- Tully Potter
Russian string quartet. It was founded at the Moscow Conservatory in 1945 by the viola virtuoso Rudolf Barshay, with the violinists Rostislav Dubinsky and Vladimir Rabeiy and the cellist Mstislav Rostropovich (soon replaced by Valentin Berlinsky). The ensemble gave its first concert in October 1946 as the Moscow Philharmonic Quartet. Barshay developed a close connection with Shostakovich and the group quickly established itself among the finest interpreters of that composer’s chamber music. In 1947 Nina Barshay became the second violinist but in 1952 she was replaced by Yaroslav Aleksandrov; and two years later Rudolf Barshay joined the new Tchaikovsky Quartet, making way for Dmitry Shebalin. In 1955 the group took Borodin’s name. At first its activities were curbed by the Soviet regime but in 1955 it was allowed to visit East Germany and Czechoslovakia and in the late 1950s it began to tour widely. Its technical skill and tonal sheen were widely admired, although reservations were expressed about the almost narcissistic quality of some of its interpretations and its blatant use of such devices as ...