Anton Webern[a] (German: [ˈantoːn ˈveːbɐn] ; 3 December 1883 – 15 September 1945) was an Austrian composer and conductor. His music was among the most radical of its milieu in its concision and use of then novel atonal and twelve-tone techniques in an increasingly rigorous manner, somewhat after the Franco-Flemish School of his studies under Guido Adler. With his mentor Arnold Schoenberg and his colleague Alban Berg, Webern was at the core of those within the broader circle of the Second Viennese School. He was arguably the first and certainly the last of the three to write music in a style lauded for its aphoristic, expressionist potency, reflecting his instincts and the idiosyncrasy of his compositional process.

Anton Webern
Webern in Stettin, October 1912
Webern in Stettin, October 1912
Born3 December 1883
Vienna, Austria
Died15 September 1945(1945-09-15) (aged 61)
Mittersill, Austria
  • Composer
  • conductor
WorksList of compositions

Peripatetic and unhappy in his early conducting career, Webern came to some prominence and increasingly high regard as a vocal coach, choirmaster, conductor, and teacher[b] in Red Vienna. With a publication agreement through Emil Hertzka's Universal Edition and Schoenberg away at the Prussian Academy of Arts, Webern wrote music of increasing confidence, independence, and scale from the 1920s onward. He maintained his "path to the new music" while marginalized as a "cultural Bolshevist".

Posthumously Webern's later music was celebrated by a variety of mid-century musicians, especially composers, in a phenomenon known as post-Webernism.[c] Yet most understanding was fledgling after years of severe disruption when his work was dismissed or opposed, nor were his musical semantics or semiotics, performance practices, or sociocultural contexts widely studied. This situation was gradually improved by musicians and scholars who helped publish and record his complete works as well as establish his music as modernist repertoire.

Biography edit

1883–1908: Upbringing between fin-de-siècle Vienna and countryside edit

  • (left) Schloss Preglhof, Webern's childhood home, in Oberdorf
  • (middle) A brick barn in a field of wildflowers on the Preglhof estate[2]
  • (right) Family grave at the cemetery in Schwabegg, on a meander spur of the Drava

Webern was born in Vienna, then in Austria-Hungary. He was the only surviving son of Carl von Webern, a descendent of minor nobility [de], high-ranking civil servant, mining engineer,[3] and owner of the Lamprechtsberg copper mine in the Koralpe; and Amalie (née Geer), a competent pianist and accomplished singer.[4] He lived in Graz and Klagenfurt for much of his youth, but his distinct and lasting sense of Heimat was shaped by reading Rosegger[5][d] and by summers with his parents, sisters, and cousins at their country estate, the Preglhof.[6]

After a trip to Bayreuth,[7] Webern studied musicology at the University of Vienna (1902–1906) with Guido Adler, a friend of Mahler, composition student of Bruckner,[e] and devoted Wagnerian who had been in contact with both Wagner and Liszt.[8][f] He learned the historical development of musical styles and techniques, writing his doctoral thesis on Heinrich Isaac's Choralis Constantinus.[8] Webern also studied art history and philosophy under professors Max Dvořák, Laurenz Müllner [de], and Franz Wickhoff,[9] joining the Albrecht Dürer Gesellschaft[g] in 1903.[7] His cousin Ernst Dietz, an art historian studying in Graz, may have led him to the work of Böcklin and Giovanni Segantini, which he admired along with that of Ferdinand Hodler and Moritz von Schwind.[10]

In 1904, he approached Hans Pfitzner for composition lessons but left angrily when Pfitzner criticized Mahler and Richard Strauss.[11] Adler admired Schoenberg's work and may have[h] sent Webern to him for composition lessons.[13] Thus Webern met Berg, another Schoenberg pupil, and Schoenberg's brother-in-law Alexander Zemlinsky, through whom Webern may have worked as an assistant coach at the Volksoper (1906–1908).[14] Schoenberg, Berg, and Webern became devoted, lifelong friends with similar musical trajectories.[15]

