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'When you look through it, you will understand that the first movement must be played with affection and not anger.' The Acies Quartet does justice to these words the composer wrote to a pupil concerning the 3rd Quartet in captivating manner: it is played with affection and - wherever necessary and compelling in the further course of both works - with a skilful dose of anger. This is how the ensemble, honoured with many international prizes, presents its first Shostakovich recording at Gramola. The String Quartet No. 3 in F major op. 73 of 1946 magnificently reveals moods ranging from gratitude and simplicity to exuberant joy at the end of the Second World War and to anguished and aggressive emotions regarding the period of suffering the composer had survived. The String Quartet No. 5 in B major op. 92, written at a time of severe suppression of social and cultural life by the Stalinist regime, hardly makes any suggestion of these external circumstances and thrills the listener with perfect structure and wonderful music. As an 'encore', this recording also offers the early Polka from the ballet The Golden Age op. 22 (1929/30), which gives us a glimpse that even in the Soviet Union of the 1920s there was a musical awakening comparable with cities such as Paris, Berlin or Vienna in which there was enough scope for humour and irony.