The two poems by Stefan George 'Litanei' and 'Rapture ' were worked by Schoenberg into a set of variations and into a finale far removed from traditional notions of form. The vocal reduction of the 3rd movement 'Litanei' is available as UE 6862, the vocal reduction for the 4th movement 'Entrückung ' is available as UE 6863. The string parts are available as UE 2994.
'This quartet adds a new element to Schoenberg's creative oeuvre: brevity. It was already indicated by the succinctness of the Chamber Symphony and is clearly expressed in the structure of the F sharp minor Quartet with four shorter movements. There is only a small step from the harmonic language of this work to a complete renunciation of tonality. The last movement - although, in the main, belonging to F sharp mayor - no longer carries a key signature. Chromatic alteration turns the fourth chords into harmonies never heard before, free from any tonal context.' (Anton Webern)