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The Villiers Quartet play Tishchenko and Shostakovich

Villiers Quartert and Julian Gallant

Boris Tishchenko (1939-2010) String Quartet No.5 Opus 90 (1984) 1. Allegro 2. Allegretto dolce 3. Allegro con moto Composed in 1984, when Tishchenko was around 45 years old 31 minutes (approximately)

Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975) Piano Quintet in G minor Opus 57 1.Prelude: Lento 2.Fugue: Adagio 3.Scherzo: Allegretto 4.Intermezzo: Lento 5.Finale: Allegretto

The Villiers Quartet James Dickenson, violin Tamaki Higashi,violin Carmen Flores, viola Nick Stringfellow, cello

Julian Gallant, piano

The Villiers Quartet (VQ) is based in London, UK. Recently named Quartet-in-Association with the Northern Lights Symphony Orchestra, the Villiers Quartet has created its own ground-breaking chamber music residency and concert series in collaboration with St. Andrew’s Church and IntoUniversity in the London Borough of Hammersmith [&] Fulham. In March 2012 the VQ became a featured ensemble of the UK’s Making Music Concert Promoter’s Group after being selected from a pool of over 100 applicants.

At the forefront of innovation and creativity in music, nothing is outside the VQ’s repertoire as they continue to define the string quartet for the 21st century. They regularly perform concerts exploring the relationship of chamber music with dance, art, film, literature, digital media and technology. They have collaborated with actor Richard Mulholland in a literary performance of Haydn’s The Seven Last Words of Christ. They launched the VQ New Works Competition, reaching a global audience with their online competition allowing internet audiences to vote for the winner. The Quartet performed at the legendary London jazz venue Ronnie Scott’s as part of the Brit Jazz Fest with sublime vocalist Seaming To.

Projects for the 2012-2013 season include UK premieres of works by Robert Still and Russian master Tischenko with the British Music Society and Pushkin House. In 2013 the VQ will make its New York debut as part of its USA tour. The Villiers Quartet is proud to be generously sponsored by the Delius and Bush Trusts, and by the VQ Supporters Circle.

Boris Tishchenko

The career of Boris Tishchenko spanned the modest thaw under Khrushchev, the Brezhnev freeze, Gorbachev’s perestroika, the great leap into liberal economics under Yeltsin and was still going strong though the Vladimir Putin’s first two terms and into the era of Medvedev. He was Shostakovich’s favourite pupil and, for 50 years, a major figure in St. Petersburg musical life.

Tishchenko’s musical work is little known outside specialised circles. A renowned professor of composition, he was the author of a great variety of works. Some touch upon a – to occidental ears – “new age” mysticism, but most build on the tradition of Shostakovich. It is extraordinary to think that Tishenko’s cello concerto, created and recorded by none other than Rostropovich, was actually re-orchestrated by the master in homage to his young disciple!

Read more about Boris Tishchenko

The Piano Quintet in G Minor, opus 57, by Dmitri Shostakovich is one of his best known chamber works. Like the great piano quintets of Mozart and Brahms, it is written for piano and string quartet (two violins, viola and cello).

Shostakovich began work on the piece in the summer of 1940 and completed it on 14 September. The quartet was written for the Beethoven Quartet, as were most of his string quartets, and premiered by them with Shostakovich himself at the piano on November 23, 1940 at the Moscow Conservatory, to great success. In 1941, it was awarded the Stalin Prize.

It was easier for Shostakovich to maintain that astringent, silky style for which he’d become so famous in the 1920s in chamber music than it was in grand orchestral works and opera. By 1940, of course life had moved on from the bizarre censorship of the Lady Macbeth years and was was in the wind. Behind the decoration and outward joyousness of this work lie elements of utter tragedy.

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