Quartet No 7 in F sharp minor Op.108 [1960]

Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich (b. 1906 - d. 1975)
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Composer: Dmitri Shostakovich (b. 1906 - d. 1975)

Performance date: 02/07/2017

Venue: Bantry Library

Composition Year: 1960

Duration: 00:12:44

Recording Engineer: Richard McCullough, RTÉ lyric fm

Instrumentation Category:String Quartet

Artists: Quatuor Zaïde (Charlotte Juillard [violin], Leslie Boulin Raulet [violin] Sarah Chenaf [viola] Juliette Salmona [cello]) - [quartet]

first wife, Nina, died tragically young in 1954. She would have been
fifty in 1960 and, in the aftermath of his disastrous second
marriage, Shostakovich wrote this gem of a quartet in her memory.

fifth decade is concealed in the germ cell that opens the work. The
three-bar phrase that remains within the span of a single octave is
repeated five times. In this movement he seems to have determined to
remember her as she was alive rather than write a dramatic elegy, for
though this movement is highly charged it is neither sad nor
emotional. There is a delightful episode where the first violin and
cello, female and male voices, converse with each other, mostly
pizzicato in the key of E flat and reminiscent of the lovers in
suspects many other private musical references. One of the
excitements of this work, in particular this movement, is its extreme
brevity. On the whole he tends to spread himself but this work shows
his gift for concision, where he packs a huge amount of material into
a small space without seeming to constrain himself.

the return of the first theme, the music slows down, drifts to a
brief pause and flows without a break into the magical Lento. With
the exception of six bars the entire movement is written in two or
three parts only and is muted throughout. The long-breathed theme has
a quiet and reflective beauty, little wonder that the composer often
referred to it as his favourite quartet. It is accompanied by a
semiquaver figure that recalls
Einsame in Herbst
Lied von der Erde

an eternity of only three and a half minutes the Finale comes barging
in and after initial hesitation embarks on a terrifyingly wild fugue.
Brevity is again the password and suddenly the opening idea from the
first movement is recalled fortissimo and the music collapses into a
very strange waltz-like Allegretto. The second half of the Finale is
in effect a fourth movement, whose melody is a transformation of the
fugue subject but whose mood is nearer to the slow movement with
intimate exchanges between the individual instruments. The pizzicato
conversation from the first movement is recalled and suddenly it is
all over.