Concise Version : (for executive-types and those in a hurry)

If you have any suggestions for improvements please:

Verbose version: (for the curious and the bored)

These pages began a long time ago as a series of personal notes which I wrote while trying to fathom Shostakovich's string quartets. Fifteen quartets were far too many to recall from memory so I began to scribble down facts and thoughts. In stages, and over many years, I returned to the quartets and my notes expanded. Eventually in 2004 I decided to publish them on the internet vainly imagining that if they interested me they might interest others.

Years went by before I added 'Google Analytics' to the pages and was amazed to see that more than a hundred visitors a day were going to the site from all over the world many of whom returned. But with this "success" I became suddenly aware of a responsibility which was missing when my notes were purely for private consumption: that of accuracy. Correcting so many errors over the past years makes me believe that many more are still lurking well hidden (or still worse - very apparent to anyone except myself!) in the thousands of words that have now accumulated.

Because of my acute awareness of fallibility I have warned any reader not to take anything too literally in my disclaimer, but here I wish to indulge in the opposite pursuit: to try, with your assistance, to achieve the highest standards of accuracy. Such a quest for perfection is unachievable by any human-being on their own but with your help it might be obtained. So please let me know if you believe there are inaccuracies concerning dates, persons, locations or in any musical analysis. And of course any typing errors!

If one problem is 'content' another is 'presentation'. Perhaps the main reason for starting the site was to educate myself about website programming. In 2004 everything was simple: it was all just HTML and Frames! It was only when I seriously returned to the format of the website in 2010 that I realised how out of date its presentation was. Intensive effort resulted in version 2 which was written in 'XHTML strict' and used 'CSS'. This present version - version 3 - contains embedded links to other sites (principally YouTube) which, I hope, will be a substantial enhancement. Version 4 - written in HTML 5 or its destined successor - will not be far away.

Every 'improvement' is, however, a potential failure on a particular browser under certain conditions. In checking my pages I have used 'Firefox' and also though not so consistently, 'Chrome', 'Internet Explorer', 'Opera' and 'Safari'. But testing these pages in all these browsers' versions is a task beyond my human patience. So here again your feedback will be helpful. If you can help please:

P.S. I cannot promise to answer you all, but I certainly will be grateful for your feedback.