Universal Edition - Wolfgang Rihm – 4. Streichquartett

Wolfgang Rihm

Wolfgang Rihm
4. Streichquartett

Year of composition: 1980-1981
Scored for: for string quartet
Composer: Wolfgang Rihm
Instrumentation details:

Commissioned by: komponiert für die Römerbad-Musiktage 1983,
Badenweiler, zu deren zehnjärigem Bestehen.
Duration: 17′
Dedication: dem Alban-Berg-Quartett gewidmet
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Audio Excerpt

4. Streichquartett

World Première

Location: Badenweiler / Germany
Date: 12.11.1983
Orchestra: Alban Berg Quartett

Work Introduction

The String Quartet No 4 is indeed a string quartet – but not “The Fourth;” perhaps it is a Ninth – no one knows.

It is in three movements, two of which are fast (although not really that fast) and one of which is slow (but not only slow).

I composed the Fourth Quartet during the winter of 1980/81. It is a straggler and a harbinger at one and the same time. I haven’t heard it yet. I’m looking forward to its poesy, which doesn’t interest me at all anymore today, because it has already passed through the “interesting” stage, which is much more interesting – or as uninteresting as permissible today. But that is another story – think up something for yourselves, for goodness’ sake. Music isn’t behind the music or in the words alongside the music – guess what it is and win a prize.

And yet this string quartet is anything but cheery …

Wolfgang Rihm


From the programme booklet, Vienna Konzerthaus 1984

The String Quartet No 4 is an extremely emotional work, full of harsh contrasts, passionate outbursts, craggy in its progress; therefore it is formally difficult to pin down. The sequence of two fast movements and one slow final farewell is unusual, whereby the hefty unisono run-up at the start also corresponds structurally to the resignation of the close as it seeps away. The first part – dominated by its ascending motif – issues into an alla Marcia, allegro ma non troppo which, for a short time, entails uniformly shaped passages. The second movement also has a bipartite layout: a predominantly chordal introduction and an “aria” (beginning subito andante), whose cantabile character is short-lived. There is a “long rest” preceding the final movement; it begins ethereally, then flares up briefly before being extinguished rapidly.

Score – String Quartet No. 4

  • for string quartet
  • Edition type: score
  • UE17433
  • ISBN: 978-3-7024-1731-4
  • ISMN: 979-0-008-01841-1
EUR 32,50

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Set of parts – String Quartet No. 4

  • for string quartet
  • Edition type: set of parts
  • UE17434
  • ISBN: 978-3-7024-5101-1
  • ISMN: 979-0-008-07155-3
EUR 46,95

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Future Performances

04.09.2017 - Musiktage Mondsee
Location: Schloss Mondsee, Mondsee (A), Orchestra: Minguet Quartett

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