String quartets / Arnold Schönberg
Novus String Quartet
String Quartet V: Schönberg/Beethoven
- Duration 1h 50, one interval
- Sunday, 13 September 2015
- Philharmonie, Chamber Music Hall
String quartets are a genre inviting the audience to concentrated listening, yet in Arnold Schönberg’s first quartet those allowing their attention to wander are rewarded: after all, there is, as Anton Webern commented, “so to speak, not one single note in this work that does not become a topic.” However, it necessitates interpreters with a pronounced sense for balance – like something that young Korean Novus String Quartet is celebrated for, not least for the well-balanced nature of its performing style. Schönberg incidentally confessed that he sought advice from Beethoven while composing: he learned from him “how to create variety out of unity; how to create new forms out of basic material; how much can be achieved by slight modifications if not by developing variation out of rather insignificant, little formulations.” Schönberg’s first string quartet that was given an opus number follows a Beethoven quartet that also represents a significant beginning: it was Quartet Op. 127, after all, with which the composer in 1825 introduced the legendary series of his late quartets, breaking the mould in terms of both form and expressivity.