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Shostakovich Quartets: Intimate Portraits, Part 5

A series with the Carducci Quartet

The Carducci Quartet standing in a line in front of an old, dilapidated building, their instruments in cases on the floor beside them.

Our Shostakovich cycle began with the Quartet No 1, and ends, inevitably, with No 15, staring death resolutely in the face, a work heart-stopping in its searing intensity.

Empowered by the great adagios of late Beethoven, Shostakovich’s quartet farewell is music for which isolation holds no terrors: five sombre Adagios (the composer’s instruction was to play so slowly ‘flies drop dead in mid-air’) plus a Funeral March. The Quartet No 7 remembers Shostakovich’s beloved first wife Nina, finally retreating into affectionate reminiscence, then grateful repose. First, though, comes the Quartet No 10 composed in 1963 when, creatively restored, Shostakovich gleefully dedicated it to his fellow composer Mieczysław Weinberg, who had only notched up 9!

The Kyan Quartet shoulders the Quartet No 7, while the Carduccis square up to the immense challenges of No 15. ‘A constant questioning’ is a hallmark of their Shostakovich says The Arts Desk, and no quartet raises more profound questions.

The end time for this concert will be added here closer to the performance date

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Milton Court Concert Hall