Over the weekend of 26-27 September 2015, the Carducci Quartet offered at the Jubilee Hall, Aldeburgh their ‘Shostakovich cycle’: a performance in order of all the fifteen string quartets over four concerts. It was an intense and moving experience for the audience, who gave the quartet a standing ovation after the final bars of no 15 faded into a long silence.
The quartet have already performed the cycle several times, including in Colombia, and will do so several times more during the rest of 2016. On the fortieth anniversary of Shostakovich’s death, 9 August 2015, they did so in one day at the Wanamaker Playhouse on London’s South Bank.
The Guardian reviewer, Erica Jeal, giving their London performance five stars, explained that it was nearly seven hours of music, in four concerts with barely an hour between each. ‘It demanded unusual focus from the audience, several changes of the Playhouse candles – and truly extraordinary stamina from the players. Between the later quartets it was as if the audience was cheering them around the last laps of a marathon.’
The Carducci have recorded Shostakovich’s Quartets 4, 8 and 11 for Signum. Click here for a YouTube clip of part of the slow movement from Quartet no 4 and Michelle Fleming violin talking about the cycle.
The quartet has played twice at Cratfield and will return to open our 2016 season on Sunday 3 July at 3pm, with Nicholas Daniel oboe and cor anglais; their concert for us will include one (but only one) quartet by Shostakovich: no 11 op 122.