1908–1918: Early adulthood and war in Austria-Hungary edit

Webern, 1912

Webern conducted and coached singers and choirs in light music, musical theater, operetta, and opera in his early career. A summer 1908 engagement with Bad Ischl's Kurorchester [de] was "hell".[14] He walked out on engagements in Innsbruck (1909) and at Bad Teplitz's Civic Theater (1910).[16] He worked with Heinrich Jalowetz in Danzig (1910–1911) and Stettin (1912–1913), briefly following Schoenberg to Berlin (1911–1912) in-between.[17] He repeatedly quit and was taken back by Zemlinsky at the Deutsches Landestheater Prague (1911–1918).[18]

Webern had little time to compose and often felt mistreated. Miserably ill, he sought medical advice and took rest at the Kurhaus Semmering [de].[19] In 1912–1913 he had a breakdown and saw Alfred Adler, who noted his idealism and perfectionism in evaluating his symptoms as psychogenic responses to unmet expectations. He wrote Schoenberg that Adler's psychoanalysis was helpful and insightful.[20]

He revisited the Preglhof (sold by his father in 1912 and mourned as a "lost paradise"), the family grave at the cemetery in Schwabegg, and the surrounding Carinthian-Styrian Alps (he was an avid mountaineer) for the rest of his life.[21] He associated these places with the memory of his mother, whose 1906 loss profoundly affected him.[22] He wrote Schoenberg (Sept. 1912), "When I read letters from my mother, I could die of longing for the places where all these things have occurred".[23] His music enduringly reflected these memories: "my compositions ... relate to the death of my mother";[i] "through my work, all that is past becomes like a childhood".[j]

He served intermittently and patriotically in World War I, moving frequently and tiring. Eventually he hoped for its end. Despite Schoenberg's and his father's advice that he not quit conducting, in 1918 Webern returned to Schoenberg in Mödling, hoping to compose more.[25] His finances were so poor that he soon explored a return to Prague,[26] but other opportunities arose.

1918–1933: Rise in Rotes Wien (Interwar Vienna) edit

Webern, 1927, portrait by Georg Fayer

Webern worked with friends[k] at the Society for Private Musical Performances (1918–1921), promoting new music through performances and contests. Music included that of Bartók, Berg, Busoni, Debussy,[l] Korngold, Mahler, Novák, Ravel, Reger, Satie, Strauss, Stravinsky, and Webern himself. Webern wrote Berg about Stravinsky's "indescribably touching" Berceuses du chat and "glorious" Pribaoutki, which Schoenberg conducted at a sold-out 1919 Society concert.[28] There was perhaps some shared influence among Schoenberg, Stravinsky, and Webern at this time.[29] The Society dissolved amid catastrophic hyperinflation in 1921.

Webern worked as director of the Wiener Schubertbund and in 1922 of the mixed-voice amateur Singverein der Sozialdemokratischen Kunstelle[m] and the Arbeiter-Sinfonie-Konzerte[n] through David Josef Bach, Director of the Sozialdemokratische Kunststelle.[30][o] In 1926, Webern resigned as chorusmaster of the Mödling Männergesangverein[p] for hiring Jewish soprano Greta Wilheim as a stand-in soloist for Schubert's cantata Mirjams Siegesgesang.[31] Österreichischer Rundfunk aired his performances at least twenty times starting in 1927. In 1933 he hired Erich Leinsdorf as Singverein pianist;[q] they performed Stravinsky's ballet-cantata Les Noces.[33][r]

Social DemocratSocial Christian relations polarized and radicalized amid the Schattendorfer Urteil [de].[40] Webern and others[s] signed an "Announcement of Intellectual Vienna"[t] published on the front page of the Social Democrats' daily Arbeiter-Zeitung[u] days before the 1927 Austrian legislative election.[41] On Election Day in Die Reichspost [de], Ignaz Seipel of the Einheitsliste [de] officially applied the term "Red Vienna" pejoratively, attacking Vienna's educational and cultural institutions.[40] Social unrest escalated to the July Revolt of 1927 and beyond.[40] Webern's nostalgia for social order intensified.[42] With poor finances, in 1928 friends fundraised for him, partly for another stay at the Kurhaus Semmering.[v]

