The String Quartet, Op. 3, completed in 1910, is both a graduation exercise and also the composer’s first extended foray into the non-tonal regions that were then being explored by Schoenberg and Webern
Berg’s highly expressive Lyric Suite, inspired by his love-affair with the wife of a family friend, is notable for its unconventional six-movement form, the odd-numbered of which become progressively faster and more disruptive, while the even numbered ones become progressively slower and more intense.
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Alban Berg: String Quartet, Op. 3
II. Massige Viertel
Alban Berg: Lyric Suite
I. Allegretto gioviale
II. Andante amoroso
III. Allegro misterioso
IV. Adagio appassionato
V. Presto delirando
VI. Largo desolato
Hugo Wolf: Serenade in G major, "Italienische Serenade" (Italian Serenade)
“…as you listen to these works afresh, you not only marvel at the individual players' virtuosity, but you also have to appreciate that the relatively warm yet pleasingly "edgy" quality to the sound and the oneness of spirit in the interpretations come from the highest-order functioning of the well-integrated collective parts of a mature, vital body--that is, a string quartet that's been together a long time, each member sharing life and breath in the music they make together… you shouldn't miss this extraordinary recording.”