String Quartet No. 8 by Dimitri Shostakovich

Throughout the Suzuki Books, and even as early as Suzuki Book 1, we learn to play music in such a way that conveys the “character” or “mood” associated with a piece, not just the notes and bowings of the piece itself.  With so much Baroque dance music – Minuets, Gavottes, Bourrees, and Gigues – interspersed throughout the Suzuki repertoire, we’re often focusing on the lighthearted aspects of musical moods.  However, music can also convey the other end of the human emotive spectrum, and often in incredibly powerful ways.

This is as true in Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 8 as perhaps anywhere else.  Written in a deeply troubled personal time in the composer’s life, his String Quartet No. 8 reflects the grief he was feeling.  It’s a haunting, beautiful, and powerful piece of music, and one I hope many of our students will have a chance to play for themselves in the course of their musical studies.

This particular recording is by the Borodin Quartet, who’s interpretations of countless selections from the classical repertoire are among the very pinnacle of chamber music.