Kammersinfonie Opus 118a (1964) - Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, Lev Markiz, Shostakovich* - Kammersin
Label: Vanguard Classics - 99033 • Series: Rembrandt • Format: CD Album, Reissue • Country: Netherlands • Genre: Classical • Style: Modern
This work is an arrangement of Shostakovich 's String Quartet No. It is a quite literal transcription of a work whose original instrumentation is undoubtedly well-suited to the music. Barshai's larger arrangement then, should be regarded as an alternative Lev Markiz whose primary purpose is to allow greater access to Shostakovich 's masterpiece. Later, however, he is said to have denied the quartet was specifically associated with that Kammersinfonie Opus 118a (1964) - Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam, pointing out that the quotations from the works mentioned above would not be consistent with that interpretation.
Moreover, Kleine Sonja - Various - Onze Hollandse Hitparade (Vinyl, Album) quotes from the Russian song "Exhausted by the hardships of prison," whose presence in the work also cannot be reconciled with the official Soviet view of the composition.
Obviously this quartet was personal and carried much biographical significance for the composer. The music in this Largo is ominous and mournful, but sounds more tragic and intense in the original scoring. The savagery of the second movement, however, is conveyed quite effectively in the string orchestra arrangement. The third movement, marked Allegretto, fares well in Barshai's arrangement, too, though the ensuing Largo movements are more tragic-laden, their anguish coming across with greater intensity and passion in the quartet.
Reinhard Mey - Ich Bin Aus Jenem Holze, the three-note motif Kammersinfonie Opus 118a (1964) - Nieuw Sinfonietta Amsterdam the fourth movement may have greater power in the Barshai arrangement, and the "DSCH" motto that reappears in the finale is also appropriately conveyed in the string orchestra version.
In the end, it must be said that Barshai handles all the music of this complex and tragic work with great skill. There have been many recordings of his transcription, at least as many as the quartet itself.
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