This CD is subtitled Music from Vienna 1 - (teachers, pupils, tradition
and renewal in Vienna). Alexander Zemlinsky was composition teacher and
lover to the future Alma Mahler, and was an important teacher and friend
Zemlinsky's Op. 4 Quartet in A major is a homage to Brahms, its last movement
based on the Brahms musical motto F-A-F. Harmonically advanced, but short
of atonality, it is a rich, saturated score.
In Schoenberg's student days, Brahms was a great model (later he orchestrated
one of the Brahms piano quartets). His 1897 quartet, premiered at the end
of 1898, made him marked as a composer to be watched. It shows also some
Dvorak influence. Only a year later came Verklarte Nacht, an astonishingly
rapid development of his style.
As Schoenberg's pupil from 1904, Webern composed many works for string quartet,
the 1905 Langsamer Satz a rich movement in the late romantic tradition.
This programme of late romantic music contains nothing to upset those for
whom the names of Schoenberg and Webern still strike fear and resistance.
It is all well played and satisfactorily recorded in summer 1999 at London's
new Contemporary Music venue, The Warehouse at Waterloo. There are useful
notes, which describe the crucial historical succession in Vienna at the
end of the last-but-one century.
Peter Grahame Woolf