Dmitri Shostakovich
String Quartet No. 8 in C Minor, Op. 110


5.0
classic

Review

by SirArthur6 USER (9 Reviews)
December 7th, 2012 | 14 replies


Release Date: 1960 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Dmitri Shostakovich’s 8th opus for a string quartet is more than just another expedition into the world of 20th century neoclassicism, it’s an unapologetic outlet of emotions ‘dedicated to the victims of fascism and war’.

‘Dedicated towards the victims of fascism and war’; this dedication has sparked much debate as to why Shostakovich attached this particular sentiment to this opus. One Google search and you’d find out about his debilitating disease, his forced joining of the Russian communist party and plans of suicide. Some say the dedication was meant as an epitaph to himself, some claim it was imposed by the authorities, but let’s not forget that Shostakovich lived through two world wars and thus saw the consequences. He saw families bereaved of loved ones, the devastating struggles war imposed, and the frantic scare of sudden attack. I personally believe this opus is documentation of the feelings of all those that were wronged by the greedy and the deluded. Even if it is the case that the authorities did tell him to write and dedicate this opus the way he did - even if it is the case that the dedication is based entirely on the struggles that he had to face himself - there is one thing that I am absolutely certain of… he meant and felt every single damn note of it.

The very opening motif of the first movement, based on the letters of his name, immediately mark this release as a deeply personal one, and as the contrapuntal motifs spiral around each other in the opening passage, an image of grief is quite clearly stated. As the texture shifts and more chromatic ideas are introduced, Shostakovich keeps the sorrowful atmosphere sustained for over five minutes without ever losing a constant sense of bleak hopelessness.

When the second movement arrives it comes with a kick, changing the plodding tempo of the first movement into a fast paced fight for survival. With greater sense of pulse and energy, Shostakovich evokes a sense panic and despair. The violins screech and the cello hysterically attacks the bass notes, conjuring an image of the desperation of the innocent having war waged against them.

The following three movements have characteristics that lie between those of the first two, but the suite doesn't ever feel repetitive or drawn out. Lasting only 20 minutes, Shostakovich gives us a heartfelt, concise, yet fully explored account of the emotions felt by many in the early 20th century.

With every single listen I have of this gloriously emotional suite it becomes more and more apparent to me that the dedication was a genuine gesture of empathy towards those who faced misfortune. It’s a dark, but incredibly beautiful and well put together opus of music that speaks volumes more than any lyric could, and stands out as being of the best 20th century neoclassicism has to offer.



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user ratings (20)
Chart.
4.2
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
SirArthur6
December 7th 2012


213 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

This is one of my favourite things ever so I did my best not to fanboy during this review.



As always, feedback on the review would be great.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2012


16389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

nice, pos, keep them coming

mindleviticus
December 7th 2012


8496 Comments


pos so fucking hard like this is amazing

SirArthur6
December 7th 2012


213 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks guys. I think I prefer doing shorter reviews and making it succinct rather than over-analysing things and making a tl;dr review.

menawati
Contributing Reviewer
December 7th 2012


16389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

"I think I prefer doing shorter reviews and making it succinct"



best option, if its short a few people might read it, if it's long no-one will

toxin.
December 7th 2012


12851 Comments


I'm actually not a huge fan here, mainly because the (relevant) intro was over half the review. The descriptions of the first two movements were great and succinct.

This, however, just reeks of laziness to me:
"The following three movements have characteristics that lie between those of the first two, but the suite doesn't ever feel repetitive or drawn out."

Just my personal opinion though---if you're satisfied with the review, I certainly wouldn't change it.

MO
December 8th 2012


19618 Comments


fuck I love shostakovitch good on ya for reviewing this

excellent piece

MO
December 8th 2012


19618 Comments


heh not always

but yea my buddy plays for the local symphony on cello

he's been throwing me amazing classical for so long now

MO
December 8th 2012


19618 Comments


it helps keep you level, all the while i'll be blasting metal like mad only to be brought back down to earth through an amazing classical piece

really puts into perspective how modern music will never in a million years touch the classics

Cygnatti
July 3rd 2013


24941 Comments


That may be most meaningful thing I've ever heard captain say.

Digging: katie dey - asdfasdf

treeqt.
November 27th 2013


13856 Comments


dmitri is totes a qt

treeqt.
November 30th 2013


13856 Comments


dat 7th though

SirArthur6
November 30th 2013


213 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Dmitri is one of my few man crushes, alongside Rachmaninoff of course

MO
November 30th 2013


19618 Comments


"dat 7th though"

all about the 10th omg so amazing



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