Rondo in F Major for String Quartet
Anton Webern (1883-1945), of course, is well-known and needs little introduction as one of the founding fathers of the Second Vienna School and leading proponents of the 12 tone system. However, what is not well-known is that he did write at least two short tonal movements for string quartet.
The Rondo dates from 1906 and was intended to be part of a quartet that Webern never completed. Already, we can hear that Webern is pushing the traditional tonal boundaries to their limits while still staying within them. Much of his later style can already be heard in this work, with its original treatment and emphasis on the effects of pizzicato, ponticello, harmonics and combinations of these to create unusual tone color. The movement has, for its main theme, an elegant, lilting, Viennese waltz-like subject. Webern combines subtlety with episodes of adventurous experimentation throughout this engaging work.
Our edition has removed the highly redundant, unnecessary and annoying warnings and markings which appear in virtually every measure and which have cluttered past editions making them almost unplayable. (for example it is not necessary to put pp or the words slower, slower in each measure). Worse yet, until now, players needed to have 3 years of college German because these copious instructions were all in German. We have substituted the universal Italian (e.g. molto espressivo for sehr ausdruckvoll or ritard for zurückhaltend) and at the same time have taken especial care to make clear that Webern's intentions can easily be grasped and executed by the players.