In one word, Webern summed up the evolution of each of Zemlinsky’s four quartets: Aufbruch (departure) corresponding to No.1, Op.4 and
getting out from under Brahms’s shadow; Wende (the turning point) for No.2, Op.15, an Expressionistic block of gigantic Mahlerian proportions
and a single motto theme; Reduktion of the epic dimension but not of the burlesque, sardonic grin in No.3, Op.19; and Maskenspiel (mask game)
for No.4, Op.25, a ‘lyric suite’ in homage to Alban Berg, imbued with Schubertian clarity and transcended Classicism.
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