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Shostakovich: String Quartets Nos. 3, 4 & 7 ()

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The string quartets of Dmitry Shostakovich don't quite follow the larger history of his works, defined by their intersections with the colossus of Soviet power. They were, at least for the first part of his career, private enough to avoid the imprecations of Stalin's commissars, and they are for the most part serious, inward works. The five-movement String Quartet in F major, Op. 73, was composed in 1946. It's an extraordinary work, balancing an elegant five-movement structure against a full consciousness of the horrors that had befallen Russia over the previous several years. Shostakovich throughout this quartet and the String Quartet No. 4 in D major, Op. 83, offers typical chunky Russian themes that as a movement develops are overwhelmed by the force of outer events in some way. The String Quartet No. 4, Op. 83, dates from three years later and goes even further, referring to Jewish folk materials especially in the finale; Shostakovich's champions, the Beethoven String Quartet, had the good sense... Hide synopsis

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