Schubert String Quartet No 14 D minor Death and the Maiden Alban Berg Quartet

Schubert String Quartet No 14 D minor Death and the Maiden

I. Allegro
II. Andante con moto –11:37 
III. Presto – 22:18
IV. Prestissimo 25:50
Composition Year 1826
Genre Categories QuartetsFor 2 violins, viola, cello

The String Quartet No. 14 in D minor, known as Death and the Maiden, by Franz Schubert, is one of the pillars of the chamber music repertoire. Composed in 1824, after the composer suffered through a serious illness and realized that he was dying, it is Schubert’s testament to death. The quartet is named for the theme of the second movement, which Schubert took from a song he wrote in 1817 of the same title; but the theme of death is palpable in all four movements of the quartet.

The quartet was first played in 1826 in a private home, and was not published until 1831, three years after Schubert’s death. Yet, passed over in his lifetime, the quartet has become a staple of the quartet repertoire. It is D. 810 in Otto Erich Deutsch‘s thematic catalog of Schubert’s works.

Original manuscript of Death and the Maiden quartet, from The Mary Flagler Cary Music Collection, Morgan Library, NY

Original manuscript of Lied Death and the Maiden

1823 and 1824 were hard years for Schubert. For much of 1823 he was sick, some scholars believe with an outburst of tertiary stage syphilis, and in May had to be hospitalized.[1] He was broke: he had entered into a disastrous deal with Diabelli to publish a batch of works, and received almost no payment; and his latest attempt at opera, Fierabras, was a flop. In a letter to a friend, he wrote,

“Think of a man whose health can never be restored, and who from sheer despair makes matters worse instead of better. Think, I say, of a man whose brightest hopes have come to nothing, to whom love and friendship are but torture, and whose enthusiasm for the beautiful is fast vanishing; and ask yourself if such a man is not truly unhappy.”[2]
English: Oil painting of Franz Schubert, after...

English: Oil painting of Franz Schubert, after an 1825 watercolor (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Franz Schubert in 1825 (painting by Wilhelm August Rieder)

Yet, despite his bad health, poverty and depression, Schubert continued to turn out the tuneful, light and gemütlichmusic that made him the toast of Viennese society: the song cycle Die schöne Müllerin, the octet for string quartet, contrabass, clarinet, horn and bassoon, more than 20 songs, and numerous light pieces for piano.[3

Alban Berg Quartet

Alban Berg Quartett
Origin ViennaAustria
Genres Classical
Occupations Chamber ensemble
Years active 1971–2008
Labels TeldecEMI
Members Günter Pichler (violin)
Gerhard Schulz (violin)
Isabel Charisius (viola)
Valentin Erben (violoncello)
Past members Klaus Maetzl (2nd violin, 1971-1978)
Hatto Beyerle (viola, 1971-1981)
Thomas Kakuska (viola, 1981-2005)

The Alban Berg Quartett was a string quartet founded in Vienna, Austria in 1970, named after the famous composer Alban Berg.

8 responses to “Schubert String Quartet No 14 D minor Death and the Maiden Alban Berg Quartet

  1. Pe lângă Wiki mai sunt și unele materiale biografice, în germană și engleză. Poate mă vei găsi și pe mine, am publicat despre el în presa germană și americană diasporeză.


  2. Carlos Kleiber, considerat cel mai mare dirijor al tuturor timpurilor a avut o mamă evreică din CALIFORNIA și un tată austriac, dirijor și el. Au emigrat la Buenos Aires în 1940, de aceea i-au spus lui KARL -Carlos. A dirijat în SUA și Europa până prin 2002. Au dat pe Tv filme realizate la repetiții. Colosal de original, plin de umor și un perfecționist de rasă, austro-americanul ăsta. Discografie rămasă – puțină, din păcate…O să caut ceva la LA, fiul meu s-a mutat la Thousand Oaks ieri, din Silicon. Sper să-l vizitez în curând. Despre Carlos am aflat la Opera din San Francisco, unde figurează că a dirijat.


  3. Fantastic! Nu știam de acest cvartet ! Apropos, am găsit o sursă care susține că de fapt Alban Berg a fost tatăl lui Carlos Kleiber. Și într-adevăr, Carlos e înalt, precum Alban…


  4. Thank you for the gift of music. Enjoying every note.


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