The Quartet No 5, op. 24 (1975), is dedicated to the composer Mechislav Vainberg, Basner's bosom friend. This is the kind of an apex, which signs the semantic outcome of the great master's work in the quartet genre during almost thirty years. The Quartet consists of two movements with independent substances, meanwhile united by the common episode, the kind of key to the whole composition.
The first movement's elaboration crosses it through with thoroughly mastered laconic concentrated outburst fulfilled as improvisations. After the main explosion in the middle of the first movement there follows the gentle fragment, resembling some forest rustles and birds' singing awakening at dawn. However, soon there returns that turbulent, alarming mood, staining sounds in startling colours.
The second movement borrows the intonations from the widely known Basner's song “What Motherland Starts With” from the film “Shield and Sword”. The melody seems to undergo different durability tests and trials in various rhythms, preserving meanwhile that vividness and cordiality of intonations, once found by its author. This agitation is akin to the quartet's first movement in many aspects. Approaching the final's termination, listeners recognize the imitation of the moving train (coinciding with the song's line “from the rumbling of the train…”). The end revives the episode of the morning forest and twittering birdies from the first movement reminding of the same song's line “… from the starling's primavera tune…”). Then everything melts away and vapours in silence. This melting occurs to be so inherent in the Shostakovich's finals of the last years (just remember the Symphony No 15).
Apparently the Quartet No 5 is Veniamin Basner's homage to his Teacher, having passed away exactly in the year of this composition's emergence.