Shostakovich (Third String Quartet)


Composed shortly after World War II (and dealing precisely with its horrors and anxieties), the 3rd quartet from Shostakovich, seems to contain every possible human emotion. This quartet starts all innocent and playful, then it hits you with a hammer in the head on the 3rd movement. Some people claim that Helter Skelter was the song that originated Heavy Metal, but I prefer to consider the part played by the cello in the 3rd movement the first example of a “Heavy Metal” riff. I love the intensity of all the instruments, but the aggresiveness of the cello is just incredible.

Shostakovich was always walking on thin ice during the regime of Stalin, having to apologize again and again whenever his music was deemed too dissonant or “modern” (he had to apologize for this quartet too). It was a delicate balance between being true to his art and genius but having at the same time to please Stalin and the Party.

This movement had the title “The forces of war unleashed”, but Shostakovich removed the titles from all the movements later.

On a side note, the version I always listen to is by the Emerson String Quartet, and there is a video of them in Youtube, but I like how these guys are really into it.

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2 thoughts on “Shostakovich (Third String Quartet)

  1. I think I didn’t know the work. I have several recordings with Shostakovich works and I like it but I don’t have this one. I’ll listen the other recording.

    Thanks!

    • You are welcome! I think this is his first complex and ambitious string quartet. At least he was quite happy with this one if I remember it correctly. It is worth checking it out!

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