MANFRED TROJAHN (b.1949): String Quartets Nos. 3 & 4, Fragment für Antigone, Chant d'insomnie III from Lettera amorosa.
Catalogue Number: 07N112
Description: The taut and economical third quartet of 1983 seems to draw its inspiration equally from late Beethoven, in the flexible yet precise interplay of concise structures (and to some extent, ambiguous tonal and rhythmic references), and quartet writing at the opposite ends of the 20th century, with an amalgam of free atonality and the resurgence of highly chromatic late romanticism, avoiding the avant-gardism that occurred in between. The fourth quartet takes these neo-romantic tendencies further still, with melodic content and direct emotional expressiveness that Schubert or Schumann would have had no problem with, and little more than Wagnerian chromaticism, aside from some isolated pungent dissonances, in the direction of atonality. The Antigone fragments were originally conceived as incidental music to Hölderlin's translation of the play, and the music's bleakly obsessive and fragmentary nature, with much use of pulsating gestures like heartbeats, funeral drums, breathing or the ticking away of time, suggest fatalism and tragedy. The Chant (2007) is an expressive nocturne, neo-romantic and chromatic like the fourth quartet, not unlike the kind of thing Rihm has explored in his recent quartet writing. Henschel Quartet.