String Quartet No.15 for two violins, viola and cello. E flat Minor.
Completed on May 17, 1974
Dedication: “To the Memory of Sergei Petrovich Shirinsky”.
Premieres: October 25, 1974. Leningrad. House of Composers;
November 15, 1974. Glinka Small Hall in Leningrad performed by the Taneyev Quartet;
January 11, 1975. Moscow, in the Small Hall of the Conservatoire. Performed by the Beethoven Quartet.
First Edition: Score, “Muzyka” Publishers, Moscow, 1975.
Manuscripts: The hand-written score is in the archive of the composer’s family.
“It has become a tradition for my later string quartets to be premiered in Leningrad. Usually they are performed by the Beethoven Quartet, but because of the death of the superb cellist S. Shirinsky, the ensemble was unable to play.
This was why for the first time I turned to another group of musicians - the Taneyev Quartet - who were new for me.”
(D. Shostakovich, “I dedicate to Victory....”, “Vechernii Leningrad”, November 15, 1974)
“This work strikes me as quite unique. It has six very slow parts, which are quiet almost all the way through. There are revelations in this quartet of a kind that it is difficult for a mere mortal to achieve. I feel that this quartet is like an address from another sphere, if I can use the expression - it defies description. Yet I always have the feeling that it is Shostakovich speaking to us after his death.”
(From an interview given to O. Dvornichenko. Published for the first time)