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    Emerson String Quartet: Shostakovich Cycle - Part 1

    Wed 16 Mar 2022, 7.30pm
    Queen Elizabeth Hall
    Classical music
    £15 ⁠–⁠ £45
    past event
    past event
    Emerson String Quartet - Eugene Drucker - violin, Philip Setzer - violin, Larry Dutton - viola, Paul Watkins - cello
    Juergen Frank

    ‘With musicians like this, there must be some hope for humanity’

    The Times

    The ensemble begins a major five-concert cycle of Shostakovich’s complete quartets, which contain some of the composer’s most personal music.

    The Emerson String Quartet has long been closely associated with Shostakovich’s 15 string quartets.

    The Russian composer was obliged to create grand-scale symphonies for public consumption in the USSR, with a style that matched – more or less – the political directives of the regime.

    But the intimate medium of the string quartet opened up different possibilities for him, especially the freedom to commit heartfelt ideas to paper.

    His quartets are often thought to make up virtually a musical autobiography.

    This music is full of contrasts: joy and anguish, folk melodies and angular modernism, tenderness and violence, all of life is here.

    The first concert starts, appropriately, at the beginning, with the springlike Quartet No.1, the forceful and expansive No.2 and the darkly dramatic No.3, to which Shostakovich later added a war narrative outline.

    Shostakovich expert Professor Marina Frolova-Walker introduces the repertoire and its relevance against the background of the war in Ukraine in a free pre-concert talk.

    ‘With musicians like this, there must be some hope for humanity.’


    The Times
    • Emerson String Quartet
    • Shostakovich: String Quartet No.1 in C, Op.49; String Quartet No.2 in A, Op.68
    • Interval
    • Shostakovich: String Quartet No.3 in F, Op.73
    • Encore:
    • Bach: Chorale-prelude, Vor deinen Thron tret' ich, BWV.668 (fragment) arr. Udo Wesseipe for string quartet

    Need to know

    Queen Elizabeth Hall at 6pm: pre-concert talk with Professor Marina Frolova-Walker. What You Need to Know: Shostakovich. Admission free.

    At a time when innocent blood is being shed in Ukraine, when millions are displaced and a wave of persecution gathers strength in Russia, Shostakovich’s cycle of fifteen quartets acquires a new and acute relevance.

    In this talk, Professor Marina Frolova-Walker introduces the repertoire and its relevance against the background of the war in Ukraine.

    Find out more and book the other two concerts that are currently available in the Emerson String Quartet: Shostakovich Cycle using the links below.

    Emerson String Quartet: Shostakovich Cycle – Part 2
    Emerson String Quartet: Shostakovich Cycle – Part 3

    Dates & times

    Wed 16 Mar 2022, 7.30pm
    Approximate run time: 1 hour 55 mins.
    Run times may vary by up to 20 minutes as they can be affected by last-minute programme changes, intervals and encores.


    • Standard entry£15 ⁠–⁠ £45*
    • Concessions25%**

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