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Shostakovich wrote his Quartet No. 8 in C minor Op110 in three days during a visit to Dresden, where the devastation inflicted by British and American bombers at the request of Russia appalled him so greatly that he dedicated the work to the 'memory of the victims of fascism and war'. But he included himself as a victim, using music that was largely autobiographical - it makes considerable use of a figure derived from his initials, DSCH, and is peppered with self-quotation. The emotion of this score is direct and deeply disturbing. Shostakovich regarded this as his last work; his friend Lev Lebedinsky recalls that Shostakovich suggested the quartet was his own epitaph, preceding his planned suicide.

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