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Dmitri Shostakovich

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: September 25, 1906, St. Petersburg Died: August 9, 1975, Moscow (age 68)

Piano Quintet in g minor, Op. 57

(for 2 violins, viola, cello and piano)
4:40 I. Prelude. Lent - Poco più mosso - Lento
10:16 II. Fugue. Adagio
3:30 III. Scherzo. Allegretto
6:44 IV. Intermezzo. Lento - Appassionato
7:19 V. Finale. Allegretto
Duration: 35 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1940, Started in the summer. Completed September 14. (age 33-34)
Premiere: November 23, 1940. Moscow Conservatory. Shostakovich and the Beethoven String Quartet
10 recordings, 34 videos
autoopen autoplay
4:25
Nash Ensemble
I. Prelude. Lent - Poco più mosso - Lento
10:26
Nash Ensemble
II. Fugue. Adagio
3:19
Nash Ensemble
III. Scherzo. Allegretto
6:35
Nash Ensemble
IV. Intermezzo. Lento - Appassionato
7:16
Nash Ensemble
V. Finale. Allegretto
4:47
Belcea Quartet, Piotr Anderszewski
I. Prelude. Lent - Poco più mosso - Lento
11:35
Belcea Quartet, Piotr Anderszewski
II. Fugue. Adagio
3:39
Belcea Quartet, Piotr Anderszewski
III. Scherzo. Allegretto
7:04
Belcea Quartet, Piotr Anderszewski
IV. Intermezzo. Lento - Appassionato
7:41
Belcea Quartet, Piotr Anderszewski
V. Finale. Allegretto
41:25
Richter, Borodin Quartet
5:06
Point CounterPoint Music Festival, Vermont
I. Prelude. Lent - Poco più mosso - Lento
8:39
Point CounterPoint Music Festival, Vermont
II. Fugue. Adagio
3:32
Point CounterPoint Music Festival, Vermont
III. Scherzo. Allegretto
6:34
Point CounterPoint Music Festival, Vermont
IV. Intermezzo. Lento - Appassionato
7:54
Point CounterPoint Music Festival, Vermont
V. Finale. Allegretto
4:39
Moscow String Quartet, Orbelian
I. Prelude. Lent - Poco più mosso - Lento
11:14
Moscow String Quartet, Orbelian
II. Fugue. Adagio
3:39
Moscow String Quartet, Orbelian
III. Scherzo. Allegretto
7:11
Moscow String Quartet, Orbelian
IV. Intermezzo. Lento - Appassionato
7:37
Moscow String Quartet, Orbelian
V. Finale. Allegretto
37:32
Janine Jansen and friends
32:06
Fitzwilliam Quartet, Ashkenazy (complete)
4:19
Chigi Quintet, Lorenzi (1952)
I. Prelude. Lent - Poco più mosso - Lento
9:02
Chigi Quintet, Lorenzi (1952)
II. Fugue. Adagio
3:32
Chigi Quintet, Lorenzi (1952)
III. Scherzo. Allegretto
7:10
Chigi Quintet, Lorenzi (1952)
IV. Intermezzo. Lento - Appassionato
6:52
Chigi Quintet, Lorenzi (1952)
V. Finale. Allegretto
42:08
Atrium Quartet, Mndoyants
4:54
Amati Quartet, Canino
I. Prelude. Lent - Poco più mosso - Lento
10:12
Amati Quartet, Canino
II. Fugue. Adagio
3:33
Amati Quartet, Canino
III. Scherzo. Allegretto
6:20
Amati Quartet, Canino
IV. Intermezzo. Lento - Appassionato
6:55
Amati Quartet, Canino
V. Finale. Allegretto
From Kai Christiansen

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

Piano Quintet in g minor, Op. 57 (1940)
Dmitri ShostakovichShostakovich has come to be regarded as one of the most important 20th century composers. Working in all the traditional genres, he was particularly prodigious with his monumental cycles of 15 symphonies and 15 string quartets. Indeed, despite his early modernist tendencies and his distinctively contemporary and personal sound, Shostakovich primarily worked with traditional forms as well as within a largely tonal harmonic vocabulary. This sense of a modern voice within an unbroken traditional lineage is nowhere more apparent than with his glorious piano quintet of 1940. Impressed with his first string quartet, the Moscow-based Beethoven quartet asked Shostakovich to write a quintet featuring Shostakovich himself at the piano. The result was an immense success earning Shostakovich the Stalin Prize and a cash award of 100,000 rubles often cited as the largest sum ever commanded by a chamber music work. An early entry in his chamber music catalog, Shostakovich's quintet is one of his most popular works destined to join the small pantheon of singular piano quintets from the likes of Schumann, Brahms and Franck.

Traditional forms and modes of expression pervade the entire quintet. The first two movements supply a massive prelude and fugue in the finest Bachian sense. Shostakovich was a skillful and artistic contrapuntalist with masterful fugues all through his oeuvre. Directly inspired by Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier, Shostakovich wrote his own substantial set of 24 preludes and fugues for piano, again, a modern voice within an ancient tradition. Here, the prelude and fugue acquire an extra dimension due to the fact that the piano quintet naturally divides between strings and piano, each capable of multi-part textures on their own as well as combining for a unified ensemble. The fugue engages in a variety of traditional techniques including a prominent countersubject.

The third movement is a fantastic scherzo and trio, a highpoint of the work suitable for encore all by itself. In startling contrast to the poise and grandeur of the prelude and fugue, the scherzo dances with a rustic, wild abandon leering towards colorful parody and dark sarcasm so typical of Shostakovich. Less traditional is a second slow movement, a ponderous intermezzo placed between the scherzo and finale. Here is another face of Shostakovich so vivid throughout his work: an intimate sorrow that rises to a peak of anguish, a plodding sense of fate underlying a poignant song. But it is only a glimpse, an intermezzo that quickly fades into the relaxed tone of a breezy, uplifting conclusion. The finale has a clearly articulated classical sonata form with distinctive themes and a development section. A march-like feel is always just beneath the surface, occasionally swelling in grand gestures while, in between, a brief recollection of the intermezzo temporarily clouds an otherwise sunny end. Throughout the quintet, Shostakovich maintains a remarkable clarity of texture avoiding the dense or quasi-orchestral grandiosity towards which piano quintets tend. This is due in particular to a relatively restrained piano part and a fluid, dynamic ensemble where all five instruments are rarely active simultaneously.

© Kai Christiansen Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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