Utterly calm, rational, and ordinary readings of two of the most harrowing string quartets ever composed. The Eders are more alert than the lackluster Manhattan Quartet on Essay, but they cannot begin to approach the bitterness and irony of the Fitzwilliam Quartet in 3 (London) or the Taneyev Quartet in 5 (Praga). Comparison with either shows just how inflexible and emotionless the Eders really are. Their playing is invariably precise and careful. Each line is etched with crystal clarity, but it's all too perfect, too literal. The nightmarish apparitions and sarcastic undercurrents of the music have been toned down, if not eliminated entirely. The sound is clean and honest, though rather airless. Nonetheless, if you find Shostakovich's Quartets overwrought, you might enjoy this understated approach.
Copyright © 2001, Thomas Godell