The London-based Belcea Quartet, acclaimed for its recordings of Schubert, performs the poignant Death and the Maiden quartet
Between 1938 and 1974, Shostakovich wrote 15 string quartets, a unique body of work and the most impressive of its kind since Beethoven. The third string quartet, dated 1946, is striking in its scope and the ambiguity of its feelings - a disturbing ingenuousness, the threat behind the mockery - which are the Russian composer's hallmark.... Schubert's most famous quartet, Death and the Maiden, is as gripping as ever in its emotional impact and heart-rending lyricism. For over 20 years, the Belcea Quartet has been one of the ensembles that count, following in the footsteps of the Alban Berg Quartett, with which it studied. It has also recorded Schubert's Quintet with Valentin Erben, the cellist from the legendary ensemble. The diversity of its members' backgrounds gives it an exceptionally open-minded approach to both the repertoire and the world, and a sincere passion for passing on its art.