Label news: Major quartet signing for Decca

Label news: Major quartet signing for Decca


norman lebrecht

March 05, 2015

Decca have signed the Borodin Quartet to record the Shostakovich cycle of 15. That’s bold. Thee Borodins have been around with various players for 70 years. Press release follows:


borodin quartet


Celebrating a milestone 70th anniversary year, the world-leading Borodin Quartet has signed to Decca Classics for a major series of recordings of the music of Shostakovich.

The centrepiece of this landmark season will be the composer’s complete works for string quartet – starting with the release of String Quartets 1, 8 and 14, plus the Two Pieces for String Quartet (Elegy and Polka) on 23 March.

This album will launch a comprehensive series of recordings that will include Shostakovich’s String Quartets 1–15, the String Quartet Movement in E flat major (“Unfinished Quartet”), the Piano Quintet in G minor, op.57, and Podrugi (“Girlfriends”) for string quartet, trumpet and piano. All the recordings will be made in high-definition 24bit/96kHz.

No quartet performs Russian repertoire better than the authoritative players of the Borodin Quartet – Shostakovich himself personally supervised the ensemble’s study of each of his quartets and a profound understanding of his music has been passed down through the generations.

Decca Classics Managing Director Paul Moseley welcomed the signing:

“The Borodin Quartet is probably the world’s oldest quartet, and though the personnel has inevitably changed, its sound and style remain unique. In 1962 Decca made its first commercial recording in the West and now we are delighted to announce its first complete digital Shostakovich cycle. Thanks to the composer’s personal involvement with the original players, the Borodins’ performances of his work are still unrivalled in both their authority and their intensity.”



  • Simon S. says:

    OT: Norman, the problem with the pictures that are not shown has appeared again. All new posts, starting with yesterday’s Avery Fisher Hall one affected.

    • SDReader says:

      Same here, and I believe this is a simple directory problem, caused almost certainly by bad house-keeping. The photos are being uploaded to the wrong place, so the directory address in the HTML code of the post is invalid.

      About the signing, I guess it means Decca has given up on the Takács, who could logically have moved into this rep.

    • Simon S. says:

      Works again. Thanks!

  • NYMike says:

    Norman: is there a reason why my last two comments have not appeared?

  • Sergei says:

    Who needs a new recording by a new Borodin, when one can have the old one by the old team? You really think that those kids are better than those old masters? I certainly not think so.

    • Joao says:

      Kids? I heard them play Shosta 8 live this summer and it was life changing. Don’t know if they are better or not. But what does that mean anyway?

  • A musician says:

    There’s nothing bold about a decision like this. Considering today’s eminently high level of quartet-playing worldwide, Decca does a disservice to this repertoire and to the original ensemble which recorded it (as well as their direct successors) by elevating the current group to such a plane. This quartet is not well-respected or acclaimed in the field any longer with the present personnel and certainly do not remotely resemble the incontrovertibly first-class group of generations past. Further, the idea that they have inherited through osmosis some kind of special interpretive gift with the music itself is, in this day of international training, world travel, and exchange of styles and ideas, rather ridiculous. Decca would serve the cause of music in general, this great body of works in particular, and the crowded field of fine ensembles infinitely better by having engaged any number of more distinguished, original, and, frankly, better quartets.

    • Sergei says:

      I agree. Have recordings OOP for decades of the Kolisch, Koeckert, Primrose, Schneiderhann, Beethoven, first Budapest (before Russian invasion), Flonzaley, Pro-Arte, Pascal, Fine Arts, a lot by Hollywood (!!), Bush. Amar-Hindemith, Hungarian, Teneyev, and other quartets ensembles. Present ones are better? I very much doubt it.

  • Sergei says:

    Agree. I’ve recordings OOP for decades of the Beethoven, Taneyev, Pro-Arte, Primrose, Schneiderhann, Hollywood, Kolish, Bush, Wienn Konzerthauss, first Budapest (before Russian invasion),Amar-Hindemith, Fine-Arts. Pascal an other historical quartet ensambles. Present ones are better? I very mucho doub it.

    • Anon says:

      @ Sergei
      isn’t that an argument against recording any standard repertoire? Just because you have recordings of these works you are happy with doesn’t mean that these or other new recording won’t have anything to offer.

      • Sergei says:

        Sorry for repetition of my last post. My mistake. Anon: I’m fond of standard repertory on historical recordings, and aside I collect rarities. Have hundreds of unknown and unplayed works of very little known/underrated/forgotten composers. Not interested at all on new versions of the old horses My money and space are limitated, and I’ve to concentrate on something. Can’t have a piece of everything.