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Eight String Quartet Analysis

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The Eight String Quartet was written in 1960, in only three days. It was written whilst visiting the then communist state of East Germany. Officially he was there to write the score for the Soviet film “Five Days - Five Nights”,a film that would use the destruction of the city of Dresden as a fictional story. The new quarter was premiered on 2 October 1960 by the Beethoven Quartet at the opening chamber music concert of the new season in Leningrad. The performance was repeated the next day for the Composers’ Union, and the first Moscow performance took on 9 October, same year. The work gave an extraordinary impact, The composer Heinrich Neuhaus attended the premiere and later said: “It’s music of absolute genius! I was shaken and cried.” According to official commentaries at time, the dedication: “To the victims of fascism and war” and the mood of the quartet reflected Shostakovich’s thoughts on visiting the ruined city of Dresden. This explanation was then accepted and reinforced by the beginning of the fourth movement: with the three repeated notes against a low drone, which was though to represent the sound of anti-aircraft fire and the bombs in the sky above. Its tragic depth and raw passion even as a broader expression of protest and resistance, a true humanistic document of its era. The intensely personal subject matter of the work was confirmed when the literary and drama critic Isaak Glikman, a long-time personal friend of the composer, published a letter that
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