String Quartet No.4 for 2 violins, viola and cello Op.103 (2007) c.25'00"

in one movement

Commissioned by the Lake Canandaigua Chamber Music Festival

First performed on February 9th, 2008 at the Lake Canandaigua Chamber Music Festival in Rochester, New York by the Orion Quartet


"It's a remarkable piece. The mood is elegiacal and meditative, the melodic lines sinuous and searching, the harmonies rich and astonishingly beautiful. Liebermann works within the traditions of Western tonality, but that is a mansion with many rooms. Liebermann inhabits all of them as his expressive purposes require, and he doesn't mind knocking down a wall to create new harmonic spaces.

The Fourth Quartet doesn't exactly fit the "neoromantic" niche into which Liebermann is sometimes placed. Much of the music, especially near the beginning, is a highly advanced and fluid chromatic expressionism with modernist tendencies. Sometimes this roiling cloudscape breaks open to allow a patch of near-classical harmony and almost-resolution. Near the midpoint the clouds lift in leaping modulations.Several chordal passages recall Russian Orthodox chant. Suddenly, when you've begun to think the somber, deliberate pace has gone on a bit too long, Liebermann introduces a kind of hobbled, stilted jazz idiom. The piece dies in pensive quiet."

Mike Greenberg, incident light

Lowell Liebermann's String Quartet No.4...was all very skillfully done....there's a lot to love about the piece. Liebermann is a good judge of mood, steering the music away from complete despair at just the right moment for a spot of hope. Elsewhere he vacillates between two distinct ensemble sounds, moving from delicate to saturated and back again. Lovely."

Peter Dobrin, Philadelphia Inquirer