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THE SOUND OF DOSTOJEVSKI

M. Weinberg – String quartet nr.5 in Bes, op.27

L. van Beethoven – String quartet nr.3 in D, op.18/3

P.I. Tchaikovsky – String quartet nr.1 in D, op.11

Fjodor Dostoyevsky never received a musical education, but was a dedicated music lover throughout his life. This programme represents Dostoyevsky in sound, through the music he loved, the music that was composed during his lifetime, and the music by later composers that were inspired by his works. 

One of Dostoyevsky’s favorite composers was Beethoven: “In Beethoven there’s always passion and love. He is a poet of love, happiness, and of the pangs of love!”. Beethoven’s very first string quartet, Op.18 No.3, suits this description well: lovingly and hearty, with a surprising amount of depth for such an early work. 

Dostoyevsky and Tchaikovsky crossed paths several times. Not surprisingly, considering the fact that both men were renowned artists during the golden years of Russian Romanticism. Tchaikovsky’s first string quartet is a perfect representation of this cultural era. 

Towards the end of his career, Weinberg, the ‘third great Soviet composer’, composed the opera “The Idiot”, based on Dostoyevsky’s famous novel. Weinberg, a well-read man, often referred to great Russian writers in his personal letters. His fifth string quartet is an early work, which he wrote some years after fleeing Poland, because of the prosecution of Jews. Shostakovich’s influence is ever present in Weinberg’s works, but in his string quartets one can really discover his own personal musical language.