String quartets / Arnold Schönberg

Ilya Gringolts, James Boyd, Nicolas Altstaedt

String Trio: Schönberg/Rihm

Schadography “Hexenspucke”

Schadography “Hexenspucke”

© Wikimedia Commons

  • Duration 1h 50, one interval

Past Dates

16:00 work introduction

Schönberg composed the string trio in 1946, towards the end of his life. His play with timbres, dense rhythmic and melodic courses makes the string trio a music from which an almost extraterrestrial and dreamlike reality speaks to us. Wolfgang Rihm’s “Musik für drei Streicher” (Music for Three Strings) ignored all stylistic classifications in 1977 with a physicality of sound, rugged editing, the interplay between the unruly will to express and filigree sound gestures. Stored in Rihm’s expansive composition are echoes of Beethoven’s late string quartets, not as citations but fitted to the musical flow. Also connecting Rihm and Schönberg on the orchestration front is the conception of the composer as a seismographer of the interior and exterior world and of composition as a transcription of momentary emotion.

Both compositions pose an enormous challenge to the musicians. Schönberg himself viewed the performance of his work as exceptionally difficult, even almost impossible and only feasible for virtuoso musicians. Three such exceptional musicians in the form of Ilya Gringolt, James Boyd and Nicolas Altstaedt come together on this evening. As virtuoso soloists and experienced chamber musicians, familiar with the musical languages of the Baroque, Classical and the 20th as well as 21st centuries, the essence of their performance together as a trio is what makes their sound unique.

Arnold Schönberg [1874–1951]
String trio for violin, viola and cello op. 45 [1946]

Wolfgang Rihm [*1952]
Musik für 3 Streicher [1977]

A Berliner Festspiele / Musikfest Berlin event