Shostakovich Quartet no. 8

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John F
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Shostakovich Quartet no. 8

Post by John F » Wed Jul 03, 2019 5:33 am

I've been listening to a talk about this quartet, in the BBC Radio series "Discovering Music," which among other things identifies its many musical quotations and explains what they might mean. You've probably identified at least some of them yourselves, but I didn't catch the melody from "Lady Macbeth of Mzensk" even after reading in a commentary that it's there, because I don't know the opera well enough. Here's the talk:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p01yt8zy

And here's the quartet, played by the Beethoven Quartet who gave its premiere. The YouTube caption says this is indeed the actual premiere - there's applause at the end:


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YS0MVtC6wZ4

That such music could be written recently, during the lifetimes of many of us, under the worst possible circumstances, should give us hope for the future of classical music.

There are other worthwhile talks in this series and they're listed by composer here:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/articl ... ers-a-to-z

Some are very short and elementary; those tagged with (DM) are more like this one.
John Francis

Rach3
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Re: Shostakovich Quartet no. 8

Post by Rach3 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:00 am

Thanks for this , especially the link to the premiere! Will hear that ! I have a recording of No. 8 with Kronos Quartet. Otherwise, recordings of just Nos. 5,7,9.

John F
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Re: Shostakovich Quartet no. 8

Post by John F » Wed Jul 03, 2019 9:29 am

You'll find recordings on YouTube by the quartets Shostakovich favored, first the Beethoven Quartet who premiered 13 of the 15 string quartets plus the piano quintet and the 2nd piano trio, then the original Borodin Quartet (with Dubinsky instead of Kopelman playing first). Shostakovich dedicated his 3rd and 5th quartets to the Beethoven Quartet and nos. 11-14 to its individual members.

Of course there are other ways to play this music, though personally I wouldn't expect much from the Kronos Quartet whose strengths lie elsewhere; complete cycles by the Emerson and Fitzwilliam Quartets are excellent.
John Francis

maestrob
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Re: Shostakovich Quartet no. 8

Post by maestrob » Wed Jul 03, 2019 12:11 pm

Shostakovich Quartet VIII has also been transcribed for piano by Boris Giltburg (interesting, but IMHO unsuccessfully), and for string orchestra by Rudolf Barshai on DGG, now sadly OOP with just one copy available on amazon as of this writing:

Image

John F
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Re: Shostakovich Quartet no. 8

Post by John F » Wed Jul 03, 2019 1:49 pm

I've heard the Barshai arrangement and think it's a bad idea, though Shostakovich approved it. Having this music played by massed strings not only softens the music's edges but blurs the effect of the composer speaking directly and intimately to us, rather than a chorus.
John Francis

Rach3
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Re: Shostakovich Quartet no. 8

Post by Rach3 » Wed Jul 03, 2019 4:18 pm

Thanks all. This is my DSCH No. 8 by Kronos : http://tinyurl.com/y4xndsxl

My Nos.5,7,9 are by the St.Petersburg Quartet.

Need a few more, no doubt.

barney
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Re: Shostakovich Quartet no. 8

Post by barney » Wed Jul 03, 2019 6:17 pm

I love the Shostakovich Quartets, and I think my favourite performers, over the cycle, are the Emerson Quartet (who won a Grammy and a Gramophone recording of the year for it).

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