The LSO String Ensemble, led by LSO leader Roman Simovic, gives magnificent performances of Schubert (arr Mahler) String Quartet No 14 Death and the Maiden and Shostakovich Chamber Symphony in C minor. This is the second LSO String Ensemble release on LSO Live, following the acclaimed recording of Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings and Bartók Divertimento. Schuberts Death and the Maiden Quartet, heard here in Mahlers stunning 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 composers 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 Schuberts 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 Shostakovichs String Quartet No 8, prepared with the composers approval by the violist, conductor, and founder of the Moscow Chamber Orchestra, Rudolf Barshai. Shostakovichs 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 Tchaikovskys Pathétique Symphony, and references to several of Shostakovichs own works. Most strikingly, Shostakovichs initials DSCH are embedded throughout the entire work, giving the piece an intensely personal musical fingerprint.