String Quartet No.14
November 12, 1973. Leningrad. Glinka Small Hall of the Conservatoire. On November 14th the quartet was performed in Moscow, in the Small Hall of the Conservatoire by the Beethoven Quartet.
1974. Score, “Muzyka” Publishers, Moscow.
The hand-written score is kept in the archive of S.Shirinsky’s family.
“As we know, Dmitri Dmitriyevich planned on writing an extensive cycle of twenty-four quartets. The Fourteenth Quartet is written in C major and follows the Thirteenth in B flat minor, which is an intense, sad, very lyrical, subtle and attenuated quartet, I would say. And whereas the Thirteenth Quartet was composed for a solo viola and a string trio, meaning it can be described as a viola quartet, and is dedicated to violist Borisovsky, the violist for the Beethoven Quartet, the Fourteenth Quartet is a cello quartet dedicated to Sergey Shirinsky. He [Shostakovich] dedicated a quartet to each of his friends, each member of the Beethoven Quartet, thus expressing his respect, gratitude and love for his music colleagues. Maybe since the previous quartet was written for the viola, the Fourteenth Quartet begins with a solo viola, following which the solo is passed on, like a baton, in this quartet super cycle, to the cello. Dmitri Dmitriyevich’s love for the cello prompted him to write numerous cello compositions. These include two concertos, a cello sonata and, in general it seems to me, Dmitri Shostakovich can be described as a ‘string’ composer. If we take a close look at his music and the orchestral instruments he wrote for, it may seem strange at first glance that they do not include any woodwind quintets or woodwind orchestras, the instruments prized by Hindemith and Stravinsky, for instance.”
String Quartet No.14
F-sharp Major op. 142
23 March 1973 was on that day, while in Repino near Leningrad, that Shostakovich began composing the Fourteenth String Quartet, and exactly a month later, on 23 April, already in Moscow, he finished the score5 (the date of completion is given in its fair manuscript).
The Quartet is dedicated to Sergey Shirinsky (1903-1974), the cellist of the Beethoven Quartet, which the composer worked with for several decades.
Performance of the Fourteenth Quartet was delayed due to the fact that ‘Nikolay Zabavnikov (the second violin) severely damaged his left hand’. The first performance of the quartet in Shostakovich’s home with the participation of Dmitri Tsyganov, Fedor Druzhinin and Sergey Shirinsky was held in Nikolay Zabavnikov’s absence (Shostakovich played the second violin part on the piano). The first full rehearsal, also in Shostakovich’s home, could not be held until 12 October 1973, almost six months after the score was finished. It was recorded on a tape recorder. The Beethoven Quartet gave the first public performance of the Fourteenth Quartet on 12 November 1973 in the hall of the Glinka Academic Capella (Leningrad) and its first studio recording was done by Melodiya in 1974 (the record came out in 1975). In November 1974, the composition was awarded the Glinka State Prize of the RSFSR. The full score and parts were first published in 1974 by Muzyka and Hans Sikorski Publishers. In 1976, the Leningrad branch of Muzyka published the four-hand piano arrangement of the Fourteenth Quartet, done by Aleksandr Dmitriyev, in the same volume as the arrangements of Quartets Nos. 12 and 13.
- Beethoven Quartet: Tsyganov D.M., Zabavnikov N., Druzhinin F.S., Shirinsky S.P. 1974 // Melodia S 10-05137-8, 1975
- Beethoven Quartet: Tsyganov D.M., Zabavnikov N., Druzhinin F.S., Shirinsky S.P. 1974 // Melodia Eurodisc 89 803 XDK,
- Sukovo kvarteto: Novák A., Jouza V., Řehák K., Štros J. 1976 // Panton 11 0603 G, 1976
- Borodin Quartet: Kopelman M., Abramenkov A., Shebalin D.V., Berlinsky V.A. 1981 // HMV Melodia EX 270339 E 2703451, 1986
- Hagen Quartett: Hagen K., Hagen L., Schmidt R., Hagen W. 1994 // Deutsche Grammophon 445 864-2 GH, 1995
- Brodsky Quartet: Thomas M., Belton I., Cassidy P., Thomas J. 1989 // TELDEC 9031-71702-2, 1990
- Fitzwilliam Quartet: C. Rowland, J. Spary, A. George, I. Davis. 1975 // LONDON 455 782-2 (Set 455 776-2), 1998
- Shostakovich Quartet: Shishlov A.A., Pishchugin S., Galkovsky A.V., Korchagin A.A. 1988 // OLYMPIA OCD 535, 1994
- Beethoven Quartet: Tsyganov D.M., Zabavnikov N., Druzhinin F.S., Shirinsky S.P. 1974 // CONSONANS 81-3008, 1995
- Glinka Quartet: A. Arenkov, S. Pischugin, M. Geller, D. Fershman 1977 // PRAGA PR 254 043, 1994