From Liszt to Bartók • 4.1
Wagner and Liszt are known to have been pioneers of surpassing the Classical-Romantic harmonic vocabulary. In Liszt’s case, the revolutionary innovations came especially with the late works, four of which are now performed. Written in the early 1880s, they document Wagner’s death like journal entries, giving voice to the stages of grief, from premonition through shock, despair, dissolution and release to reconciliation.
Schoenberg’s second string quartet was written at a time of private crisis, when Mathilde Schoenberg temporarily left him for a painter. Movements 3 and 4 even cross the boundaries of the genre when a soprano soloist joins the pinnacle of chamber music, the string quartet.