Anton Webern

Anton Webern (1883-1945)

Nationality: Austrian
Born: December 3, 1883, Vienna Died: September 15, 1945, Mittersill (age 61)

Langsamer Satz [Slow Movement]

(for 2 violins, viola and cello)
Langsam, mit bewegtem Ausdruck
Duration: 10 minutes (approximately)
Composed: 1905 (age 21-22)
Premiere: May 27, 1962. Seattle, University of Washington University of Washington String Quartet
Published: 1961, New York: Carl Fischer
9 recordings, 9 videos
Artis Quartet
Telegraph Quartet
Rosamunde Quartett
Signum Quartet
Faust Quartet
Emerson Quartet
Cecilia String Quartet
Carmina Quartet
Borodin Quartet
From Edition Silvertrust

Anton Webern Anton Webern (1883-1945), of course, is well-known and needs little introduction as one of the founding fathers of the Second Viennese School and leading proponents of the 12 tone system. However, what is not well-known is that he did write at least two short tonal movements for string quartet.

The Langsamer Satz (Slow Movement) dates from 1905 and was said to have been inspired by a hiking holiday in the mountains outside of Vienna that Webern took with his soon to be fiancée and later wife. He intended to write an entire quartet but put it aside after completing this one movement.

Not surprisingly, the Langsamer Satz is a highly charged work, clearly rooted in post-Brahmsian romanticism and tonality. A medium length quartet movement, the Langsamer Satz expresses a plethora of emotions from yearning to dramatic turmoil to a tranquil peaceful denouement. It shows that Webern, like Schönberg and Berg, was capable of writing very fine music in a tonal idiom if he chose. This work is a little masterpiece, suitable as an encore for professional groups but still within easy reach of competent amateurs.

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