anniversaries October 22
quote
Arthur SchopenhauerMusic is entirely independent of the phenomenal world, ignores it altogether, could to a certain extent exist if there was no world at all, which cannot be said of the other arts. Thus music is as direct an objectification and copy of the whole will as the world itself, whose multiplied manifestation constitutes the world of individual things. Music is therefore by no means like the other arts, the copy of platonic ideas, but the copy of the will itself. This is why the effect of music is so much more powerful and penetrating than that of the other arts, for they speak only of shadows, but music speaks of the thing itself. Arthur Schopenhauer

Shostakovich, String Quartet No. 15 in E-flat minor, Op. 144

November 14th, 2014

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

String Quartet No. 15 in E-flat minor, Op. 144, 1974

For many, the fifteen string quartets by Dmitri Shostakovich represent a cycle of artistic devotion and intense, intimate expression second only to the sixteen quartets by Beethoven. For Shostakovich, the quartets provided a refuge from the more public and highly scrutinized genres of opera, symphony, ballet or film score where a negative judgment by totalitarian authorities threatened real and serious danger. The wordless “absolute” musical meaning of instrumental chamber music provided a safe haven even when such “domestic” music of friends was performed in public. Here, he could express himself more naturally and honestly and as with late Beethoven, the music is often deeply personal, introspective, and vividly autobiographical. Shostakovich was also a great classicist, drawn to the preludes and fugues of Bach and the transcendent quartets of Beethoven and he strove to make his contribution in these august musical traditions. He planned to compose a set of twenty-four string quartets, one in each major and minor key, but he ran out of time. Dying of an aggressive cancer, and frequently hospitalized, Shostakovich completed his 15th and last string quartet at the age of 68 in 1974, less than a year before he died. « more »


Exploring the String Quartet—The First 250 Years

Exploring the String QuartetSince its birth around 1760, the string quartet has maintained a vital and profound hold on composers, players and listeners: it has been the vehicle par excellence for a rich continuum of some of the finest music composed throughout the last 250 years. Across time, nationality, and centuries of changing style, the string quartet has formed the backbone of small ensemble chamber music with a rich lore. Music for the string quartet consistently features lyrical beauty, complex harmony, intense passion, powerful rhythm and elegant formal design. From the most intimate personal expression to the most brilliant virtuosity, from the ancient and otherworldly to edgy grooves of the present day, the string quartet appears to be an infinitely flexible ensemble engaging great composers and performers in one of the richest living traditions of music in all of history. For many, if not most, however, it a rarely encountered “hidden” genre, while historically, culturally, musically, for others, it is the mother lode. Take some time to discover this stunning genre, the heart of the matter. Explore

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