This time, however, as the music under it is less dark — the second violin is playing a somewhat melancholic countermelody as opposed to the previous drone — the interval is changed to a 6th for the descending scale which gives the whole section a more hopeful backdrop (figure 1, right). Shostakovich was consistently at odds with the Soviet government. Sounds like an argument between many different sides, and very unclear who is “saying” what. Some of the notes in the cello and violins are starting to sound out of tune. Moreover the violins create very violent sounds, almost like a massacre. Goes back to waltz-like part. Interestingly, the parts that seem to pertain to Shostakovich autobiographically (1st, 4th, and 5th movement) are all Largo. If so, the music between these reoccurring knocks sounds like the person inside is hesitant to open the door and is purposefully stalling. The knocking then, in the 4th movement cannot be applied to the general Russian populace, but to Shostakovich in particular since he had adverse relations with the Soviet government. This four-note pattern of “D Eb C B” spells out the composer's initials in the German system — D. Sch. Now in 4th movement, 3 loud notes are repeated intermittently, while the same note is held in background. The ending of the 3rd movement is calm and relatively peaceful. This is sharply in contrast with the rest of the piece. Bach mainly composed Church music, so the impression is that the setting is now a Church. There, amid the rubble still visible from the Allied bombings during World War II, he was inspired to composed this quartet in remembrance of the victims of both Hitler and Stalin. The chromatic line is then reprised in the cello (m. 88) leading up to the third section which appears to be in G major, a 5th up from C minor. 110 This page lists all recordings of String Quartet No. While this idea has arguably greater structural importance to the 8th quartet, in particular, it has popped up in other works by Shostakovich at various times. Late last … The second idea I want to look at is the DSCH motif. Ultimately, I liked the recording of the Borodin String Quartet, because I think the piece was played in exactly the manner that Shostakovich intended it to be played. 110. But now it’s back to the 3 loud notes from the start of the 4th movement. As previously stated, the piece does not appear to focus on organization based on harmonies, but the individual direction of each line. 8 in C minor, Op. Another said he left the room weeping after hearing it for the first time. Quite a few notes in the 5th movement sound either incorrect or out of tune. In light of this, when I listen to the first and the 5th movements again, it’s obvious that they are closely intertwined and related. “Culture — Shostakovich: The Composer Who Was Almost Purged.” BBC News, BBC, 7 Aug. 2015, www.bbc.com/culture/story/20150807- shostakovich-the-composer-who-was-almost-purged. Shostakovich used a lot of similar ideas and motifs in music throughout his life, but none more prevalently than what is known as the “DSCH” motif that has appeared in numerous works throughout his life including his Cello Concerto №1, Violin Concerto №1, Symphonies 8, 10, 15, and String Quartets 5, 6, 8. In the context of politics, some parts of the 3rd movement’s waltz sounds almost like a firing squad. In light of this, when I listen to the first and the 5th movements again, it’s obvious that they are closely intertwined and related. This also verifies my interpretation of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th movements, which are clearly dedicated to victims of fascism and war, whether they be casualties of World War II, or casualties of Nazi or Soviet systematic execution – Jews and the Russian people. This is well reflected in the second movement, which certainly sounds like a violent war erupting. The important point is that Shostakovich intended his String Quartet No. Flower, Henry. If the 8th string quartet is to be viewed as an autobiographical work, Shostakovich must include these Jewish melodies show the extent to which Shostakovich identifies with not only Jewish people, but the plight of an oppressed people. Why the repetition and patterns in the first movement, what does it mean? The 5th movement is still ambiguous, and I’m not sure what it means. Melody heard previously reappears, and builds in a crescendo with all instruments playing. 110, 1960. 10 One-Man Bands Who Didn’t Need Anyone Else, Why Iggy Azalea’s Privilege To Be “Black” Needs To Be Permanently Revoked, How Steven Wilson Made Prog Rock Cool Again, Paris, France Was the Most Successful City for Hip-Hop in 2019. 8 demonstrates how Shostakovich utilized the string quartet as … Both have a fugal nature, yet I am not entirely sure yet WHY this is so. The communist (though really totalitarian beginning with Stalin) government in Russia thrived from instilling fear in its citizens. In the paragraphs that follow, I will frequently refer to Arthur J. Komar 's theories of meter found in his book A Study of Metrical and Pitch Relations in TonalMusic. Like I wrote in a previous entry, this motif makes the piece personal, but some parts of the string quartet do not seem to be pertain to Dmitri Shostakovich alone. It is especially interesting that this movement is quieter than the previous movement, which might show the level of secrecy and anonymity upheld during executions in Russia. It seems as if the violins are attacking their instruments. This was a big step, both politically and personally. 8 gets the treatment. 8, and no. Repetition is key here in the second movement as well. Again there is no break from 4th to 5th movement. After this pattern finishes in the 5th movement, the notes are heard directly from the first movement, BUT, they are at a much slower pace. Again back to the 4 original notes. The 3rd movement sounds like a waltz of death by a firing squad. Again I’m unsure what purpose the waltz-like nature of the 3rd movement serves. The arrangement of the quartet for string orchestra that is performed at this week's concerts was made by the Russian conductor and violist Rudolf Barhsai and approved by Shostakovich. “Shostakovich.” Music Academy Online, www.musicacademyonline.com/composer/biographies.php?bid=133. In addition, his health had begun to decline. So I decided to write one myself. 110, 1960. The knowledge of this DSCH motif changes my perception greatly, because it makes this particular string quartet very personal to Shostakovich, and very autobiographical. The ending seems slower than the rest of the string quartet, but what does it mean? 15, and Piano Sonata No. 4th entry Shostakovich intended to commit suicide after writing this quartet, but luckily the sleeping pills were confiscated. 1st entry It was a division of London/Decca. More romantic melody line heard now; sounds almost melancholy, and fearful. The use of the DSCH motif alone hints at the personal nature of the work, but the way that it is utilized in the quartet to compose and structure the piece around further accentuates this. Some of the notes are discordant. 110 December 16, 2018: Emerson Quartet The Eighth is probably the best known of Shostakovich’s string quartets because of its compact drama, its quotations from his own earlier works, and its pervasive use of the motto D.SCH, drawn from the initials of his first and last names. It doesn’t seem to be a reference to the German concentration camps, but instead a reference to the Soviet executions of political dissidents which numbered more than 3 million under Stalin alone. This time, however, the motif is then passed from the first violin to the second violin where it becomes the counter melody (figure 6). I am unsure whether those reoccurring 3 sounds are someone knocking on the door, or guns representing more death by a firing squad? The pace of the waltz in the 3rd movement is too rushed. Again goes to exactly how 4th movement started. The sudden crescendo into the second movement is alarming and almost unexpected. The first movement is very dissimilar to the second movement, which has a ferocity and tenseness that is impossible to ignore. The 8th string quarter may have been another time where this was the case. From the beginning of the second movement, one violin seems to have the main part in this new fast paced music. For the final entry, I decided to listen to a different interpretation of the quartet. Composed in 1960 whilst Shostakovich was visiting the former Communist State of East Germany, the eighth string quartet has also remained the most frequently performed of all fourteen quartets. google_ad_height = 60; In the first movement the tempo is slower than in the Borodin String Quartet. The 4 notes from the first movement come back again, and continue through the 5th movement. 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