String Quartet No.2 was composed by Hans Abrahamsen in 1981.
Hans Abrahamsens's second string quartet was commissioned by the Lerchenborg music-week of 1981, during which it was first performed by the Gaudeamus Quartet.
In Hans Abrahamsen's second quartet it is the continuous alternation of soberness and drama that first catches the listner's ears: the lyrical/gestural tradition, as we know it from Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg, pitched - not against - but around the "sober barbarism" which is characteristic of rhytmic neo-classicism. Both the first and the last movement of th is quartet are emotional at many levels: sad - and still seething with life and always unpredictable in their development, it is night, twilight and white-hot light. Sparkling diamonds set off by scarlett velvet. The two middle movements link the contrasts without cushioning: the second movement, a gruelling, stripped, rhythmical drill followed by a hushed, far-off dance in triple meter, which shifts and hesitates all the time, though. There is an ambience of the classics, glimpsed through many veils. The second quartet is music which is fraught with danger in its ambiguous relation to tradition: the past emerges as a most relevant and living ghost. The Beauty and the Beast as musical drama.