On Tuesday March 19, 2019, the Borodin Quartet played a program of works by Miaskovsky, Haydn, and Borodin at Coral Gables Congregational Church in Miami. Over the years, many of Russia’s most famous musicians have played in the Borodin Quartet, Russia’s most famous quartet, which will celebrate its 75th Anniversary next season. Among the great Russian musicians who played in the quartet have been violist Rudolf Barshai (1945 -1953), Mstislav Rostropovich (1945), the Borodin’s original first cellist, who was succeeded by the legendary cellist Valentin Berlinsky who was then the quartet’s cellist for over 60 years.
No quartet has been more famous for its interpretations of the Russian
Quartet literature, especially for its recordings of the complete Shostakovich quartets, for which it had worked with the composer — After its first meeting in 1945, the quartet and Shostakovich had a long relationship. Parenthetically, Decca has announced that it will release a new recording of the complete Shostakovich quartets and related chamber music in the Fall of 2019 when the Borodin Quartet celebrates its 75th Anniversary.
Nikolai Yakovlevich Miaskovsky (1881-1950), an early ‘rebel’ but later a traditionalist, studied with Rimsky-Korsakov and Lyadov. He later taught Khatchaturian and Kabalevsky. His Third Piano Sonata was played by Sviatoslav Richter, his Cello concerto was recorded by Rostropovich, and one of his symphonies received a premiere performance under Leopold Stokowski and the Philadelphia Orchestra.
The Borodin’s performances of the Miaskovsky String Quartet No. 13, Opus 86 and Haydn Quartet in D, Opus 33, No, 6, in the first half were a delight. After intermission, the Borodins played the String Quartet No. 2 in D, by Borodin (1833-1887), a piece with which they have long been associated. The audience erupted in an enthusiastic standing ovation.
The players rewarded the audience with one encore, Tchaikovsky’s Morning Prayer from the Album for the Young, originally a solo piano piece which the Borodin Quartet’s original first violinist, Rostislav Dubinsky, transcribed for string quartet. After 1975, Dubinsky came to live in America and later formed the Borodin Trio.
The Quartet will return to Miami in November 2019 as part of its
75th Anniversary Season.