Album review: Simón Bolívar String Quartet, Ginastera, Dvorák, Shostakovich (Deutsche Grammophon)


A Sistema offshoot comprising principals of the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra, the SBSQ bring a vibrant Latin American flavour to the three quartet pieces on this debut album.

Their impassioned take on Shostakovich's String Quartet No 8 in C minor reflects the substantial Russian influence on Venezuelan classical music, while the folk and native themes of Dvorák's “American” quartet are pushed even further away from its European origin. But the players clearly have the closest bond with Argentinian composer Alberto Ginastera's exciting String Quartet No 1: it's a thrilling ride, with the SBSQ subtly but decisively fulfilling Ginastera's evocative instruction Calmo e Poetico.

Download: String Quartet No 1; String Quartet No 8 in C minor