Recent posts here have been a bit sternly logical. Well, this one isn’t exactly light relief, but at least it isn’t yet more on Gödel.
A tweet in response to one of mine (about my favourite quartets performing at the moment) warmly recommended the Pacifica Quartet, new to me. And the first instalment of their Shostakovich cycle released last September has got a lot of praise from the critics (“stunning”, “electrifying”, “one of the top 10 classical recordings of 2011”, etc.). So I sent off for the remarkably cheap double CD. Now I’m bowled over too. Amazing playing. This first release includes the eighth quartet (the most familiar? the most performed?) and this is surely the best performance I’ve ever heard. Very warmly recommended indeed. I’m not sure I can add “Enjoy!” as these are emotionally wrenching pieces: but yes, electrifying.
Two footnotes. The Pacifica are playing Shostakovich for three evenings at the Wigmore Hall in March (some tickets still available). And there’s a very illuminating website about the Shostakovich quartets here.