Precious little music by Karl Weigl, born in Vienna in 1881, is remembered. A new recording of two of the composer's finely crafted string quartets by the Artis Quartett Wien at last corrects this lamentable oversight. Weigl's quartets are entirely charming, replete with melodic invention and instrumental daring. The Artis Quartett performs them with great vigor and a peculiar rhythmic incisiveness.
Though long, the work is a wonderfully confident musical statement from a composer who was barely in his 20s at the time. Tonal and tuneful, with an evocative burlesque scherzo second movement, this work can't help but be a reaction to the artistic experimentations of the day. This recording reminds us that there was more to the musical life in Vienna than the daring and difficult new music that attempted to free itself from the shackles of tonality.