Shostakovich: Life, Letters & Friendship

Experience the intense emotional power of Shostakovich’s String Quartets as the Carducci Quartet paint an intimate portrait of the great composer through music and spoken word.

Carducci Quartet @Barbican

Take a journey deep into Shostakovich’s psyche, as he walked a delicate tightrope balancing political pragmatism with personal expression against the backdrop of Josef Stalin’s tyrannical Soviet regime. Historical sources and letters from the composer to one of his closest confidantes, read by actor and director Samuel West, are paired with extracts from contemporaneous quartets, painting a fascinating picture of how music offered a much-needed emotional outlet in the most difficult of times.

Guiding you through the perilous politics and personal highs and lows are the Carducci Quartet. One of the UK’s leading string quartets, their credentials as leading interpreters of Shostakovich were cemented in 2015 with an ambitious, seven-hour marathon of all 15 quartets – a five-star undertaking The Guardian described as ‘truly extraordinary’.

This performance will finish at approximately 9.30pm, including a 20 minute interval. Visit website for programme details.


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