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String Quartet No. 9 (Shostakovich)

Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 9 in E-flat major, Op. 117, was composed in 1964 and premiered by the Beethoven Quartet. The Ninth Quartet was dedicated to his third wife, Irina Antonovna Shostakovich, a young editor he married in 1962.

Shostakovich rarely changed or revised his works, but the Ninth Quartet is one of the rare exceptions. Elizabeth Wilson writes in her biography Shostakovich: A Life Remembered, “Shostakovich finished the first version of the Ninth Quartet in the autumn of 1961. In a fit of depression, or, to quote his own words, ‘in an attack of healthy self-criticism, I burnt it in the stove. This is the second such case in my creative practice. I once did a similar trick of burning my manuscripts, in 1926.

Shostakovich took three years to complete the new Ninth Quartet, finishing it on 28 May 1964. The premiere was by the Beethoven Quartet in Moscow on 20 November 1964. The Beethoven Quartet had the exclusive rights to perform all of Shostakovich’s string quartets. Dmitri Tsyganov, the first violinist, recalled that Shostakovich told him that the first Ninth Quartet was based on “themes from childhood”, and the newer Ninth Quartet was “completely different”.

String Quartet No. 9 (Shostakovich) was last modified: December 9th, 2020 by Jovan Stosic

String Quartet No. 8 (Shostakovich)

The piece was written shortly after Shostakovich reluctantly joined the Communist Party. According to the score, it is dedicated “to the victims of fascism and the war“; his son Maxim interprets this as a reference to the victims of all totalitarianism, while his daughter Galina says that he dedicated it to himself, and that the published dedication was imposed by the Russian authorities. Shostakovich’s friend, Lev Lebedinsky, said that Shostakovich thought of the work as his epitaph and that he planned to commit suicide around this time. Peter J. Rabinowitz has also pointed to covert references to Richard Strauss’s Metamorphosen in the Eighth Quartet.

The work was written in Dresden, where Shostakovich was to write music for the film Five Days, Five Nights, a joint project by Soviet and East German filmmakers about the bombing of Dresden in World War II.

The quartet was premiered in 1960 in Leningrad by the Beethoven Quartet. In the liner notes of the Borodin Quartet‘s 1962 recording, music critic Erik Smith writes, “The Borodin Quartet played this work to the composer at his Moscow home, hoping for his criticisms. But Shostakovich, overwhelmed by this beautiful realisation of his most personal feelings, buried his head in his hands and wept. When they had finished playing, the four musicians quietly packed up their instruments and stole out of the room.

String Quartet No. 8 (Shostakovich) was last modified: December 9th, 2020 by Jovan Stosic

Carmina Burana (Live from the Forbidden City) by Aida Garifullina & Toby Spence & Ludovic Tézier & Shanghai Spring Children’s Choir & Wiener Singakademie & Heinz Ferlesch & Shanghai Symphony Orchestra & Long Yu on Amazon Music

Carmina Burana (Live from the Forbidden City) by Aida Garifullina & Toby Spence & Ludovic Tézier & Shanghai Spring Children’s Choir & Wiener Singakademie & Heinz Ferlesch & Shanghai Symphony Orchestra & Long Yu on Amazon Music was last modified: December 2nd, 2019 by Jovan Stosic

Symphony No. 1 (Schumann)

Although he had made some “symphonic attempts” in the autumn of 1840 soon after he married Clara Wieck, he did not compose his first symphony until early 1841. Until then, Schumann was largely known for his works for the piano and for voice. Clara encouraged him to write symphonic music, noting in her diary, “it would be best if he composed for orchestra; his imagination cannot find sufficient scope on the piano… His compositions are all orchestral in feeling… My highest wish is that he should compose for orchestra—that is his field! May I succeed in bringing him to it!”

Schumann sketched the symphony in four days from 23 to 26 January and completed the orchestration by 20 February. The premiere took place under the baton of Felix Mendelssohn on 31 March 1841 in Leipzig, where the symphony was warmly received. According to Clara’s diary, the title “Spring Symphony” was bestowed upon it due to Adolf Böttger‘s poem Frühlingsgedicht. The symphony’s opening has traditionally been associated with the closing lines of Böttger’s poem, “O wende, wende deinen Lauf/Im Thale blüht der Frühling auf!” (“O, turn, O turn and change your course/In the valley, Spring blooms forth!”). This view has been challenged, and the call of a Leipzig nightwatchman has been mentioned as an alternative source.

Symphony No. 1 (Schumann) was last modified: June 13th, 2019 by Jovan Stosic

Late string quartets (Beethoven) – Wikipedia

Ludwig van Beethoven’s late string quartets are the following works:

Opus 127: String Quartet No. 12 in E♭ major (1825)
Opus 130: String Quartet No. 13 in B♭ major (1826)
Opus 131: String Quartet No. 14 in C♯ minor (1826)
Opus 132: String Quartet No. 15 in A minor (1825)
Opus 133: Große Fuge in B♭ major (1825; originally the finale to Op. 130; it also exists in a piano four-hands transcription, Op. 134)
Opus 135: String Quartet No. 16 in F major (1826)

These six works are Beethoven’s last major completed compositions. Although dismissed by musicians and audiences of Beethoven’s day, they are now widely considered to be among the greatest musical compositions of all time and they have inspired many later composers.

Source: Late string quartets (Beethoven) – Wikipedia

Late string quartets (Beethoven) – Wikipedia was last modified: January 29th, 2019 by Jovan Stosic