Dimitri’s Train

Genre: Chamber


Forces: String quartet, Clarinet

Length: 7 Minutes


For Bb clarinet, two violins, viola and cello, 6½’.

Best Piece for string quartet & wind solo, London Chamber Group 2003.

Sheet Music

Watermarked (Free)




Printed Copies




Played by David Campbell and The Bingham String Quartet

Programme notes

Dimitri’s Train (2002)
While working on this piece, I was reading Testimony - the controversial memoirs of Shostakovich.

It threw light on Shostakovich’s personality - as expressed in his music - and how both man and music were changed by Stalinism. What would he have written in a democracy?

How privileged I am to live and compose in the West - and how humbled by knowing it. I work without compromise, unaffected by politically acceptability. We who have not lived under it have no idea how totalitarianism affects the life of the individual. You cannot escape it by fading into the backgound; nor can fame make you safe: the prominent and the insignificant suffer together.

So Dimitri is Shostakovich, and his train is the train of Russia. Testimony describes Stalin’s reaction to the train scene in the film The Unforgettable Year 1919 - with music by Shostakovich. Dimitri’s Train is the train that was always waiting for him - but miraculously didn’t take him away to the gulags. It is all the trains in Dr Zhivago, in Solzenitsyn, in James Bond. It is all the trains of Russia.

F L Dunkin Wedd
Tonbridge Kent
January 2002


First performance:
3 April 2004, David Campbell and The Bingham String Quartet, Benslow, Herts.

First broadcast performance:
BBC Radio 3 (Saturday Classics), 1 February 2014.