Shostakovich’s Tenth String Quartet (Barshai’s arrangement as the Chamber Symphony Op. 118a) comes from the early years of the Brezhnev era. This deeply-personal work was dedicated to Shostakovich’s closest musical confidant, the Polish-Jewish refugee composer Mieczysław Weinberg. Just as Dvořák had brought Czech elements to the Austro-German traditions, Weinberg brought the music of his heritage into the otherwise restrictive world of Soviet Realism.
Hans Gál also knew the misery of exile, and, like Weinberg, experienced the indignity of detention by his adopted country when he was interned by the UK government as a so-called ‘enemy alien’ following his settlement here.
The programme concludes with another transcription of a string quartet, Kenneth Woods’ acclaimed arrangement of Viktor Ullmann’s Third String Quartet, written in the Terezin detention camp near Prague where he, along with thousands of other Jews, was held by the Nazis prior to his murder in Auschwitz in October 1944.Read More