Alban Berg Quartet | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Alban Berg Quartet

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True to its namesake, the prolific, Vienna-based Alban Berg Quartet has turned in compelling performances of works by members of both Viennese schools in its 23 years. What's more, its dedication to contemporary music comes through loud and clear in fresh interpretations of the latest opuses of Alfred Schnitke, Wolfgang Rihm, and the like. On its world tour this season the group is premiering a new quartet by the eminence grise of the Italian avant-garde, Luciano Berio. Titled Notturno, it focuses, according to the composer, "on one or two flgures, exploring them obsessively." This hint, in an otherwise cryptic description that talks about the music being built "in unspoken words and on unflnished discourses," probably means Berio's stooped to including Philip Glass-esque repetitions of phrases as part of his technique of incorporating extracts from other composers. The other two works on the program are Papa Haydn's Emperor Quartet, which contains the famous tune appropriated by the Austrians for their national anthem, and Schubert's profound Quartet no. 14, aka Death and the Maiden. Sunday, 7:30 PM, Orchestra Hall, 220 S. Michigan; 435-6666.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Sheila Rock.

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