The Quartet Week Podcast with Anthea Kreston: With Heart and Soul: THe David Oistrakh String Quartet

Shared admiration for their ensemble’s namesake—both the musician and the person—unites the members of the David Oistrakh String Quartet, who spoke with Anthea Kreston in episode #5 of our Quartet Week Podcast. Violinists Andrey Baranov and Rodion Petrov, violist Fedor Belugin, and cellist Alexey Zhilin are all acclaimed soloists in their own right and among the leading Russian musicians of their generation. “When we started out as a quartet,” explains Baranov, “it was important for us to continue our individual careers as solo players in order to use that experience for our ensemble—and vice versa.” In their concert on June 11, the quartet performed Russian, Georgian, and Romanian music, the latter adapted by a Hungarian: alongside Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances, the program featured works by Alexander Borodin, Giya Kancheli, and Dmitri Shostakovich. “The quartet by Borodin is wonderfully Russian and Romantic, the perfect piece to open the concert and spread the right mood. And then the Kancheli: for all Russians, all Georgians, this is very special music, actually for all human beings. Every note is so meaningful and touching.” Is there still something one might call a “Russian” sound today? Hard to say, according to the David Oistrakh String Quartet. But when asked what sound ideal they were aiming for as an ensemble, the answer is clear: “Like one single, giant instrument, played with a big heart and a big soul!”

Who calls the shots in the rehearsals of the David Oistrakh String Quartet? For more on the ensemble, tune in to episode #5 of our Quartet Week Podcast with Anthea Kreston.


Artists

David Oistrakh String Quartet

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Program

Alexander Borodin

String Quartet No. 2 in D Major

Giya Kancheli

Night Prayers for String Quartet and Tape

Dmitri Shostakovich

String Quartet No. 9 in E-flat Major op. 117

Béla Bartók

Román népi táncok / Romanian Folk Dances Sz. 56 (Transcription for String Quartet by A. Shishlov)

Approximate running time: 2h with one intermission

The concert of the David Oistrakh String Quartet focuses on composers from Russia, Georgia, and Hungary. Their program places Borodin’s classically structured String Quartet No. 2 next to the turbulent expressivity of Shostakovich’s Ninth Quartet, while also including more open formats such as Night Prayers, a piece for strings and pre-recorded sounds by Giya Kancheli and an arrangement of Bartók’s Romanian Folk Dances.

At the end of the season, the Quartet Week casts a spotlight on what many consider to be the quintessential chamber music format. Between June 7 and 16, eleven extraordinary international ensembles will explore both the historical development and the vast emotional scope of the string quartet genre in the intimate space of the Pierre Boulez Saal.