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Precocious Wolfgang Rihm was 18 when he composed his String Quartet No. 1. (Although, to be more precise, he had already written a piece in G minor for two violins, viola and cello in 1966 – it was premièred in 1997 – and another one two years later, also premièred in 1997).
His first quartet with a number appeared in 1987, by which time Rihm had already created a considerable oeuvre, including Quartets 3 through 7. In retrospect, critics attested that the First was an astonishing departure towards Rihm’s compositional future.