Occasional Notes on the String Quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich

String Quartet 1 in C, Op. 49 (1938). – The CulturalRites article is here.

Shostakovich and son Maxim (Courtesy: www.shostakovichquartets.com)

Shostakovich and son Maxim (Courtesy: http://www.shostakovichquartets.com)

Shostakovich, Dmitri: String Quartet 2 in A, Op. 68 (1944). – Written the year after the incredible Eighth Symphony of 1943, and around the same time as the Trio in E minor, Op. 67, which is dedicated to Sollertinsky, who died in February, 1944.

String Quartet 3 in F, Op. 73 (1946).  An incisive work, metrically complex, and plentiful in its awareness of disaster, with its gripping, baleful, mournful passacaglia, funereal in aspect and referential to the passacaglia in the Eighth Symphony, in the fourth movement. The quintuplet turn is always centred on the same note: A. This movement is at the centre of my poem, “Snow,” from the “Torn by Victory” segment of part three of my book Mahler and Freud Meet in Leiden.

String Quartet 4 in D, Op. 83 (1949). The quartet’s final movement, with its use of Jewish inflection, is completely remarkable.

String Quartet 5 in B♭, Op. 92 (1952).

String Quartet 6 in G, Op. 101 (1956).

String Quartet 7 in f♯, Op. 108 (1960).

String Quartet 8 in c, Op. 110 (1960). – Music of spiritual resistance.

String Quartet 9 in E♭, Op. 117 (1964).

String Quartet 10 in A♭, Op. 118 (1964). 

String Quartet 11 in f, Op. 122 (1966).

String Quartet 12 in D♭, Op. 133 (1968).

String Quartet 13 in b♭, Op. 138 (1970).

String Quartet 14 in F♯, Op. 142 (1973).

String Quartet 15 in e♭, Op. 144 (1974).

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