|Shostakovich||String Quartet No. 11 in F minor, Op. 122|
|String Quartet No. 12 in D-flat major, Op. 133|
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: ‘The untimely death of Vasili Shirinsky, the 2nd violin of the Beethoven Quartet, led Shostakovich to write four quartets dedicated to the four members of that group who had worked with him so closely.
Quartet No. 11, written in memory of Vasili, is a short, almost reverential tribute in which the characteristics of this musician are plain to see, they are never exaggerated, always understated and loving somehow.
Quartet No. 12, written for the 1st violin Dmitri Tsiganov, is arguably the most formidable of the fifteen. The gently undulating first movement acts like a prelude to the unleashing of seemingly infinite power in the titanic second movement. Reflective Adagios try to take over the scene but the irresistible energy of the main movement always wins out as the music gallops towards an ultimately optimistic ending.’
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.