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In Search of Futures Past: Schoenberg the Romantic

  • Fulton Recital Hall 1010 East 59th Street Chicago, IL, 60637 United States (map)

Johannes Brahms – String Quartet in C minor, Op. 51 No. 1
Arnold Schoenberg – String Quartet No. 1

"It is important to realize that at a time when all believed in 'expression', Brahms, without renouncing beauty and emotion, proved to be a progressive in a field which had not been cultivated for half a century [Schoenberg means irregular phrase lengths, unconventional structure, and explorative harmonies]. He would have been a pioneer if he had simply returned to Mozart. But he did not live on inherited fortune, he made one of his own." – Arnold Schoenberg

Though his music may be box-office catnip these days, it is good to remember that in his own era Brahms was often too progressive for the traditionalists, and too traditional for the progressives. One of his most vocal champions was Arnold Schoenberg, and so it is with immense pleasure that we present Brahms’s turbulent String Quartet in C minor, Op 51 No. 1 as the portal into Schoenberg’s first mature string quartet. The C minor is a piece so sumptuous that we would program it even if there weren’t this unshakable bond between the two composers. You will hear Schoenberg painting dense harmonies that harken back to Brahms’s lush romanticism, with melodies grasping for higher and higher peaks as the drama unfolds. He may have eventually taken traditional harmony on a white-knuckled left turn, but this shift was far from sudden.

Join us for a pre-concert talk at 2pm with UChicago professors Berthold Hoeckner and Seth Brodsky


This concert is FREE and open to the public.  

Persons with disabilities who need an accommodation in order to participate in this event should contact the University of Chicago Music Department for assistance (Music
773-702-8484). Information on Assistive Listening Device