Carducci Quartet & Anton Lesser | Life, Letters And Friendship


‘Even if they cut off both my hands and I have to hold the pen in my teeth, I shall still go on writing music.’

Experience the intense emotional power of Shostakovich’s String Quartets. The Carducci Quartet paint an intimate portrait of the great composer through music and spoken word.

Shostakovich walked a delicate tightrope, balancing political pragmatism with personal expression against the backdrop of Josef Stalin’s tyrannical Soviet regime. For this concert, the composer’s music is interspersed with historical sources and letters from him to one of his closest friends. They are read by British actor Anton Lesser (Game of Thrones, Endeavour, The Crown). Together, they paint a fascinating picture of how music offered a much-needed emotional outlet in the most difficult of times.

Guiding you through the perilous politics and personal highs and lows are the Carducci Quartet. They cemented their reputation as leading interpreters of Shostakovich in 2015 with an ambitious, seven-hour marathon of all 15 quartets. The Guardian called this five-star undertaking ‘truly extraordinary’.

Download the concert programme

Anton Lesser


Carducci String Quartet
Matthew Denton, Michelle Fleming violin
Eoin Schmidt Martin viola
Emma Denton cello

Anton Lesser narrator


A selection of movements from string quartets:
Polka – Two pieces for String Quartet (1931)
Muddle instead of Music (28th January 1936, Pravda)
Quartet No 1 in C, Op 49 – I. Moderato
Letters from Dmitry Shostakovich to Isaak Glikman
Quartet No 2 in A, Op 68 – I. Overture: Moderato con moto
Zhdanov decree (1948)
Quartet No 4 in D, Op 83 – I. Allegretto
Recollections of a concert performance of Shostakovich’s Quartet No. 4
Quartet No 4 in D major, Op 83 – Il. Andantino
Telephone call with Stalin (March 1949)
Quartet No 7 in F sharp minor, Op 108 – I. Allegretto
Story of a friendship – Glikman
Quartet No 8 in C minor, Op 110 – I. Largo & II. Allegro molto
Story of a friendship – Glikman
Quartet No 10 in Ab major, Op 118 – Adagio
Story of a friendship – Glikman
Quartet No 11 in F minor, Op 122 – IV. Etude & V. Humoresque
Nikita Khrushchev, Declaration on Music in Soviet Society (March 8, 1963)
Quartet No 13 in Bb minor, Op 138 – Doppio movimento
Story of a friendship – Glikman
Quartet No 15 in E flat minor, Op 144 – VI. Epilogue: Adagio

FREE TICKETS FOR 8-25 YEAR OLDS TO SELECTED CHAMBER MUSIC CONCERTS Through the generous support of the CAVATINA Chamber Music Trust, we are able to offer young people aged 8-25 the fantastic opportunity to experience selected concerts absolutely free.

Discover more CAVATINA events this season: 

Artistic Temperaments: Pocket Sinfonia – Friday 9 February, 7.30pm

Artistic Temperaments: Liturina Fortepiano Trio – Saturday 10 February, 7.30pm

Samantha Ege & Castle of our Skins | African Tales – Sunday 26 May 7.30pm


Under 18£12.00