Quartet Movement in E-flat major (Shostakovich)

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The Quartet Movement in E-flat major, also known as the Unfinished Quartet,[1] is the first movement of a projected string quartet in E-flat major by Dmitri Shostakovich, that was rediscovered in 2003.


Shostakovich's Ninth String Quartet had a difficult creation process, with at least one completed version being destroyed by the composer in 1961, as described by Elizabeth Wilson in her biography Shostakovich: A Life Remembered, "Shostakovich finished the first version of the Ninth Quartet in the autumn of 1961. In a fit of depression, or, to quote his own words, 'in an attack of healthy self-criticism, I burnt it in the stove. This is the second such case in my creative practice. I once did a similar trick of burning my manuscripts, in 1926.'"[2]

Until 2003 it was believed that nothing had survived of the earlier version(s). In that year, musicologists Olga Digonskaya and Olga Dombrovskaya found a manuscript entitled "Quartet No. 9/I DShostakovich/op.113' Key Es-dur, tempo Allegretto".[a][1] which comprised both a complete rough draft of a string quartet movement and a partially completed fair score of the same movement.

Performance history

In early 2005, Roman Ledenyov created a performing version from the rough draft, which the Borodin Quartet premiered on January 15, 2005.[1][3]

In 2006 the Alexandra String Quartet recorded the movement for CD.[4][5]

As part their 20th anniversary concert series entitled the Fragments Project the Brentano String Quartet commissioned composer Stephen Hartke to write a companion piece to the movement. The piece entitled "From The Fifth Book" was completed in 2011.[6]


The composition consists of a single movement marked Allegretto and lasts around seven to eight minutes in performance.[7]


  1. ^ Opus 113 was later assigned to the Thirteenth Symphony.
  • Clements, Dominy (August 12, 2012). "SHOSTAKOVICH String Quartets: the Alexandra Quartet FCL1988/1991". Musicweb.com. Retrieved March 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  • Hartke, Stephen (2011). "From The Fifth Book for String Quartet (2011)". Retrieved December 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  • Heyer, Mark, ed. (2011). Dmitri Shostakovich:Catalog of Works. Hamburg: Sikorski Musikverlage.
  • Hulme, Derek C. (2010). Dmitri Shostakovich Catalogue: The First Hundred Years and Beyond. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0810872641.
  • Kozinn, Allan (March 22, 2012). "Choose Your Adventure: Ending the Unfinished, The Brentano String Quartet at Carnegie Hall". The New York Times. Retrieved March 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  • Thomson, Michelle Dulak (December 18, 2012). "String Quartet CDs for the Holidays". San Francisco Classical Voice. Retrieved March 2013. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  • Wilson, Elizabeth (1995). Shostakovich : a life remembered (1st Princeton pbk. printing. ed.). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691044651.
  • "Unfinished Quartet, Dmitri Shostakovich". Hal Leonard Online. 2012. Retrieved December 2012. Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)

External links

  • Ledbetter, Steven (October 18, 2011). "Brentano String Quartet Connecting". The Boston Musical Intelligencer. Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  • Bergen, Violet (March 21, 2012). "Brentano String Quartet at Weill Recital Hall – Fragments: Connecting Past and Present (II)". Classicalsource.com. Retrieved 2017-09-05.
  • "Shostakovich / Unfinished Quartet - Realization using Garritan Personal Orchestra on Youtube". Retrieved 2017-09-05.
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