Webern's music was performed more widely starting in the latter half of 1920s, yet he found no great success as Berg enjoyed with Wozzeck nor as Schoenberg did, to a lesser extent, with Pierrot lunaire or in time with Verklärte Nacht. His Symphony, Op. 21, was performed in New York by the League of Composers (1929) and in London at the 1931 International Society for Contemporary Music (ISCM) Festival. He twice received the Preis der Stadt Wien für Musik [de].[w]

Though Berg celebrated the "lasting works" and successes of composers "whose point of departure was ... late Mahler, Reger, and Debussy and whose temporary end point is in ... Schoenberg"[47] in their rise from "pitiful 'cliques'" to a large, diverse, international, and "irresistible movement" (1928),[47] they were marginalized and ostracized in Central Europe with few exceptions.[48][x] In Der Weg zur Neuen Musik (1932–1933)[y] he attacked fascist cultural policy, asking "What will come of our struggle?", observing that "'cultural Bolshevism' is the name given to everything that is going on around Schoenberg, Berg, and myself (Krenek too)",[z] and warning "Imagine what will be destroyed, wiped out, by this hate of culture!"[53]

1933–1938: Perseverance in Schwarzes Wien (Austrofascist Vienna) edit

Financial crises, complex social and political movements, pervasive antisemitism, culture wars, and renewed military conflicts[aa] continued to shape Webern's world, profoundly circumscribing his life.[54] In the Austrian Civil War, Austrofascists[ab] executed, exiled, and imprisoned Social Democrats, outlawed their party,[55] and abolished cultural institutions. Stigmatized by his decade-long association with Social Democrats, Webern lost a promising conducting career, which might have been better recorded.[56] He worked as a UE editor and IGNM-Sektion Österreich [de] board member and president (1933–1938, 1945).[57] He lectured privately at Rita Kurzmann-Leuchter [de]'s and her physician husband Rudolf's home (1934–1935 on Beethoven's piano sonatas to about 40 attendees; also 1937–1938).[58]

His music and that of Berg, Krenek, Schoenberg, et al. was declared "Jewish" in Austria[ac] and "Entartete Kunst" by Nazis.[64] Persevering, Webern wrote Krenek that "art has its own laws ... if one wants to achieve something in it, only these laws and nothing else can have validity";[ad] upon completing Op. 26 (1935), he wrote DJ Bach, "I hope it is so good that (if people ever get to know it) they will declare me ready for a concentration camp or an insane asylum!"[66] The Vienna Philharmonic nearly refused to play Berg's Violin Concerto (1936).[ae] Peter Stadlen's 1937 Op. 27 premières were the last Viennese Webern performances until after World War II.[68] The critical success of Hermann Scherchen's 1938 ISCM London Op. 26 première encouraged Webern to write more cantatas and reassured him after a cellist quit Op. 20 mid-performance, declaring it unplayable.[69]

Webern's milieu comprised vast differences.[70] Like most Austrians, he and his family were Catholic, though not church regulars; Webern was devout if unorthodox.[71] They became politically divided.[af] His friends (e.g., then Zionist Schoenberg,[ag] left-leaning Berg[ah]) were of a mostly Jewish milieu in once fin-de-siècle and then "red" (Social Democratic) Vienna.[83] Presuming power would moderate Hitler, Webern mediated with an optimistic, perhaps self-soothing, complacency that exasperated some of his threatened friends.[84] He found himself surrounded mostly by one side as Schoenberg emigrated to the US (1933), Berg died (1935), and DJ Bach, among others, fled or worse.[85]

