Franz Schubert was one of the most amazing composers of the early 19th century. And Gustav Mahler was a major figure in music of the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries.
This recording brings us two very interesting arrangements:
- String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, D810 ‘Death and the Maiden’
- Chamber Symphony in C minor, Op. 110a, arranged by Rudolf Barshai.
Performed by the LSO String Ensemble, Roman Simovic, leader.
The LSO String Ensemble, led by LSO leader Roman Simovic, gives magnificent performances of Schubert (arr Mahler) and Shostakovich.
Schubert’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ Quartet, heard here in Mahler’s amazing arrangement, is one of the most popular pieces in the repertoire. The original Quartet was written soon after Schubert had suffered from a significant period of illness, and some have speculated that it is the composer s testament to death. The piece gains its title from the second movement, which is a set of five variations based on the melody of one of Schubert’s most poignant songs, Death and the Maiden, in which a girl struggles against the terror of impending death, that grisly man of bone , who casts himself as a welcome friend.
The Chamber Symphony in C minor is an arrangement for string orchestra of Shostakovich’s String Quartet No 8, prepared with the composer s approval by the violist, conductor, and founder of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Rudolf Barshai.
Shostakovich’s Eighth Quartet was written over just three days in 1960 and the composer, deeply depressed at that time, initially intended it to be his last work. The piece is full of quotations that hold a deeply personal significance, including a motif from Tchaikovsky’s ‘Pathétique’ Symphony, and references to several of Shostakovich’s own works.
Here is Schubert’s “Death and the Maiden” as arranged for string orchestra by Mahler: