Purcell: Chacony in G minor, Z.730
Shostakovich: String Quartet No. 10 in A-flat Major, Op. 118
Beethoven: String Quartet No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 131
For the esteemed ECM recording label, the internationally acclaimed DSQ recently launched a series of recordings that couples the “late” Beethoven quartets with contemporary compositions. Their TSM program includes one of those Beethoven pieces, the composition that many scholars consider to be not only Beethoven’s best work in this medium but the finest string quartet ever written! In its astonishingly wide range of moods and its unbroken, seven-movement, forty-five minute span it looks far into the future, a mesmerizing feat for a composer trapped in a world of total silence. With his 15 quartets, Russian composer Shostakovich made the most significant contribution to the repertoire since Beethoven’s. He composed No. 10 at the Composers’ Retreat in Dilizhan, Armenia in 1964 and dedicated it to a friend, the composer Moisei Weinberg. The Beethoven Quartet premiered it, as they did for all his quartets except for the first and last. Like so many of his works, it presents a compelling mixture of the plaintive and the powerful, the satirical and the harrowing.