Category Archives: Dmitry Shostakovich

The Oistrakh Quartet At the Tarusa Winter Festival, 2013

The town and vicinity of Tarusa are well-known for the love that great Russian artists, musicians, and writers had for it. I mentioned previously that Marina Tsvetaeva, Konstantin Paustovsky, Viktor Borisov-Musatov, and Nikolai Zabolotsky all lived in Tarusa at one or another period of their lives. However, there was one man-of-arts who acknowledged the salubrity of Tarussian air and the glory of its nature, and built himself a dacha in some distance from Tarusa town centre. This was Svyatoslav Richter, one of the outstanding pianists of the 20th c.

Richter founded several annual musical events, some of them specifically targeted at young audiences and musicians. The Svyatoslav Richter Foundation regularly organises the Tarusa musical festival, and this year there was a special event in early January, called “Tarusa Winter Festival”, that lasted from 5 to 7 of January, 2013. I attended it on January 6, 2013 – and was lucky to listen to the David Oistrakh string quartet perform  Edvard Grieg, Maurice Ravel, and Dmitry Shostakovich.
The David Oistrakh Quartet: Andrey Baranov, Sergei Pischugin,
Fedor Belugin, and Alexey Zhilin (courtesy of the official website)
The quartet consists of Andrey Baranov, the first violinist, who symbolically won the first prize at the Queen Elizabeth International Violin Competition 75 years after it had been won by David Oistrakh himself. Just as Richter is considered one of the best pianists of the 20th c., so is Oistrakh the best violinist. His legacy lives in the second violinist of the quartet, Sergei Pischugin, who was Oistrakh’s student. Over the course of his career Pischugin played in the Glinka and subsequently the Shostakovich Quartets. With the latter he recorded virtually all string quartet repertoire existing. The violist Fedor Belugin played with Pischugin in the Shostakovich Quartet and has been successful at combining teaching activities at the Moscow Conservatoire and the Gnesin Music School with both quartet and solo performances. Finally, the cellist Alexey Zhilin is considered one of the best Russian cellists of his generation. He often performs as a soloist with chamber and symphonic orchestras in Russia and abroad.
In 2012 the family of David Oistrakh donned the famous violinist’s name to the quartet.
So, on January 6, 2013 the David Oistrakh Quartet performed Edvard Grieg’s Quartet no. 1, Op. 27, G-moll and Maurice Ravel’s Quartet F-dur. As it happens, however, the public was so fond of the performances, the quartet had to play a bonus piece… and that was Polka by Dmitry Shostakovich. The videos below are Ravel’s Quartet F-Dur, Allegro moderato, tres doux; and Shostakovich. I also included a recording of Shostakovich’s Polka by the Rasumowsky Quartet.