Webern's views of National Socialism were variously described.[ai] His published items[aj] reflected his audience or context.[87] Secondary literature reflected limited evidence or ideological orientations[ak] and admitted uncertainty.[89] Julie Brown noted hesitancy to approach the topic and echoed the Moldenhauers, considering the issue "vexed" and Webern a "political enigma".[90] Bailey Puffett considered his politics "somewhat vague" and his situation "complex", noting that he practically avoided definitive political association.[91] Julian Johnson described him as "personally shy, a man of private feeling and essentially apolitical",[30] "prone to identify with Nazi politics as ... other ... Austrians".[92] Violinist Louis Krasner surmised Webern's cognitive dissonance,[al] finding him "idealistic and rather naive".[am] In 1943 Kurt List described Webern as "utterly ignorant" and "perpetual[ly] confus[ed]" about politics, "a ready prey to the personal influence of family and friends".[an]

1938–1939: Inner emigration in Nazi Germany edit

Krasner's last Webern visit was interrupted by the Anschluss: Webern turned on the radio to hear the news, urging Krasner to flee.[98] Krasner wondered whether Webern knew the Anschluss was planned that day, as Webern's family included Nazis, and whether this was for his safety or to save Webern the embarrassment of Krasner's presence during a time of possible celebration in Webern's home or indeed in most of Mödling.[99] Bailey Puffett suggested otherwise, noting Webern wrote his lyricist and collaborator Hildegard Jone [de] and her spouse, sculptor Josef Humplik that day, "I am totally immersed in my work [composing] and cannot, cannot be disturbed."[100]

Bailey Puffett wrote that Webern likely hoped to conduct again, securing a firmer future for his family under a new regime proclaiming itself "socialist" no less than nationalist.[101] As an expression of pan-Germanism and populism, many German-speaking Volk[ao] hoped for stability and prosperity within a nation-state (the Reich). In opposition to the Austrofascists and after years of Nazi soft power proceeding to occupation,[ap] some on the Austrian left[aq] had promoted unification and now supported the post hoc 1938 Austrian Anschluss referendum[102] on premises of Realpolitik and self-determination in line with the Grossdeutsche Lösung (1848), the Provisional National Assembly's unanimous support (1918),[ar] and the Linzer Programm [de] (1926-1933).[as]

Kristallnacht shocked Webern. He visited and aided Jewish colleagues DJ Bach, Otto Jokl [de], Josef Polnauer, and Hugo Winter.[103] For Jokl, a former Berg pupil, Webern wrote a recommendation letter to facilitate emigration. When that failed, Webern served as his godfather in a 1939 baptism.[104] Polnauer, a fellow early Schoenberg pupil, historian, and librarian whose emigration Schoenberg and Webern were unable to secure,[105] managed to survive the Holocaust as an albino; he later edited a 1959 UE publication of Webern's correspondence from this time with Humplik and Jone.[106] Webern moved Humplik's 1929 gift of a Mahler bust to his bedroom.[107]

Webern found himself increasingly alone,[108] with "almost all his friends and old pupils ... gone",[109] and his financial situation was poor. He had considered joining Schoenberg in the US since 1933[110] but was reluctant to leave home and family. He entered a period of "inward emigration",[111] writing to artist Franz Rederer in 1939, "We live completely withdrawn. I work a lot."[104] He corresponded extensively to maintain relationships, imploring his student George Robert to play Schoenberg in New York[112] and expressing his loneliness and isolation to Schoenberg.[113] Then war limited postal service.[114]

1939–1945: Hope and disillusionment during World War II edit

Sharing in wartime public sentiment at the height of Hitler's popularity (spring 1940), Webern expressed high hopes, crediting him as "unique" and "singular"[at] for "the new state for which the seed was laid twenty years ago" in patriotic letters to Joseph Hueber, a close friend, active soldier, mountaineering companion, and baritone who often sent Webern gifts.[115] (Indeed, Hueber had just sent Webern Mein Kampf.)[au] Unaware of Stefan George's aversion to the Nazis, Webern marveled suggestively at the wartime leader envisioned in rereading Das neue Reich, but "I am not taking a position!" he wrote active soldier, singer, and onetime Social Democrat, Hans Humpelstetter.[117] For Johnson, "Webern's own image of a neue Reich was never of this world; if his politics were ultimately complicitous it was largely because his utopian apoliticism played so easily into ... the status quo."[118]

Grave of Webern and his wife Minna at the cemetery in Mittersill

By Aug. 1940, Webern was financially dependent on his children.[119] He sought and received money from Künstlerhilfe Wien and the Reichsmusikkammer Künstlerdank [de] (1940–1944), indicating non-membership in the Nazi Party on an application.[120] Whether Webern ever joined the party was unknown.[121]

His music was performed mostly outside the Reich, where only his tonal music and arrangements were allowed as works not in a "Judenknecht" style.[av] Supported by IGNM Basel, the Orchester Musikkollegium Winterthur, and Werner Reinhart, he attended three Swiss concerts, including Scherchen's world premiere of Op. 30.[aw] Webern intimated to Willi Reich [de] that he might emigrate, joking "Anything of the sort did seem quite out of the question for me!", but failed to obtain foreign conducting opportunities.[123] These were his last trips outside the Reich, within which he also hoped for opportunities.[124]

Webern met with former Society violist Othmar Steinbauer about a formal teaching role in Vienna in 1940, but nothing materialized.[125] He lectured at the homes of Erwin Ratz and Carl Prohaska [de]'s widow Margaret (1940–1942).[126] Many private pupils came to him between 1940 and 1943, even from afar, among them briefly Karl Amadeus Hartmann.[127]

His 1943–1945 letters were strewn with references to bombings, deaths, destruction, privation, and the disintegration of local order, but several grandchildren were born.[128] In Dec. 1943, aged 60, he wrote from a barrack that he was working 6 am–5 pm as an air-raid protection police officer, conscripted into the war effort.[128] His only son Peter, intermittently conscripted since 1940,[129] was killed in an air attack (14 Feb. 1945).[130]

1945: Refuge and death in Mittersill edit

The Weberns assisted Schoenberg's first son Görgi during the war; with the Red Army's April 1945 arrival imminent, they gave him their Mödling apartment, the property and childhood home of Webern's son-in-law Benno Mattl.[ax] Görgi later told Krasner that Webern "felt he'd betrayed his best friends." The Weberns fled west, resorting to traveling partly on foot to Mittersill to rejoin their family of "17 persons pressed together in the smallest possible space".[128]

On the night of 15 Sept. 1945, Webern was outside smoking when he was shot and killed by a US soldier in an apparent accident.[132] Webern's wife Wilhelmine "Minna" Mörtl's last years were marred by grief, poverty, and loneliness as friends and family continued emigrating. She wished Webern lived to see more success. With the abolition of the Entartete Kunst ban, Alfred Schlee [de] solicited her for hidden manuscripts; thus Opp. 17, 24–25, and 29–31 were published. She worked to get Webern's 1907 Piano Quintet published via Kurt List.

In 1947 she wrote Dietz, now in the US, that by 1945 Webern was "firmly resolved to go to England". Likewise, in 1946 she wrote DJ Bach in London: "How difficult the last eight years had been for him. ... [H]e had only the one wish: to flee from this country. But one was caught, without a will of one's own. ... It was close to the limit of endurance what we had to suffer."[133] Minna died in 1949.

Music edit

Tell me, can one at all denote thinking and feeling as things entirely separable? I cannot imagine a sublime intellect without the ardor of emotion.

Webern wrote to Schoenberg (June 1910).[134] Adorno described Webern as "propound[ing] musical expressionism in its strictest sense, ... to such a point that it reverts of its own weight to a new objectivity".[135]

Webern's music was organic and parsimonious,[ay] with very small motifs, palindromes, and parameterization on both the micro- and macro-scale.[136] His idiosyncratic approach reflected affinities with Schoenberg, Mahler,[az] Guido Adler and early music; interest in esotericism and Naturphilosophie; and thorough perfectionism.[ba] He engaged with the work of Goethe, Bach,[bb] and the Franco-Flemish School in addition to that of Hugo Wolf, Brahms,[bc] Wagner, Liszt, Schumann, Beethoven, Schubert ("so genuinely Viennese"), and Mozart.[141][bd] Stylistic shifts were not neatly coterminous with gradually developed technical devices, particularly in the case of his middle-period Lieder.[be]

Concision, adventurous textures and timbres, and melodies of wide leaps and sometimes extreme ranges and registers were typical.[145] Webern's music was often linear and song-like,[146] and much of it (and Berg's[147] and Schoenberg's)[148] was for singing.[15][bf] In Webern's middle-period Lieder, some heard instrumentalizing of the voice[150] (often in relation to the clarinet)[151] representing yet some continuity with bel canto.[152][bg] Johnson described the song-like gestures of Op. 11/i. Lukas Näf described one of Webern's signature hairpin dynamics (the Op. 21/i mm. 8–9 bass clarinet tenuto note) as a messa di voce requiring some rubato to execute faithfully.[154] For Johnson, Webern's rubato compressed Mahler's "'surging and ebbing'" tempi and along with his dynamics indicated a "vestigial lyrical subjectivity."[155]

Webern related his music not only to nostalgia for the lost family and home of his youth, but also to his Alpinism and fascination with botanical aromatics and morphology.[156] He was compared to Mahler in his orchestration and semantic preoccupations (e.g., memory, landscapes, nature, loss, often Catholic mysticism).[157]

Webern's and Schoenberg's music distinctively prioritized minor seconds, major sevenths, and minor ninths[bh] as noted in 1934 by microtonalist Alois Hába.[158] The Kholopov siblings noted the semitone's unifying role by axial inversional symmetry and octave equivalence as interval class 1 (ic1), approaching Allen Forte's generalized pitch-class set analysis.[159] Webern's consistent use of ic1 in cells and sets, often expressed as a wide interval musically,[160] was well noted.[bi] Symmetric pitch-interval practices varied in rigor and use by others (e.g., Berg, Schoenberg, Bartók, Debussy, Stravinsky; more nascently Mahler, Brahms, Bruckner,[bj] Liszt, Wagner). Berg and Webern took symmetric approaches to elements of music beyond pitch. Webern later linked pitches and other parameters in schemes (e.g., fixed or "frozen" register).[164]

Relatively few of Webern's works were published in his lifetime. Amid fascism and Emil Hertzka's passing, this included late as well as early works and those without opus numbers. His rediscovery prompted many publications, but some early works were unknown until after the work of the Moldenhauers well into the 1980s, obscuring formative facets of his musical identity.[165] Thus when Boulez first oversaw a project to record Webern's music, the results fit on three CDs and the second time, six.[166][bk] A Gesamtausgabe has remained in progress.

1899–1908: Formative juvenilia and emergence from study edit

Webern published little juvenilia; like Brahms, he was meticulous and self-conscious, revising extensively.[167] His earliest works were mostly Lieder on works of Richard Dehmel, Gustav Falke, and Theodor Storm. Schubert, Schumann, and Wolf were important models. With its brief, potent expressivity and utopianization of the natural world, the (German) Romantic Lied had a lasting influence on Webern's musical aesthetic.[168] He never abandoned its lyricism, intimacy, and wistful or nostalgic topics, though his music became more abstract, idealized, and introverted.[169]

A 1906 postcard photograph of Danzig's Friedrich-Wilhelm-Schützenhaus [de]

Webern memorialized the Preglhof in a diary poem "An der Preglhof" and in the tone poem Im Sommerwind (1904), both after Bruno Wille's idyll. In the preface to his tripartite, single-movement string quartet (1905), Webern quoted Jakob Böhme[170] and mentioned the panels[bl] of Segantini's Trittico della natura[bm] as "Werden–Sein–Vergehen".[171][bn]

