Shostakovich String Quartets 7, 8, & 9

Shostakovich String Quartets 7, 8, & 9


The string quartets of Dmitri Shostakovich play directly to the heart strings through their emotional candor, extensive color palette, and thoughtful musical gesture.  We chose to record the Seventh, Eighth, and Ninth String Quartets due to the fact that these in particular behold this vast range of emotion, color, and passion. These quartets were very important to Shostakovich and were unofficially dubbed his “personal” quartets.  They are known as such because each one was dedicated to a person with whom he had a close relationship. The Seventh was dedicated to his first wife, Nina Vasilyevna Varza, the Eighth the victims of fascism and the war, including himself as a victim, and the Ninth was dedicated to his third wife, Irina Antonovna Shostakovich.  These quartets are also very personal to us in the fact that through studying these works, they have helped shape who we are as artists and as a string quartet.

We view these quartets as a triptych of vignettes into the life of Shostakovich.  He wrote each of these works during a very tumultuous time in history -- directly after World War II when art was often oppressed.  These works are transcendent in their ability to communicate and enrapture through their overarching scheme that leads one to believe that they are representative of something deeper.  In our opinion, these works were meant to be performed together and fit into an arc of birth, death, and revival. The Seventh Quartet in F-sharp Minor is a tempestuous work that is manic in its emotional states.  The Eighth Quartet in C Minor is a dark, brooding work that was written in response to the atrocities committed during World War II. The Ninth Quartet in E-flat Major is a work that begins in the bleak darkness and breaks free, triumphantly into the light.  Even though these works revolve around a concentric idea of struggle and plight, the final thought is of hope and enlightenment.

    We would like to give a special thank you to our dear friend, William Anzalone, for allowing us to use his wonderful piece of art as the cover of this album. We have always been inspired by his creativity and artistic fervor throughout this project.

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“This has to be some of the very best Shostakovich playing I’ve ever heard.” --Fanfare Magazine (Jerry Dubbins)

“...first-rate performances of some deeply stirring and emotionally trenchant chamber music.”

“A committed and moving performance…” --The Whole Note (Terry Robbins)

“You can't call yourself a true collector of beautiful Classical albums until you add this to your music library.” --Review Graveyard (Darren Rea)