Shostakovich string quartets
Topic starter 19/01/2022 5:19 am
I've started listening again to Shostakovich quartets, focusing on some that are less familiar to me. I'm using the wonderful background notes here: Shostakovich's String Quartets: An Introduction and being guided and entertained by the selection of a contributor rejoicing in the name "Dirge" here: Shostakovich - the best string quartets and the best recordings of them (talkclassical.com). I love Dirge's graphic comments, such as "the bizarre final movement (which sounds like the Hebrew/Klezmer counterpart to an Irish wake). Oy." (number 4), "the work’s very “Russian”-sounding themes had better sound like they just barely survived the long Siberian winter shacked up with Julie Christie" (number 5), "a rather mocking and derisive dance of death for arthritic skeletons (the sick Shostakovich giving Death the finger, I should think)" (number 13), and "The Beethoven Quartet’s instruments are strung with the raw nerves of your dead ancestors, and its piercing playing penetrates straight to the spine like fingernails scraping a blackboard" (also number 13).
19/01/2022 4:33 pm
After that splendid description of the Beethoven Quartet’s performance of Shostakovich 13, I couldn’t resist listening… and what a spine chilling performance!
It seems that Shostakovich and the Beethoven Quartet were close collaborators: