乐团演奏：The Beethoven Quartet
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第八弦乐四重奏或许是肖斯塔科维奇弦乐四重奏中被录音次数最多的作品。这是他写过最为阴冷的作品之一，一部赤裸裸展示绝望而无丝毫妥协的作品。开头晦涩，完全不可接近，这种情绪直到第二乐章的渲泄才得以转变。Emerson四重奏团的小提琴手Eugene Drucker曾评论，“你有达到极致的狂乱…；它展示出战争的残酷和暴戾，在此背景下犹太主题被两把小提琴相差八度的尖叫划出”。你能在两处听见八度音，而且这种印象深刻的演绎方式使得作品充分现实化。主题D Eb C H的引用，第三乐章可以十分明显地听见，尤其在两次重复处充满激情和强烈表达的欲望。这第八号弦乐四重奏极富有个人戏剧化的效果。Philip Setzer的“骷髅都开始跳舞”的评论看来完全是切中肯綮。
第八弦乐四重奏是肖斯塔科维奇六〇年六月为电影“五天五夜”而在德累斯顿的高里斯待了三天时创作的。德累斯顿整个城市被催毁的惨状令他想到自己的死亡，他在七月19日写给好友格利克曼的信中说，“我决定自己为自己先写这麽一首乐曲，甚至可以在封面上写到：‘为纪念这首四重奏的作者而作’。这首四重奏的主题是：D Eb C H，也就是我德米特里•肖斯塔科维奇的名字缩写”。有关这首四重奏更详尽的说明，肖斯塔科维奇在信中写得很详细，这种现象在他一生中非常罕见。
以下是肖斯塔科维奇全部弦乐四重奏 (包括钢琴五重奏) 的首演日期，演出者以及首演地点：
2 Pieces for String (1924-25)，1927.1.9，Glière Quartet & Stradivari Quartet，Stanislavsky Art Theatre Mozart Hall, Moscow
Quartet No. 1 (1938)，1938.10.10，Glazunov Quartet，Leningrad
Piano Quintet Op.57 (1940)，1940.11.23，Dmitri Shostakovich (pf), Beethoven Quartet，Moscow Conservatory Malyi Hall [另行发布]
Quartet No. 2 (1944)，1944.11.14，Beethoven Quartet，Leningrad Philharmonic Bolshoi Hall
Quartet No. 3 (1946)，1946.12.16，Beethoven Quartet，Moscow Conservatory Malyi Hall
Quartet No. 4 (1949)，1953.12.3，Beethoven Quartet，Moscow Conservatory Malyi Hall
Quartet No. 5 (1952)，1953.11.13，Beethoven Quartet，Moscow Conservatory Malyi Hall
Quartet No. 6 (1956)，1956.10.6，Beethoven Quartet，Leningrad Glinka Hall
Quartet No. 7 (1960)，1960.5.15，Beethoven Quartet，Leningrad Glinka Hall
Quartet No. 8 (1960)，1960.10.2，Beethoven Quartet，Leningrad Glinka Hall
Quartet No. 9 (1964)，1964.11.20，Beethoven Quartet，Moscow Conservatory Malyi Hall
Quartet No.10 (1964)，1964.11.20，Beethoven Quartet，Moscow Conservatory Malyi Hall
Quartet No.11 (1966)，1966.3.28，Beethoven Quartet，Leningrad Glinka Hall
Quartet No.12 (1968)，1968.9.14，Beethoven Quartet，Moscow Conservatory Malyi Hall
Quartet No.13 (1970)，1970.12.13，Beethoven Quartet，Leningrad Glinka Hall
Quartet No.14 (1973)，1973.11.12，Beethoven Quarte，Leningrad Glinka Hall
Quartet No.15 (1974)，1974.11.15，Taneyev Quartet，Leningrad Glinka Hall
The string quartet has been, for most of the great composers, the ideal format in which to express their deepest personal feelings. This is particularly exemplified iu the string quartets of Dmitry Shostakovich who started writing string quartets when he was already a mature composer.
Of these works, all but the first and last were premiered by the Beethoven Quartet. Originally founded in 1923 under the name "The Moscow Conservatory Quartet", the ensemble changed its name in 1931 to "The Beethoven Quartet", shortly before it was awarded the rank of "Merited Ensemble of the USSR." The original members were Dimitry Tsyganov (1903-1992), Vassily Shirinsky (1901-1965) - violins. Sergei Shirinsky (brother ofVassily) (1905-1974) - cello ,md Vadim Borisovsky (1900-1972) - viola. They have been together as a quartet for 42 years (1)
Shostakovich held the group in the highest esteem, declaring, "it has played a most significant role in the flourishing of our chamber music. These enthusiastic, fervent advocates of Soviet chamber music have played in many cities of our country, passing on to people their love for this music. Their performance of my works gave me a great pleasure. The Beethoven Quartet plays all my chamber works and its members always bear in mind my suggestions, putting them into practice with great understanding and talent."
The Quartet's first violin, Dimitry Tsyganov, described their approach to preparing Shostakovich's string quartets for their premiere performances: "First [Shostakovich] would play his new work on the piano from the score. Then he would give us the parts and beg us not to begin playing without him. He needed rehearsals not in order to test his new opus, and still less to change any of its details. He needed them in order to make the performers grasp his idea of the actual sound of the music. Our interpretations were authorized by Dmitri Shostakovich." Their association began in 1938 when The Beethoven Quartet gave the Moscow premiere of the first string quartet on November 16, following its first performance in Leningrad given by the Glazunov Quartet on October 10. Shostakovich attended the Beethoven Quartet's last rehearsal and their fruitful collaboration was formed. He dedicated several of the quartets to the group and to its individual members.
In the recordings presented here, the first eight quartets are played by the original founding members. In the 9th and 10th quartets, Fedor Druzhinin is the violist, and from the 11th, Nicolai Zabavnikov is the 2nd violin. The 15th quartet has as its cellist Evgeny Altman.
The second quartet, dedicated to the composer Vissarion Shebalin, was composed six years after the first and was premiered along with his trio, on November 14, 1944. The third, dedicated to the members of the quartet, was completed in August 1946 and performed on December 16 in Moscow. The fourth quartet, like the Fourth Symphony, though written three years later, waited for its debut until 1953, following the death of Stalin. The fifth quartet, one of the most powerful compositious of its kind in twentieth century music, was composed in just 22 days in 1952 and was dedicated to the members of the Beethoven Quartet on the thirtieth anniversary of its founding. On the occasion, Shostakovich wrote to them: "Dear friends, please accept this modest gift as testimony of my admiration of your wonderful art, of my deep gratitude for your splendid performance of my works, and my great love for you."
The sixth quartet was written in three weeks in August 1956, at a time when Shostakovich was seriously ill. It was first performed in Leningrad in a concert held on the occasion of Shostakovich's fiftieth birthday on October 7, 1956. The Beethoven Quartet subsequently presented it in Moscow ten days later.
The seventh quartet, Shostakovich's shortest, was completed in March 1960, and dedicated to the memory of his first wife, Nina, who died in 1954. It debuted in Leningrad on May 16, 1960 and in Moscow on September 17. The eighth quartet, which turned out to be his most performed and most popular, was written in a mere three days (!) in June of 1960 in Dresden where he was writing music for the anti-fascist movie "Five Days, Five Nights". The deep impressions of the horrors of war and fascism are powerfully expressed in this work. Making use of a number of themes from his previous works (and others from Wagner and Tchaikovsky), this work in the "tragic" key of C minor was dedicated to the victims of fascism and war. Shostakovich regarded it as a sort of musical autobiography.
Although a ninth quartet was written in 1961, in an attack of self-criticism or perhaps depression, Shostakovich destroyed the score and did not return to the quartet form until May of 1964. He dedicated the new ninth quartet to his third wife, Irina.
The tenth quartet, dedicated to the composer Moisei Vainberg, was written during a visit to Armenia two months later, in just ten days. Both the ninth and the tenth quartets were premiered in Moscow on November 20, 1964, and in Leningrad on November 21 and 22.
The eleventh quartet of 1966 was dedicated to the memory of a founder member of the Beethoven Quartet, second violinist Vassily Shirinsl-y, and the twelfth honoured its leader Dimitry Tsiganov.
Of the thirteenth quartet, written in 1970 and dedicated to violist Vadim Borisovsky, Tsiganov wrote: "The musical conception of this piece continues the sequence of subjects, thoughts and feelings presented in Shostakovich's earlier works. I perceive the thirteenth quartet to be an inspired and sincere narrative dealing with people's lives, where even the most mournful pages lack hopelessness and despair and the author takes the audience into the bright world of lofty thoughts and pure feelings".
Shostakovich started working on the fourteenth quartet while on a visit to England in 1972, in the home of Benjamin Britten in Aldeburgh, completing it in Copenhagen the following year. In it, Shostakovich quotes a theme from his opera "Katerina Izmailova". It is dedicated to the Beethoven's Quartet's cellist Sergei Shirinsky. Of this work, Dmitry Kabalevsky wrote: "It is undoubtedly one of finest compositions written by Dmitry Shostakovich, with its extraordinary rich inner sense and surprisingly simple outer form. I hear and feel the highest harmonic unity of thought and feeling, of inspiration and mastery. The fact of the music being dedicated to a cellist was evidently the part of the artistic conception of the composer."
A selected group including violinist Oleg Kagan and cellist Natalia Gutman played the fifteenth Quartet, written in 1974, in Shostakovich's apartment. When rehearsing for the "official" premiere, cellist Sergey Shirinsky died, and the performance by the Beethoven Quartet was therefore cancelled. It was premiered instead by the Taneyev Quartet in Leningrad in November IS, 1974. The Beethoven quartet, with its new cellist Evgeny Altman (who is also the cellist on their recording of the 15th quartet) gave its first perfOlmance in Moscow in January II, 1975. This final quartet is a sort of requiem, not only for the former members of the Beethoven Quartet who had passed away, but also for Shostakovich himself. It concludes fittingly with a funeral march.
The playing of the Beethoven Quartet in these recordings is an example of chamber music making at its absolute best. The performances are gutsy, lyrical or turbulent in turn, as demanded by the score. These performances truly speak and only two other ensembles approach them in this repertoire, the Taneyev Quartet and the original Borodin Quartet.
To round off this set of recordings, we present two short pieces for double string quartet (op. II). Written in Shostakovich's student days, in 1924 and 1925, they are included here in a 1969 recording with the Beethoven Quartet (D. Tsiganov, N. Zabavnikov, F.Druzhinin, S. Shirinsky) joined by the Komitas Quartet (A. Gabrielyan, R. Davidyan. G. Talalyan and A. Georgian). [J.H.]
COMPACT DISC 1
String Quartet No.1, in C major, Op. 49 (1938) [14:12]
3. Allegro molto
String Quartet No.2, in A major, Op. 68 (1944) [32:25]
1. Overture. Moderato con moto
2. Recitative and Romance. Adagio
3. Waltz. Allegro
4. Theme with variations. Adagio
String Quartet No.3, in F major, Op. 73 (1946) [29:51]
2. Moderato con moto
3. Allegro non troppo
4. Adagio -
COMPACT DISC 2
String Quartet No.4, in D major, Op. 83 (1949) [21:31]
3. Allegretto –
String Quartet No.5, in B flat major, Op. 92 (1952) [29:56]
1. Allegretto non troppo -
2. Andante -
3. Moderato - Allegretto
String Quartet No.6, in G major, Op. 101 (1956) [26:50]
2. Moderato con moto
3. Lento -
4. Lento - Allegretto
COMPACT DISC 3
String Quartet No.7, in F sharp minor, Op. 108 (1960) [11:40]
1. Allegretto -
2. Lento -
3. Allearo - Allearetto
String Quartet No.8, in C minor, Op. 110 (1960) [19:47]
1. Largo -
2. Allegro molto
4. Largo -
String Quartet No.9, in E flat major, Op. 117 (1964) [23:46]
1. Moderato con moto -
2. Adagio -
3. Allegretto -
4. Adagio -
String Quartet No.10, in A flat major, Op. 118 (1964) [21:48]
2. Allegretto furioso
3. Adagio -
COMPACT DISC 4
String Quartet No. 11, in F minor, Op. 122 (1966) [15:13]
1. Introduction. Andantino -
2. Scherzo. Allegretto -
3. Recitative. Adagio -
4. Etude. Allegro -
5. Humoresque. Allegro -
6. Elegy. Adagio -
7. Finale. Moderato
String Quartet No. 12, in D flat major, Op. 133 (1968) [26:14]
2. Allegro - Adagio - Moderato - Adagio Moderato - Allegretto
String Quartet No.13, in B flat minor, Op. 138 (1970) [18:16]
Adagio - Doppio movimento - Tempo primo
Two Pieces (Prelude & Scherzo) for String Quartet, Op.11 (1924-25) [9:49]
COMPACT DISC 5
String Quartet No.14, in F sharp major, Op. 142 (1973) [25:01]
String Quartet No.15, in E flat minor, Op. 144 (1974) [37:24]
1. Elegy: Adagio
2. Serenade: Adagio
3. Intermezzo: Adagio
4. Nocturne: Adagio
5. Funeral March: Adagio molto
6. Epilog: Adagio
The Beethoven Quartet
Remastered & restoration: Jacob Harnoy
Production assistants: Ates Tanin and Jack Silver
DLC Restorstion © DOREMI 2007