commentary to opus 46
Second String Quartet op. 46 (1972)
performance: July 4, 1972, München, Sendesaal
der Bayerischen Rundfunks
Duration: 11 Minutes
N. Simrock Hamburg-London (Boosey & Hawkes)
two movements of the Second String Quartet have the titles "Mosaici"
and "Lamentationes". In the first case, the title gives
some general help in picturing the formal structure. This is put together as a
network on different levels, connected by two particular four-note motifs. The
multifaceted "mosaic"-like constellations and transformations of these
elementary building bricks result in a constantly changing, colourfully gleaming
sound-picture. In the reworking of the four-note components, the note constellation
B-A-C-H (German notes b-flat, a, c, b) plays a central role. Because
of the constant presence of three times four notes, concentrations in twelve-tone
manner would seem an obvious internal construction principle for the movement.
The composer does not submit however to the strict consequences of dodecaphonic
rules (as also for example Anton Webern), but makes "free" decisions
on the forming of twelve-tone constellations in both consecutive and simultaneous
patterns. A solo for violoncello marks the middle of the first movement. Around
this, there is a concentric arrangement of development sections corresponding
to each other. Thus something of the beginning of the movement is heard again
at the end.
Part. Editio Musica Budapest Z. 7144
An example of responsible treatment of a traditional genre without giving up one's
own musical language and creative will is to be found in the 2nd String Quartet
(1972) by Bertold Hummel.
Schweizer musikpädagogische Blätter 9/1991
... a real quartet composition in which the composer's ear has guided every detail, worked everything through with refinement, unusual in its sonorities and self-consistent....