Although Paul Dessaus Second String Quartet is very closely related to twelve-note music, it cannot be said to owe its inspiration to the serial method in the strictest sense. Rene Leibowitz had introduced the composer to the fascinating world of Schoenbergs twelve-note music during his first period of exile in Paris. With this String Quartet Dessau then worked out his own way of playing with the aesthetics of modern composition. Dessau works dodecaphonic constructions into the two lengthy movements - Andante con tenerezza and Adagio - without imposing them in dogmatic fashion. Disciplined thematic work is developed in a densely polyphonic setting to create a tightly structured landscape of laconic sententiousness.