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Second Viennese School - Schoenberg, Berg, Webern / LaSalle Qt


Release Date: 10/25/1990 
Label:  Deutsche Grammophon   Catalog #: 419994   Spars Code: ADD 
Composer:  Arnold SchoenbergAnton WebernAlban Berg
Performer:  Walter LevinHenry MeyerPeter KamnitzerJack Kirstein,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  LaSalle String Quartet
Number of Discs: 4 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 3 Hours 58 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The LaSalle Quartet is able to meet all this great music on its own terms at interpretative and executive levels, and respond whole-heartedly to its highly emotional qualities.

...[W]e get an initial recording of Schoenberg's D major Quartet of 1897, the first important work of his performed in public. It is the earliest music here and may be described as Dvofelian in its ideas, especially in the outer movements, Brahmsian in the way these are developed. While not comparable for interest with the other items, this does show the composer's mastery of traditional procedures, notwithstanding his completely reworking the first two movements on Zemlinsky's advice and making changes to the finale. Though published by Faber
Read more only in 1966, Schoenberg retained the score throughout his life, and his evident affection for this open, friendly music is understandable...

...The impact of all these works derives partly from tension between deeply expressive content and the unrelenting discipline with which their material is shaped ; this equation is balanced in a variety of ways and in [Schoenberg's] Op. 7 there is an extraordinary reconciliation of spontaneous feeling with close argument. Dating from 1904-6, it is a vast single movement of rare beauty, with passages modelled on Schubert (Quintet, D956) and, again, Brahms, though far more personal in expression than the 1897 Quartet. It is, indeed, the best introduction to Schoenberg, and I believe he rather overestimated listeners' difficulties when, long after its composition, he said if he had to write the work again he would make four separate movements.

...[T]he LaSalle Quartet...is able to meet all this great music on its own terms at interpretative and executive levels, and...respond whole-heartedly to Op. 7's highly emotional music...

...The LaSalle bring grace and warmth to [Schoenberg's Op. 10]... Mostly when accompanying Margaret Price they play with marvellous delicacy... Less luxuriant of texture than Op. 7, this Op. 10 Quartet advances further, and in particular the last two movements venture far beyond traditional tonality, even by late nineteenth-century standards. With [Book of the Hanging Gardens] Op. 15, which also uses Stefan George texts, it marks Schoenberg's crucial move into free atonality. The appositeness of Entruecking's first line—"Ich fühle luft von anderem planeten"—has often been remarked, yet two decades later, in 1927, when he composed his Third Quartet Op. 30, Schoenberg had gone much further. It should be admitted that the last two Quartets are less radiant than the early pair, but this hermetic aspect is due to a greater complexity and condensation of the composer's thought—not to the 12-tone bogy, which is a prime red herring for listeners and best forgotten. Op. 30 is an intensely agitated score and one, like Bartok and late Beethoven, that gives hearers little respite: so much happens at once. I like the objective air the Kohon [Quartet] bring to it (STGBY618, 10/69), but, again, the LaSalle are warmer, and this may help newcomers; there are places, too, as in the Rondo, when they get the rhythm flowing more naturally.

Like Op. 30, the final Quartet Op. 37, composed almost another ten years later in 1936, appears severely classical in organisation beside the romantic exuberance of Opp. 7 and 10. In organisation yet not in feeling, and the Kohon project this music's explosive vehemence, especially in the outer movements, to memorable effect. Predictably, the LaSalle push less hard, but they are just as much inside this music, and they are particularly successful in putting over the Comodo's oddly rarefied strength. They remind us, too, that whatever its complications, the basic gesture of this music remains as Viennese as Schubert or Brahms in their more relaxed moods.

...It should be emphasised that despite its low opus number Berg's Op. 3 is a mature work composed when he was 25, and, in common with the posthumously published Webern Quartet of 1905, is far more advanced than Schoenberg's D major written at 23. Of course, they had the advantage of Schoenberg as a teacher, whereas he was almost self-taught; also, Op. 3 was revised in 1920 and again in 1924. A powerful expression of Berg's individuality, it still has debts to his master's Op. 7, but its supercharged assertion seems more directly comparable with Schoenberg's Op. 37, no matter how different their manner of organisation. The catalogue's lack of a satisfying account of Berg's Lyric Suite (1926) hitherto is lamentable, and DGG should issue the LaSalle coupling of this and Op. 3 separately, for they are at their finest in this composer. Consider the Allegro mysterioso, which here is like a hovering cloud of sparks, passionate yet insubstantial. Maybe the closing Largo desolato needs more deliberation, greater heaviness, but remarkable again is their handling of the last page, when, as if across an infinite distance, the music spins itself into silence.

