Shostakovich (1906 - 1975) String Quartet No.4  Op83 (1949) Allegretto Andantino Allegretto Allegretto The 1 st  movement opens with a drone on D, which persists throughout the movement.  Over this the 1 st  violin plays a folk style melody. This rises to an agonising climax, only to subside back to the resigned drone.  This is a simple movement, but it uses elements of folk music and especially Jewish elements, which will go on to reappear in the epic final movement. A long sad melody on violin and a pulsing but wistful waltz style accompaniment opens the second movement, which is echoed by the cello in the central section. As in so many of Shostakovich’s pieces it is the slow movements that carry the emotional weight.  The atmosphere Shostakovich creates using threadbare textures is full of poignancy, sadness and pity but perhaps, by ending in a major key, ends with a just little hope. The third movement, by using mutes has a veiled sound, which contrasts with the nature of the musical material.  The musical phrases are insistent and become menacing as the climax is reached.  The movement ends with an incantation on viola that moves straight into and begins the remarkable long last movement. Here the sadness of the second movement and the energy of the third collide producing a movement of wild excitement and great pity.  Wailing violins and foot-stomping rhythms produce a blend of elation and horror. The material used in this movement and its presentation was the reason that Shostakovich withheld publication for four years.  The Jewish kletzmer” music is overt, the drones, the insistent rhythms all contribute to make this one of Shostakovich’s finest quartet movements.
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Shostakovich (1906 - 1975) String Quartet No.4  Op83 (1949) Allegretto Andantino Allegretto Allegretto The 1 st  movement opens with a drone on D, which persists throughout the movement.  Over this the 1 st  violin plays a folk style melody. This rises to an agonising climax, only to subside back to the resigned drone.  This is a simple movement, but it uses elements of folk music and especially Jewish elements, which will go on to reappear in the epic final movement. A long sad melody on violin and a pulsing but wistful waltz style accompaniment opens the second movement, which is echoed by the cello in the central section. As in so many of Shostakovich’s pieces it is the slow movements that carry the emotional weight.  The atmosphere Shostakovich creates using threadbare textures is full of poignancy, sadness and pity but perhaps, by ending in a major key, ends with a just little hope. The third movement, by using mutes has a veiled sound, which contrasts with the nature of the musical material.  The musical phrases are insistent and become menacing as the climax is reached.  The movement ends with an incantation on viola that moves straight into and begins the remarkable long last movement. Here the sadness of the second movement and the energy of the third collide producing a movement of wild excitement and great pity.  Wailing violins and foot-stomping rhythms produce a blend of elation and horror. The material used in this movement and its presentation was the reason that Shostakovich withheld publication for four years.  The Jewish kletzmer” music is overt, the drones, the insistent rhythms all contribute to make this one of Shostakovich’s finest quartet movements.