Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos. 9 & 15 Carducci String Quartet

Cover Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos. 9 & 15

Album info



Label: Signum Classics

Genre: Classical

Subgenre: Chamber Music

Artist: Carducci String Quartet

Composer: Dmitri Schostakowitsch (1906-1975)

Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


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  • Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975): String Quartet No.9 in E flat major, Op.117:
  • 1Shostakovich: String Quartet No.9 in E flat major, Op.117: I. Moderato con moto04:22
  • 2Shostakovich: String Quartet No.9 in E flat major, Op.117: II. Adagio04:07
  • 3Shostakovich: String Quartet No.9 in E flat major, Op.117: III. Allegretto03:53
  • 4Shostakovich: String Quartet No.9 in E flat major, Op.117: IV. Adagio03:50
  • 5Shostakovich: String Quartet No.9 in E flat major, Op.117: V. Allegro10:01
  • String Quartet No.15 in E flat minor, Op.144:
  • 6Shostakovich: String Quartet No.15 in E flat minor, Op.144: I. Elegy11:14
  • 7Shostakovich: String Quartet No.15 in E flat minor, Op.144: II. Serenade05:23
  • 8Shostakovich: String Quartet No.15 in E flat minor, Op.144: III. Intermezzo01:50
  • 9Shostakovich: String Quartet No.15 in E flat minor, Op.144: IV. Nocturne04:32
  • 10Shostakovich: String Quartet No.15 in E flat minor, Op.144: V. Funeral March04:33
  • 11Shostakovich: String Quartet No.15 in E flat minor, Op.144: VI. Epilogue06:33
  • Total Runtime01:00:18

Info for Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos. 9 & 15

Shostakovich's String Quartet No 9—composed in 1960 and playing in five continuous movements of which the fifth is by some margin the most weighty—is here coupled with the composer's final contribution to the genre. No&bnsp;15 is imbued with a profound melancholy and was completed in the year before Shostakovich's death.

In the 1960s, Shostakovich could have taken his music in any direction he wanted. He saw the younger generation experimenting with modernist and avant-garde trends they had picked up from the West. In 1961, he began work on a string quartet that would have been his ninth, but this was one of the very few occasions when he abandoned his first thoughts (the manuscript was only discovered a few years ago). The thirteenth symphony remained on familiar musical ground, and the controversy it raised came instead from the choice of poetic texts that skirted the boundaries of what was then politically acceptable. The true ninth quartet was written during May 1964 and dedicated to his wife of two years, Irina. Here, he is poised on the threshold of his late style, continuous with his earlier music, but now playing freely with the possibilities offered by atonality.

Shostakovich did not leave behind any discussion of the ninth quartet’s subject matter, so we can only guess at its mysteries through careful attention to musical allusions and symbols. There is an uninterrupted flow of music revolving around the same set of themes, motifs and textures, but the score indicates five movements.

The Ninth begins in E-flat major, marked tranquillo, with a murmuring second-violin part that makes reference to the 'writing theme' of the monastic chronicler Pimen, in Musorgsky’s Boris Godunov. The cello and viola hold a steady E flat, but the first-violin melody strains the tranquil mood by veering off key, while the second violin suggests E flat minor rather than major. The second theme is scherzando, and led by the cello, with a strong dose of Shostakovich’s characteristic sarcasm.

The Adagio second movement begins with an intense choral lament, but the first violin soon goes its own way, with a line that is highly chromatic and almost atonal, harking back to its behaviour at the beginning of the quartet. The other instruments eventually drop out, leaving the first violin with a new, staccato motif that turns out to be the first theme of the next movement. ...

Carducci String Quartet

Carducci String Quartet
An internationally renowned Anglo-Irish string quartet based in the UK, the versatile and award-winning Carducci String Quartet has performed everything from brand new quartets, classic works by Haydn, complete Shostakovich cycles, and even partnered with folk-rock icon Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull. Founded in 1997, the quartet has won numerous international competitions, including the Concert Artists Guild International Competition 2007 in New York and First Prize at Finland’s Kuhmo International Chamber Music Competition 2004. In 2016, they took home a Royal Philharmonic Society Award for their performances of cycles of the complete Shostakovich Quartets. This Shostakovich15 project was accompanied by a recording of quartets Nos 4, 8 and 11—their second disc for Signum Classics, and it was recognised by BBC Music Magazine as 'a fine achievement, boasting excellent ensemble, musical insight and sensitive attention to detail'. The quartet has released a bevy of acclaimed recordings on their own label, Carducci Classics, as well as Signum Classics. Their recordings of Philip Glass Quartets have had over six million plays on Spotify.

Described by The Strad as presenting 'a masterclass in unanimity of musical purpose, in which severity could melt seamlessly into charm, and drama into geniality', the Carducci Quartet is recognised as one of today’s most successful string quartets. Performing over 90 concerts worldwide each year, the quartet also run an annual festival in Highnam, Gloucester.

Booklet for Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos. 9 & 15

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