String quartets / Arnold Schönberg

Arditti Quartet

String Quartet VI: Schönberg/Ferneyhough

Scroll and tuning pegs of two violins

Scroll and tuning pegs of two violins

© Wikimedia Commons

  • Duration 1h 15, one interval

Past Dates

10:00 work introduction

Goethe famously compared the string quartet with “four rational people conversing”. Yet the relationships that result when four people meet can be more diverse and exciting than the most sensible conversation. That’s British composer Brian Ferneyhough’s opinion at least, who in his 6th String Quartet also investigates relationships between music and “human gesturality, to human temporal sensibility, to somatic tensions, to heartbeat and breathing”. Ferneyhough’s score is as highly complex as these processes. That it comes across as equally lively is down to the intensive exchange taking place during rehearsals that characterizes the long-term relationship between Ferneyhough and the Arditti String Quartet. Intense communication is also a major focus in the premiere savvy world-class ensemble’s performance of Schönberg’s 3rd String Quartet, which the composer premiered in close consultation with the Kolisch-Quartett. Full of enthusiasm about the work, Anton Webern wrote to Schönberg: “Every new piece of yours redefines my entire world view.”

Arnold Schönberg [1874–1951]
String Quartet No. 3 op. 30 [1927]

Brian Ferneyhough [*1943]
String Quartet No. 6 [2010]

Arditti Quartet
Irvine Arditti, violin
Ashot Sarkissjan, violin
Ralf Ehlers, viola
Lucas Fels, cello

A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event