with Jerusalem Quartet
Alexander Pavlovsky (violin)
Sergei Bresler (violin)
Ori Kam (viola)
Kyril Zlotnikov (cello)
String Quartet no. 1 ‘From my Life’
String Quartet no. 11 op. 122
Ludwig van Beethoven
String Quartet op. 59 no. 2 ‘Razumovsky’
A string quartet is generally absolute music. But sometimes composers give a programmatic hint in a title (Sibelius: Voces Intimae) or a subtitle (Beethoven: ‘Muss es sein?’). In “From my Life”, Smetana tells the story of his deafness, which began with a high-pitched ringing in his ear – that tone is heard in the fourth movement. This composition is a moving personal document.
The fifteen quartets of Shostakovich can be seen as one large personal document, and the dark Eleventh string quartet is no exception. The structure is exceptional: seven short, contiguous sections refer to the classical divertimento. Beethoven’s Eighth string quartet also features a minimal extramusical motif: in the third movement, a Russian theme appears as a tribute to the commissioner, the Russian ambassador Andreas Razumovsky.