Notes & Reviews:
This release features three compositions for string quartet which were composed within the same thirty-year period. Each of these composers’ musical careers were either fractured or prematurely terminated by the ravages of war, and each of these composers passionately opposed such military conflicts. Vienna-born violinist Fritz Kreisler joined the Austrian army during World War I. After his traumatic experiences, he sought refuge in the United States, and wrote his String Quartet in A minor which clearly reflects those years of conflict and the period just after. Alexander Zemlinsky lived in Prague during World War I, but after moving to Berlin in 1923, he was forced to leave Germany a decade later. When he presented his String Quartet in E minor for consideration for performance, it was rejected. The manuscript was preserved in the Library of Congress, and was finally printed in 1997. After World War I, Erwin Schulhoff returned from the army a changed man with a new political and musical orientation. He turned to the musical avant-garde in Germany, and began to cultivate contemporary musical styles including Expressionism, Dadaism, and Neoclassicism. The Five Pieces form a suite which reflects Schulhoff’s cosmopolitan background.