Ever so slightly too long

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Bob_Crotchet's picture
Ever so slightly too long

Yesterday morning I managed to fit in a cheeky quartet at 6.30am, before the family woke up. I opted for Schoenberg's String Quartet No.4, a piece I have recently opened up to after many years of (mistakenly) thinking it was too complex. It has revealed itself as a  genial work, full of invention and graspable melodic motifs. Once I started to visualise it like a Calder mobile scultpure it started to work.

However, I have one niggle - it's ever so slightly too long. And not even by much... Somehow the Schoenberg's sense of proportion was slightly out of step with the material in hand, and apart from the Largo each movement runs out of steam  a couple of minutes early - which I find disappointing as the music is so strong. (as a note Schoenberg's most  over-long compostion is probably his Wind Quintet)

Anyone have examples of this? I am not talking about obvious examples like Bruckner symphonies or Wagner operas being overlong - rather  smaller scale works that are excellent compositions but somehow the golden section rules are a bit wonky?

gramopolo's picture
RE: Ever so slightly too long

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