Works Chamber Instrumental Ensembles

String Quartet No. 3

Opus SO Opus SO

Opus 73
1946 year

Quartet No.3 Score
Quartet No.3 Parts
Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartets Nos. 1-3


Moscow, Small Hall of the Conservatoire. Beethoven Quartet.

first publication:

1947, "Muzgiz" Publishers, score.


The hand-written score and also drafts of the score and piano score are in the Russian State Archive for Literature and Art (Stack 2048, Inv.1, Items 31-33)

Dedication: "To the Beethoven Quartet: Dmitrii Mikhailovich Tsyganov, Vasilii Petrovich Shirinsky, Vadim Vasilievich Borisovsky and Sergei Pewtrovich Shirinsky".
Duration: 30’
Premiere: December 16, 1946. Moscow, Small Hall of the Conservatoire. Beethoven Quartet.
First Edition: The score was published by "Muzgiz" Publishers in 1947.

"I regard the Third Quartet as one of my most successful compositions".

String Quartet No. 3
in F Major
Op. 73

I. Allegretto
II. Moderato con moto
III. Allegro non troppo
IV. Adagio
V. Moderato

     String Quartet No. 3 has five movements: I. Allegretto, F major; II. Moderato con moto, E minor; III. Allegro non troppo, G sharp minor; IV. Adagio, C sharp minor; V. Moderato, F major. The composer worked on the quartet for several months in 1946: the second movement, which was composed earlier than the rest, was dated 26 January, the first, third, fourth and fifth movements were finished on 9 May, 17 June, 13 July and 2 August, respectively. The first three movements were composed in Moscow, the fourth in Leningrad and the fifth in Kellomyaki (now Komarovo) near Leningrad, which is shown by the composer’s notes in the fair manuscript of the composition.
     Quartet No. 3 is dedicated to the Beethoven Quartet—Dmitri Tsyganov, Vasily Shirinsky, Vadim Borisovsky, and Sergei Shirinsky. Earlier (in November 1944), this ensemble performed the premiere of Quartet No. 2; it was also the first to perform Shostakovich’s subsequent quartets right up to No. 14 (1973).
     The premiere of Quartet No. 3 performed by the Beethoven Quartet was held on 16 December 1946 in the Small Hall of the Moscow Conservatory at the composer’s concert-portrait. The fourth and fifth movements of Quartet No. 3 were encored. On 26 March 1947, the Beethoven Quartet performed the new quartet for the members of the Stalin Prize Committee.67 The Glazunov Quartet—Ilya Lukashevsky, Grigory Ginzburg, Alexander Ryvkin and David Mogilevsky— performed the Leningrad premiere on 8 April of the same year. The American premiere was held on 16 May 1947 at the Consulate General of the Soviet Union (New York) performed by the Fine Arts Quartet.
     In 1947, Muzgiz published a mimeographed copy of the score of Quartet No. 3. In February-March of the same year, the Beethoven Quartet did its first recording (it came out on 78 rpm gramophone records).69 Some time later (before 1950), the Fine Arts Quartet did the first foreign recording of the work (it came out on Mercury records). Another historically significant and repeatedly reissued early recording was done in the author’s presence on 9 August 1954; it was performed by the Tchaikovsky Quartet with Yulian Sitkovetsky, Anton Sharoyev, Rudolf Barshai, and Yakov Slobodkin.
     After getting off to a roaring start, the concert life of Quartet No. 3 was interrupted at the beginning of 1948 with a Resolution of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party (Bolsheviks) ‘On the Opera The Great Friendship by V. Muradeli’, which condemned ‘formalism’ in music. Although Order No. 17 of the Main Administration for Monitoring Performances and Repertoire (Glavrepertkom) of the Arts Committee under the USSR Council of Ministers of 14 February 1948 on prohibiting several works of some Soviet composers (Dmitri Shostakovich was mentioned among the first of them) that followed the publication of the Resolution in Pravda did not mention his three quartets, they automatically disappeared from the concert repertoire.77 Despite the fact that a directive from Chairman of the USSR Council of Ministers Joseph Stalin declaring this Glavrepertkom order illegal was signed a year later, on 16 March 1949, these three first string quartets did not return to the stage until the very beginning of the 1950s.


  • Borodin Quartet: Kopelman M., Abramenkov A., Shebalin D.V., Berlinsky V.A. 1983 // Melody С10 19503 006, 1984
  • Beethoven Quartet: Tsyganov D.M., Shirinsky V.P., Borisovsky V.V., Shirinsky S.P. 1947 // Melody D 015665-09799, 1965
  • Borodin Quartet: Dubinsky R.D., Aleksandrov Y.P., Shebalin D.V., Berlinsky V.A. 1967 // Melodiya Seraphim SIC-6034, 1967-1968
  • Borodin Quartet: Dubinsky R.D., Aleksandrov Y.P., Shebalin D.V., Berlinsky V.A. 1967 // Melodia Eurodisc 76 649 XK, 76 645,
  • Borodin Quartet: Dubinsky R.D., Aleksandrov Y.P., Shebalin D.V., Berlinsky V.A. 1967 // Melody MG 087129, D-019277-8, 1967
  • Borodin Quartet: Kopelman M., Abramenkov A., Shebalin D.V., Berlinsky V.A. 1983 // HMV Melodiya EX 270339 E 2703411, 1986
  • The Yggdrasil Quartet: Peterson H., Öman P., Westlund R., Nyström P. 1997 // BIS-CD-913, 1998
  • Shostakovich Quartet: Shishlov A.A., Pishchugin S., Galkovsky A.V., Korchagin A.A. 1980 // OLYMPIA OCD 531, 1994
  • Brodsky Quartet: Thomas M., Belton I., Cassidy P., Thomas J. 1989 // TELDEC 9031-71702-2, 1990
  • Glinka Quartet: A. Arenkov, S. Pischugin, M. Geller, D. Fershman 1977 // PRAGA PR 254 054, 1994
  • The “Anton” quartet: Matalaev A., Yakovleva E., Khlebtsevich D., Kirichenko I. 1990 // LDC 2781047, 1991
  • Beethoven Quartet: Tsyganov D.M., Shirinsky V.P., Druzhinin F.S., Shirinsky S.P. 1960 // CONSONANS 81-3007, 1994
  • Quartet of the Sibelius Academy: Tukiainen S., Cantola E., Kosonen V., Noras A. 1994 // FINLANDIA 4509-98997-2, 1996
  • Fine Arts Quartet: Evans R., Boyko E., Horner D., Laufer W. 1989 // ADES 14.161-2, 1989
  • Fitzwilliam Quartet: C. Rowland, J. Spary, A. George, I. Davis. 1977 // LONDON 455 778-2 (Set 455 776-2), 1998