Alban Berg Quartett

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About Alban Berg Quartett

Clarity of tone and a deep sense of artistic conviction characterize the recordings of the Alban Berg Quartett. The string quartet was founded in 1970 by four teachers at the Vienna Academy of Music: violinists Günter Pichler and Klaus Maetzl, violist Hatto Beyerle, and cellist Valentin Erben. Helene Berg, widow of the Austrian composer, heard an early rehearsal and allowed them to use her husband’s name. They recorded extensively for EMI, and were one of the first great string quartets of the digital age. Their repertoire focused largely on Viennese School composers, especially Mozart, Beethoven, and Brahms, but they also performed much modern music: Wolfgang Rihm, Alfred Schnittke, and Luciano Berio wrote works for them. From 1985, the group recorded live, revisiting many works they had previously recorded in the studio. Thomas Kakuska, who had replaced Beyerle on viola in 1981, died in 2005. The quartet briefly reformed, with Kakuska’s pupil Isabel Charisius taking up the position, but they finally retired in 2008 after a farewell tour.

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