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NCS 2012/13 EXPLORATIONS

Tonight, we embark on NCS 2012/13 EXPLORATIONS with a focus on the music of Dmitri Shostakovich and Stalinist Russia.

NCS musicians will perform a free Manning Chamber Series concert this evening at 7:30pm at William Peace University, and included in that performance will be Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8, his most popular and oft-performed quartet.

While it's the only one of his quartets to be composed outside of Russia - he wrote it in just three days in July 1960 while in East Germany - it maintains the melancholy mood his work is known for.

Publicly, Shostakovich said the quartet was inspired by the sight of Dresden, the German city heavily bombed during WWII. But, privately, he described it as a eulogy for himself, and in a letter said, "I've been thinking that when I die, it's hardly likely that anybody will ever write a work dedicated to my memory. So I have decided to write one myself. The dedication could be printed on the cover: 'Dedicated to the memory of the composer of this quartet.'"

And, in fact, when he died in 1975, his Eighth String Quartet was played in his honor.

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