for comfort. So if you like the idea of a really good Shostakovich quartet disc which includes a 15-minute rarity that isn't actually by him, then you won't be disappointed. Kopelman Quartet.