For Webern the LaSalle have a formidable rival in the Quartetto Italiano. It would be impossible to surpass the LaSalle's refinement with No. 4 of Op. 5, yet generally the Italiano make these pages sound more dramatic, more lyrical. It is the same with the Op. 9 Bagatelles: obviously both performances are in the highest class as quartet playing, but the Italiano project these jewelled fragments with greater emphasis by which I don't mean more loudly. Webern's Quartet Op. 28 is a more remote work, having a comparable relation to his Opp. 5 and 9 as Schoenberg's last two Quartets to his first. Again it is the Quartetto Italiano who tell us most... Readers seeking to add all these masterpieces to their collection should be well satisfied with this set...

– Gramophone [11/1971] Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Quartet for Strings no 1 in D minor, Op. 7 by Arnold Schoenberg
Performer:  Walter Levin (Violin), Henry Meyer (Violin), Peter Kamnitzer (Viola),
Jack Kirstein (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  LaSalle String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1904-1905; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Academy of Science, Munich 
Length: 43 Minutes 9 Secs. 
2.
Quartet for Strings no 2 in F sharp minor, Op. 10 by Arnold Schoenberg
Performer:  Jack Kirstein (Cello), Margaret Price (Soprano), Walter Levin (Violin),
Henry Meyer (Violin), Peter Kamnitzer (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  LaSalle String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1907-1908; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/1969 
Venue:  Plenarsall, Academy of Science, Munich 
Length: 29 Minutes 14 Secs. 
Language: German 
3.
Quartet for Strings no 3, Op. 30 by Arnold Schoenberg
Performer:  Henry Meyer (Violin), Peter Kamnitzer (Viola), Jack Kirstein (Cello),
Walter Levin (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  LaSalle String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1927; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1970 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Academy of Science, Munich 
Length: 30 Minutes 20 Secs. 
4.
Quartet for Strings no 4, Op. 37 by Arnold Schoenberg
Performer:  Jack Kirstein (Cello), Walter Levin (Violin), Henry Meyer (Violin),
Peter Kamnitzer (Viola)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  LaSalle String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 07/1969 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Academy of Science, Munich 
Length: 31 Minutes 50 Secs. 
5.
Quartet for Strings in D major by Arnold Schoenberg
Performer:  Peter Kamnitzer (Viola), Jack Kirstein (Cello), Walter Levin (Violin),
Henry Meyer (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  LaSalle String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1897; Vienna, Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1970 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Academy of Science, Munich 
Length: 21 Minutes 35 Secs. 
6.
Sätze (5) for String Quartet, Op. 5 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Henry Meyer (Violin), Peter Kamnitzer (Viola), Jack Kirstein (Cello),
Walter Levin (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  LaSalle String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1909; Preglhof 
Date of Recording: 03/1969 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Academy of Science, Munich 
Length: 10 Minutes 23 Secs. 
7.
Quartet for Strings, M 79 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Walter Levin (Violin), Jack Kirstein (Cello), Peter Kamnitzer (Viola),
Henry Meyer (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  LaSalle String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1905; Preglhof 
Date of Recording: 03/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Academy of Science, Munich 
Length: 12 Minutes 10 Secs. 
8.
Bagatelles (6) for string quartet, Op. 9 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Henry Meyer (Violin), Walter Levin (Violin), Peter Kamnitzer (Viola),
Jack Kirstein (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  LaSalle String Quartet
Period: Modern 
Written: 1913; Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Academy of Science, Munich 
Length: 3 Minutes 51 Secs. 
9.
Quartet for Strings, Op. 28 by Anton Webern
Performer:  Walter Levin (Violin), Henry Meyer (Violin), Peter Kamnitzer (Viola),
Jack Kirstein (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  LaSalle String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1936-1938; Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Academy of Science, Munich 
Length: 8 Minutes 0 Secs. 
10.
Lyric Suite for String Quartet by Alban Berg
Performer:  Jack Kirstein (Cello), Peter Kamnitzer (Viola), Henry Meyer (Violin),
Walter Levin (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  LaSalle String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1926; Austria 
Date of Recording: 12/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Academy of Science, Munich 
Length: 26 Minutes 41 Secs. 
11.
Quartet for Strings, Op. 3 by Alban Berg
Performer:  Jack Kirstein (Cello), Peter Kamnitzer (Viola), Henry Meyer (Violin),
Walter Levin (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  LaSalle String Quartet
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1910; Austria 
Date of Recording: 03/1968 
Venue:  Plenarsaal, Academy of Science, Munich 
Length: 18 Minutes 34 Secs. 

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