Sergei Prokofiev (1891‒1953)
Visions fugitives (arr. Sergei Samsonov)
Lera Auerbach (*1973)
String Quartet No. 5 Songs of Alkonost
Dmitri Shostakovich (1906‒1975)
String Quartet No. 8 in C minor op. 110
All three composers were born in Russia. Yet how different that country was – during the Soviet era in Prokofiev and Shostakovich’s day – and later in the 1970s, when Lera Auerbach was born in the Urals. “Russian” – the inverted commas are intentional – cannot be reduced to a single common denominator , and certainly not to what is time and again generally referred to as “the Russian soul.” Prokofiev wrote his Visions fugitives between 1915 and 1917 as a collection of 20 piano pieces that refer to a verse by the Russian poet Konstantin Balmont: “In every fleeting apparition I see worlds, full of the interactions of the colours of the rainbow…” Shostakovich composed his eighth string quartet in Saxon Switzerland in 1960, with images of the devastated city of Dresden before his eyes. It is undoubtedly one of his most personal, intimate works. Lera Auerbach’s Songs of Alkonost also have something to do with Dresden: the work was commissioned by the Staatskapelle Dresden and premièred at the city’s Semperoper in 2011.