Hear the best back story in the history of 20th century music.
The meaning of Shostakovich’s greatest chamber work, an emotionally wrenching piece he called his “ideologically depraved quartet,” has been contested for more than 50 years. Written in just three days in a white-hot burst of inspiration after visiting the bombed-out portions of Dresden, the quartet was officially dedicated to the victims of fascism and war. But did Shostakovich actually intend it as veiled criticism of Soviet rule meant to undermine the Communist regime? Or as a requiem for himself, a powerful testament to his own uniquely personal experience?