Tag Archives: W.A. Mozart

Preview – Alexander String Quartet Performs Mozart and Shostakovich at Baruch Performing Art Center (4/25)


  • W.A. Mozart:  String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K. 590
  • Dmitri Shostakovich:  String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp major, Op. 108

Venue: Engelman Recital Hall at Baruch Performing Arts Center, Manhattan, New York


  • Zakarias Grafilo, first violin
  • Fred Lifsitz, second violin
  • Paul Yarbrough, viola
  • Sandy Wilson, cello

The String Quartet No. 23 in F Major, K.590 was written in 1790. This piece is the third and last quartet of the so called ‘Prussian’ quartets dedicated to the king of Prussia, Friedrich Wilhelm ll. The king was a amateur cellist so I guest thats why Mozart made the cello part stand out from the other instruments. Mozart was not financially stable during this period,writing to Puchberg around 12 June 1790: ‘ I have now been obliged to give away my quartets (those very difficult works) for a mere song, simply in order to have some cash in hand to meet my present difficulties’. The quartets, published by Artaria in 1791, lack a dedication (Eisen and Keefe 2007, 184). I want to see how Mozart make the cello part stand out from the other instruments. I expect this piece to have a royal sound.

Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp major, Op. 108 was completed in March 1960. Shostakovich had just extricated himself from his unsuccessful second marriage, Shostakovich dedicated his seventh quartet to the memory of his first wife, Nina (Fay 2000, 215-16). This piece was performed by the Beethoven Quartet in Leningrad on May 15 1960 for first time. I wonder why the Alexander String Quartet choose to perform this piece in major key. I guess that Shostakovich choose that specific minor key for a reason and thats something I will discover when I hear this piece in both keys.


Eisen Cliff, Simon P. Keefe. The Cambridge Mozart Encyclopedia. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007.

Fay, Laurel E. Shostakovich: A life. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.



Preview – Mozart and Shostakovich at Alexander String Quartet (4/25)


  • W.A. Mozart, String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K. 590
  • Dmitri Shostakovich, String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp major, Opus 108

Venue: Engelman Recital Hall, Baruch Preforming Arts Center, Manhattan, NY

Performers: Alexander String Quartet; Zakarias Grafilo, first violin; Fredrick Lifsitz, second violin; Pauly Yarbrough, viola; Sandy Wilson, cello


W.A. Mozart’s String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K 590 is one of three quartets that he composed under the commission of Frederick William II of Prussia. It was the last one of the three and was composed in June 1790. “This was a time of bitter care and poverty, which made it a painful effort to work at the quartets, but there is even less trace of effort in them than in the earlier ones (Jahn 16).”

Mozart brings the violoncello to the front since this is the instrument that his patron plays. This forces the viola to take the bass part and sets all of the instruments higher than usual. The first violin also alternates a lot with the violoncello. I will look for this when I listen to this piece live as I believe that this will affect how this will sound. This will make it unusual as compared to other quartets since the viola will take the bass part instead of the cello, and the cello will be emphasized.

Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 7 in F sharp major, Opus 108 was written in 1960. “An interesting point is that both the first and last movements are divided into two halves, duple and triple. Where the first movement’s motif has a falling line, the finale’s rises, but the switch to triple time half way through is the same in both movements. Another factor shared by these outer movements is their fluency of line, taking in its stride the various rhythmic irregularities that are used (Kay 53).” This seems unusual compared to other quartets and I will listen for this at the quartet.

I’m looking forward to the quartet as I heard nothing but great things about The Alexander String Quartet.

Jahn, Otto. Life of Mozart. New York: Cooper Square Publishers, Inc., 1970. Print.

Kay, Norman. Shostakovich. London: Oxford University Press, 1971. Print.

Preview – Alexander String Quartet performs Mozart and Shostakovich (April 25th)

  1. Dmitri Shostakovich, String Quartet No.7 in F sharp major, Op. 108
  2. Wolgang Amadeus Mozart, String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K. 590
  • Baruch Performing Arts Center – Newman Vertical Campus Baruch College: 25th St. (bet. 3rd and Lexington Aves.), NYC
  • The Alexander String Quartet
   Dmitri Shostakovich was a soviet russian composer and pianist in the 20th century. At that time when Shostakovich started composing, there was also a war occurring between the Soviet Union and Germany. Shostakovich had composed many string quartet’s including the String Quartet No.7 in F sharp major, Op. 108. This piece was very popular. Shostakovich composed this piece for his wife. (Fay, Laurel 27) This piece that was composed for his wife would be meaningful and interesting to hear.
   Mozart was very undemanding child when he was young. He believed in bringing honor and fortune to his family. Even though his family would struggle fincancially, he was always willing to help out due to his father being passed away. Mozart was always content that his pieces will bring interest to the wide-eyed general populace.(Solomon, Maynard 48)  Mozart who wrote in many standard genres, composed the piece String Quartet No. 23 in F major, K. 590. This piece was very meaningful because it was one of the pieces in which has been acknowledged by the people. (Solomon, Maynard 20) This piece was made for the  Friedrich Wilhem II who was the King of Prussia. It was also one of the last pieces that he has composed. (Solomon, Maynard 34)
Fay, Laurel E. Shostakovich: A Life. New York: Oxford UP, 2000.
Solomon, Maynard. Mozart: A Life. New York, NY: HarperCollinsPublishers, 1995.