ABOUT THE CONCERT
Shostakovich wrote his first string quartet in six weeks during the summer of 1938. He was almost 32, and a relative late comer to the Quartet genre, especially considering how many he would compose in the rest of his life. It was written shortly after his fifth symphony, yet has none of the symphony‘s bravura, in fact Shostakovich said of it ‘In mood it is joyful, merry, lyrical. I would call it ‘spring-like’. It was premiered by the Glazunov Quartet on 10 October 1938 in Leningrad.
Dvorák's String Quartet No 12 in F Major Op 96, better known as the ‘American’ was written in 1893, while the composer was working in the United States. He wrote the quartet while on holiday, sketching the whole piece in just three days and completing it after a further thirteen. The quartet is characterised by the use of the pentatonic scale, a character that is frequently identified with folk music from all over the world.