Vissarion SHEBALIN: String Quartets #4, 5 & 9 OLYMPIA

Call it escapism, but while the world was tearing itself apart in the early 1940s, Soviet composer Vissarion Shebalin wrote some of his most carefree music, The String Quartets #4 in G minor and #5 in F minor are both nimble, folk-sounding works that sound less like Shostakovich and Miaskovsky than like Borodin and Arensky -- though to be sure the harmonic language isn't as tonal as those 19th century composers. This 2000 Olympia CD, all premiere recordings, then moves on to the 1963 String Quartet #9 in B minor and we get quite a change of mood. Here's the somberness of Shostakovich, and a good deal more dissonance, though it finally arrives at a calm and relatively happy ending. The Krasni Quartet perform. You can listen to excerpts from the CD here .

From the MusicWeb review:

Shebalin was born in Omsk in Siberia. His studies at the Moscow
Conservatory were with Miaskovsky. Like Khrennikov, a composer at the
head of the Soviet Establishment, Shebalin's graduation piece was his
First Symphony, written in 1928. He was a brilliant pupil and a gifted
communicator. Even before graduating he could be found teaching at the
Conservatoire. By 1935 he had been appointed Professor and by 1941 Head
of Faculty. His pupils included Edison Denisov, Veljo Tormis, Karen
Khachaturian, Sofia Gubaidulina
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