This three-movement quartet is over in less than twelve intense and rewarding minutes. Dmitri Shostakovich wrote this piece in 1960 in memory of his first wife, Nina, who had died six years earlier. You might hear his grief in the first and third movements’ agitation, but there is also much serenity in this music. If Shostakovich meant the music to work out his feelings about the loss of his wife, it’s easy to believe that his relationship with her was rich, conflicted, and deep.
Performed by the Emerson String Quartet (12 minutes)