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All Listed Works Edition Silvertrust
Vissarion Shebalin

Vissarion Shebalin (1902-1963)

Nationality: Russian | Soviet
Born: June 11, 1902, Omsk Died: May 29, 1963, Moscow (age 60)

String Quartet No. 8 in C major, Op. 53

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
I. Andante
II. Allegro
III. Adagio
IV. Allegro
Duration: 23 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1960 (age 57-58)
1 recording, 1 videos
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Krasni Quartet
From Edition Silvertrust

Vissarion Shebalin By the time Shebalin wrote his String Quartet No.8 in C Major, Op.53 during 1960, he had had a serious stroke which had left him paralyzed on his right side. He was forced to learn how to write with his left hand, which he did. The Quartet begins with an interesting Andante. It leads to an Allegro, which is a cross between a scherzo and a march. A dark-hued Adagio comes next and has quicker middle section. The last movement, Allegro has an immediacy and sense of urgency. This can perhaps be explained by the fact that while working on the it, Shebalin’s doctors estimated his remaining life not in hours but in minutes.

Writing of his visit to Shostakovich, the Polish composer Krzystztof Meyer said that in Shostakovich’s study he found pictures of only three composers: Mahler, Mussorgsky and Shebalin. Not only Shostakovich but most of Shebalin’s contemporaries regarded him as being in the front rank of composers from their generation. Vissarion Shebalin (1902-63) was born in Omsk, Siberia where he began his musical studies. Later at the Moscow Conservatory, he studied under Myaskovsky. During the 1920’s he was attracted by modernism, but during the 1930’s he was drawn to traditionalism with its attachment to folkloric melodies. By 1942, he was appointed director of the Moscow Conservatory. When Stalin came to power, Shebalin was forced, as were all of the other major Soviet composers, to find some sort of modus vivendi with Socialist Realism. Although his music is well-known within Russia, it is virtually never heard outside of it. Chamber music always interested Shebalin and constitutes a sizable part of his output. His nine string quartets span the length of his entire career from student right up until his death. They are an important body of work which deserves to be better known and to be performed.

This is another important Soviet string quartet. Within Russia the quartets of Shebalin are held in the highest regard. It surprising that they have never made a mark abroad. This quartet deserves to be heard in concert but can be managed by amateurs as well.

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