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new-classics.co.uk, September 2016

SHOSTAKOVICH, D.: String Quartets (Complete) (The Soviet Experience) (Pacifica Quartet) CDRBOX1003
MOZART. W.A.: Clarinet Quintet in A Major, K. 581 / BRAHMS, J.: Clarinet Quintet in B Minor, Op. 115 (McGill, Pacifica Quartet) CDR90000-147

The acclaimed Pacifica Quartet give impressive and emotional performances of this technically demanding yet compelling music. © 2016 new-classics.co.uk Read complete review




Scott Noriega
Fanfare, November 2015

What makes this set particularly attractive—beyond the phenomenal playing of the Pacifica Quartet, who consistently prove themselves knowledgeable, passionate, and thought-provoking guides—is the addition of the music of other, lesser-known Soviet-era composers interspersed throughout these discs. How wonderful it is to trace not only Shostakovich’s development here, but also that of the Soviet string quartet in general. A magnificent cycle, captured in pristine sound, with all the added extras—that is surely a winner in my book! © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review



Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, September 2015

Without exception and across the board, the Pacifica Quartet earned high marks and unstinting praise for one of the finest Shostakovich cycles on record.

In works that span the chasms of horror, despair, and grief, often frozen in a rictus of stone-cold, expressionless shock, it’s difficult to say that any one ensemble captures to perfection every shade of black humor, nuance of parody, and degree of anguish, but the Pacific Quartet comes close, and does so in performances that do achieve perfection on a technical level. © 2015 Fanfare Read complete review



Roy Westbrook
MusicWeb International, June 2015

…the Pacifica are utterly convincing in number 13, which has here the relentless intensity that is the main hallmark perhaps of the ‘Soviet’ performing style.

The final CD ends with the third quartet of Alfred Schnittke, which is a perfect choice in several ways. The Pacifica are as convincing in this superb work as in everything else…

The sound is good throughout…often aids the audibility of inner or secondary parts. © 2015 MusicWeb International Read complete review



Paul E. Robinson
Musical Toronto, December 2014

The members of the Pacifica Quartet understand all of this music and pour their souls into making it speak to us. © 2014 Musical Toronto Read complete review



Andy Fawcett
Audiophilia, December 2014

These fifteen works surely represent the most significant contribution in the near two centuries since Beethoven’s defining statement of the genre, and the Pacifica’s performances have quickly been hailed as definitive.

The one constant throughout is the stunning virtuosity of the Pacificas, who respond with apparent effortlessness to the vast array of textures and lightning changes of pace and mood. © 2014 Audiophilia Read complete review




David Hurwitz
ClassicsToday.com, November 2014

If you’ve been following this series, you already know that it’s one of the great Shostakovich quartet cycles, outstanding even in a very crowded field. The ensemble plays this music magnificently, whether in the big, symphonic Second and Third Quartets, the ideally paced Fourth, the intensely tragic Eighth, or the gaunt, mysterious, and dark final three.

There are certainly other Shostakovich cycles that may be as idiomatic or as well played, but there are none so thoughtful, and few so well engineered. A landmark, plain and simple. © 2014 ClassicsToday.com Read complete review



Mark Sealey
Classical Net, October 2014

…the Pacificas…strike an almost perfect balance between exposing, developing and ultimately privileging those aspects of the quartets by Shostakovich…the Pacifica Quartet has produced both a statement that is a testament to the Twentieth Century Soviet string quartet as a phenomenon; and well over eight hours of profound, engaging music that stands in its own right. And is worthy of our attention…

This well-produced series of performances by the Pacifica Quartet…must now be considered a front runner and one well worthy of any collector’s attention. © 2014 Classical Net Read complete review





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