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Hardly more than a year before the first performance of the "Lyric Suite" on 8 January 1927, Alban Berg had suddenly emerged from almost total obscurity to world-wide fame with the premiere of "Wozzeck". A composition for string quartet is hardly likely to excite comparable attention, but it, too, quickly achieved an extraordinary success, and to this day remains, for all its subjective and tragic character, the most brilliant and effective virtuoso display piece in its genre. The special and unique character of all of Berg's music is immediately and strikingly evident- on the one hand an extraordinary intensity of feeling and implied or explicit programmatic elements- on the other, an unprecedented abstraction and rigor in the musical design, in the working out of musical ideas and even in the very shape of the themes. One doesn't expect to find these presumably divergent tendencies together: ln Berg not only do we so find them, but each of these seemingly opposed aspects of his musical language is dependent on the other.