While his symphonies were subjected to scrutiny and censure by the suffocating Soviet government, the string quartets were chamber pieces into which he felt. What are some of your favorite String Quartets from Shostakovich? You can pick more than 1 btw. Pages in category "String quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich". The following 16 pages are in this category, out of 16 total. This list may not reflect recent changes.


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But Shostakovich, overwhelmed by this beautiful realisation of his most personal feelings, buried his head in his hands and wept.

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  • Shostakovich and His Fifteen Quartets by Wendy Lesser – review

Lesser calls the quartets Shostakovich's "pure" music, by way of contrast to the "impurity" of the symphonies and other work, as demanded by the composer's navigation of a precarious route between creative honesty and survival in Stalin's Soviet Union.

Later in the book, she likewise divides Shostakovich's life between that which is "true" in private and "false" in public. Most recent writing on the composer has dealt, at string quartet shostakovich subliminally, with fallout from the so-called "Shostakovich Question", raised in a book entitled Testimony by Solomon Volkov, which purported to contain the composer's inner thoughts, portraying him as a dissident string quartet shostakovich the Solzhenitsyn mould.

Lesser dismisses Volkov early on; she establishes instead "the doubleness, the irony, whereby he says one thing. It's an auspicious start.

Shostakovich String Quartets |

The book proceeds as a biographical sketch, punctuated by discussion of the quartets as they occur in the story. And its main strength lies in Lesser's descriptions of the quartets themselves: Her description of the 11th Quartet, for instance, is wonderful: The west has fixated on a version of Shostakovich: It pervades the atmosphere of every string quartet shostakovich programme — they tend to be full of pictures of a dolorous, persecuted, almost martyred composer.

String quartet shostakovich is in itself strange for just as it would appear impossible for purely instrumental music to represent social reality which is what 'Socialist Realism' demanded so too would it seem impossible for music without the aid of words to convey a message. Yet throughout his works Shostakovich makes intensive use of musical quotations from songs, operettas and operas all of which have, of course, textual content.

Furthermore his compositions contain, like string quartet shostakovich composers before him, encryptions achieved through numbers and the letters associated with notes.

Shostakovich String Quartets

As a result Shostakovich's works give an impression of containing covert messages. But this desire to analyse must be held in check.


Deciphering covert string quartet shostakovich will certainly enhance our understanding, but it fails to explain our emotional delight.

Shostakovich's most famous quartet, the Eighth, is easily dissected but its power is typically encountered long before any understanding of its origins.

String Quartet No. 8 (Shostakovich)

A description of each individual quartet can be read by clicking the relevant number in the navigation bar at the top of the page. Each description contains an example taken from a movement usually one of the lighter ones!

If a quick overview of his fifteen quartets is required then the article 'The quartets and symphonies compared' might prove useful.

A close examination of the choice of key for each quartet string quartet shostakovich that Shostakovich was following a plan; a plan that would illustrate his identification string quartet shostakovich the cycle by associating his initials with certain quartets.

String Quartet No. 8 (Shostakovich) - Wikipedia

This is explained in another, more technical, article string quartet shostakovich 'The tonal structure of the cycle of quartets'. There is an article entitled 'The genealogy of the string quartet' which deals string quartet shostakovich the evolution of the string quartet over the centuries, and another, 'Earlier works for string quartets'which examines Shostakovich's compositions for these four string instruments that were transcriptions of other works or film music.


The concluding and regrettably destructive paragraph of footnote 12 on the page dedicated to String Quartet No. Nevertheless I do make suggestions for further reading in the 'Bibliography'.

Shostakovich's String Quartets: An Introduction

Finally many of the pages of this website have extensive footnotes which are not used exclusively to cite academic references but often introduce string quartet shostakovich between the string quartets and aspects of literature, philosophy and history.

The Brodsky Quartet, a promising and highly-regarded young group, recorded their cycle innot long after playing all the quartets on London's South Bank.


Their performances are admirably clean and accurate, in some respects more string quartet shostakovich poised than those of the Fitzwilliam Quartet.

Yet, it is the performances of the Fitzwilliam Quartet to which I find myself being drawn back. String quartet shostakovich have a remarkable understanding of the idiom and of the music's underlying motivation. Take the First Quartet: In the Fourth Quartet, the Fitzwilliams give the Jewish idioms—a metaphor for the oppressed artist and never far away in Shostakovich's music—a more deliberate, and thus more natural-sounding, tempo.