Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos 5, 7 & 9

Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos 5, 7 & 9

St Petersburg String Quartet


Shostakovich's 15 string quartets represent one of the 20th century's most profound statements in chamber music. As he grew older, Shostakovich's focus shifted increasingly towards the chamber medium, and the Quartets contain some of his most personal and poignant musical utterances.

Here the St Petersburg String Quartet add to their highly successful series of quartets by Shostakovich with three more compelling recordings, this time Nos 5, 7 and 9.

Shostakovich wrote his Fifth Quartet in 1952 and is his greatest string quartet up to that time—a masterpiece which he never surpassed and rarely equalled for its consummate symphonic integration. It was the first quartet to have a direct connection with one of his symphonies, in this case the Tenth. The Seventh Quartet was completed in March 1960. It is the shortest of the series and explores aspects of quartet-writing not encountered in other of his works, at least up to that time. It is dedicated to the memory of his first wife, Nina, who had died in 1954. The work moves between passion and tension and draws largely on fugal writing to make the distinctions apparent. The Ninth Quartet is another personal work, dedicated to Irina Antonovna Shostakovich, his third wife whom he married in 1962.

All of the music on this album is also available as part of the specially priced box set Shostakovich: The Complete String Quartets: ‘These players approach Shostakovich's mighty cycle with a natural authority that's unanswerable, along with tireless precision and virtuosity, plus a wonderful command of the music's way of switching between sunlight and shadow when you least expect it’ (Classic FM Magazine).

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