String Quartet No. 4
Moscow. Small Hall of the Conservatoire. Beethoven Quartet.
1954. "Muzgiz" Publishers, Moscow.
Hand-written score in the RNMM (Stack 32, Item 30). Author's transcription for two pianos and voice in the Russian State Archive for Literature and Art (Stack 2048, Inv. 1, Item 34).
Dedication: “Dedicated to the memory of Pyotr Vladimirovich Vilyams.”
Duration: 22 ’
String Quartet No. 4
On the first page of the Fourth String Quartet's autograph above the musical text, Shostakovich’s hand says: “Dedicated to the memory of Pyotr Vladimirovich Williams”. P.V. Williams (1902-1947) was also a talented painter, author of a number of remarkable portraits, a master of theatrical and decorative art, who worked as the chief painter of the Bolshoi Theater of the USSR from the beginning of the 40s. Shostakovich liked the paintings of Williams. In his apartment hung two large paintings donated by the artist: “Nana” and “Bathers”. In 1944, Williams painted a famous portrait: Shostakovich at the piano in his cabinet, with a children's drawing on the wall depicting a naval battle. In 1945, a beautiful pencil sketch appeared: a portrait of the composer's nine-year-old daughter, Galina Shostakovich.
In the Fourth Quartet, reality in the consciousness of an artist wise is sometimes painted in bitter, tragic tones, and in the enlightened conclusion of the finale one can hear no longer joyful rapture of life, but only calm reconciliation. The finale is based on a theme with a pronounced Jewish intonation flavor. “Turning to the Jewish melos, Shostakovich does not use genuine Jewish themes, but creates them completely original and in a huge range - from the grotesque to the heights of tragedy,” wrote V. P. Shirinsky in this regard. In accordance with the philosophical problems of his work, this nationally characteristic material is not used by Shostakovich to create an “exotic” colorite, it acquires a deep social sound.
- Beethoven Quartet: Tsyganov D.M., Shirinsky V.P., Borisovsky V.V., Shirinsky S.P. 1962 // Melody D 015665-09799, 1965
- Borodin Quartet: Dubinsky R.D., Aleksandrov Y.P., Shebalin D.V., Berlinsky V.A. 1962 // Melodiya Seraphim SIC-6034, 1967-1968
- Borodin Quartet: Dubinsky R.D., Aleksandrov Y.P., Shebalin D.V., Berlinsky V.A. 1962 // Melodia Eurodisc 76 649 XK, 76 641,
- Borodin Quartet: Dubinsky R.D., Aleksandrov Y.P., Shebalin D.V., Berlinsky V.A. 1962 // Melody MG 087129, D-019271, 1967
- Borodin Quartet: Kopelman M., Abramenkov A., Shebalin D.V., Berlinsky V.A. 1982 // HMV Melodiya EX 270339 E 2703411, 1986
- Shostakovich Quartet: Shishlov A.A., Pishchugin S., Galkovsky A.V., Korchagin A.A. 1981 // OLYMPIA OCD 531, 1994
- Coull String Quartet: Cole R., Galloway F., Curtis D., Todd D. 1988 // ASV CD DCA 631, 1989
- Hagen Quartett: Hagen K., Hagen L., Schmidt R., Hagen W. 1993 // Deutsche Grammophon 445 864-2 GH, 1995
- Brodsky Quartet: Thomas M., Belton I., Cassidy P., Thomas J. 1989 // TELDEC 9031-71702-2, 1990
- Schidlof Quartet: Falk O., Kogan O., Oppenheimer G., Todes R. 1997 // Linn Records CKD 065, 1997
- Taneyev Quartet: Ovcharek V.Yu., Lutsky G., Soloviev V., Levinson I. 1976 // PRAGA PR 254 054, 1994
- Éder Quartet: Selmeczi G., Szüts P., Papp S., Éder G. 1993 // NAXOS 8.550972, 1994
- Quartet of the Sibelius Academy: Tukiainen S., Cantola E., Kosonen V., Noras A. 1994 // FINLANDIA 4509-98997-2, 1996
- Fitzwilliam Quartet: C. Rowland, J. Spary, A. George, I. Davis. 1978 // LONDON 455 778-2 (Set 455 776-2), 1998