|Shostakovich||String Quartet No. 6 in G, Op. 101|
|String Quartet No. 5 in B-flat major, Op. 92|
In this special anniversary weekend, the Brodsky Quartet present the full cycle of Shostakovich’s String Quartets. Each concert includes a performance of two quartets and a brief introduction from Elizabeth Wilson, who will share her extensive knowledge of Shostakovich’s life and music, with each of the 15 string quartets examined and illuminated through lively discussion with members of the Brodsky Quartet.
Paul Cassidy, viola, writes: ‘Quartet No. 6 finds the composer in a very settled mood. Supposedly written as a little birthday present to himself, it trots along seemingly without a care in the world. Its almost incessant serenity is most uncharacteristic and surprising, an endless conveyor belt of effortless melody.
Quartet No. 5 is a symphony for string quartet. Its origins lie in an ill-fated affair Shostakovich had with a fellow composer, Galina Ustvolskaya. It is rumoured that he proposed marriage to her on more than one occasion and when the relationship ended, he poured out his emotions into this piece. Its three majestic movements unfold seamlessly, plumbing the depths and surfing the highs as we travel musically from the vast open spaces of Russia, to Hawaii briefly, and eventually to heaven itself.’
Elizabeth Wilson is the author of Shostakovich- A Life Remembered, considered by many to be the most vivid, informative and revealing biography of the composer. As a cellist, she studied in Moscow with Mstislav Rostropovich – during which time she encountered Shostakovich, and attended the premières of many of his later works. As a performer she has worked with such major composers as Arvo Part, Alfred Schnittke and James MacMillan, and as a biographer has also written of Jacqueline Du Pre and her teacher Rostropovich. Her most recent book, Playing with Fire, is devoted to the life and times of the maverick Soviet pianist Maria Yudina, friend and champion of Shostakovich, Prokofiev, Hindemith and Stravinsky.