The Passacaglia, Op. 1 (1908) was his graduation piece after study with Schoenberg. Its chromatic harmonic language and less conventional orchestration distinguished it from prior works; its form foreshadowed those of his 1920s works.[172] Webern also began an opera on Maeterlinck's Alladine et Palomides [fr], of which only unfinished sketches remained.[173][bo] Conducting the 1911 Danzig premiere of Op. 1 at the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Schützenhaus [de], he paired it with Debussy's 1894 Prélude à l'après-midi d'un faune, Ludwig Thuille's 1896 Romantische Ouvertüre, and Mahler's 1901–1904 Kindertotenlieder in a poorly attended Moderner Abend[bp] concert. The Danziger Zeitung [de] critic derided Op. 1 as an "insane experiment".[175]

1908–1914: Atonality and aphorism edit

Webern's music, like Schoenberg's, was freely atonal after Op. 2. Some of their and Berg's music from this time was published in Der Blaue Reiter.[177] Webern and Schoenberg were so close artistically, Schoenberg later joked, "I haven't the slightest idea who I am".[178] But Webern was no epigone.[179] The first of his innovative and increasingly extremely aphoristic Opp. 5–11 (1909–1914) radically influenced Schoenberg's Opp. 11/iii[bq] and 1617 (and Berg's Opp. 45).[181] Schoenberg was "intoxicated ... having freed music from the shackles of tonality," believing that "music could renounce motivic features and remain coherent and comprehensible".[182]

Two enduring topics emerged in Webern's work: familial (especially maternal) loss and memory, often involving some religious experience, and abstracted landscapes idealized as spiritual, even pantheistic Heimat (e.g., the Preglhof, the Eastern Alps).[183] Webern explored these ideas via Swedenborg's correspondences in Tot (Oct. 1913), a stage play in six reflective, self-consoling Alpine tableaux vivants.

Webern's music took on the character of such static dramaticovisual scenes, with pieces frequently culminating in the accumulation and amalgamation (often the developing variation) of compositional material. Fragmented melodies frequently began and ended on weak beats, settled into or emerged from ostinati, and were dynamically and texturally faded, mixed, or contrasted.[184] Tonality became less directional, functional, or narrative than tenuous, spatial, or symbolic as fit Webern's topics and literary settings.

Expanding on Mahler's orchestration, Webern linked colorful, novel, fragile, and intimate sounds, often nearly silent at ppp, to lyrical topics: solo violin to female voice; closed or open voicings, sometimes sul ponticello, to dark or light; compressed range to absence, emptiness, or loneliness and registral expansion to fulfillment, (spiritual) presence, or transcendence;[br] celesta, harp, and glockenspiel to the celestial or ethereal; and trumpet, harp, and string harmonics to angels or heaven.[185][bs]

With elements of Kabarett,[bt] neoclassicism,[bu] and ironic Romanticism[bv] in Pierrot lunaire, Op. 21 (1912), Schoenberg began[bw] to distance himself from Webern's and latterly Berg's aphoristic expressionism, which provoked the 1913 Skandalkonzert.

1914–1924: Middle-period Lieder edit

During and after World War I (1914–1926) Webern worked on some fifty-six songs, following Schoenberg's advice to set texts as a means of composing something more substantial than aphorisms. He finished thirty-two, ordered into sets as Opp. 12–19.[187] The contrapuntal procedures and nonstandard ensemble of Pierrot influenced Webern's Opp. 14–16:[188] "How much I owe to your Pierrot", he told Schoenberg after setting Trakl's "Abendland III" (Op. 14/iv),[189] in which, distinctly, there was no silence until a pause at the concluding gesture. Webern mingled his usual topics with recurrent wartime themes of wandering in search of home or solace.

Schoenberg "yearn[ed] for a style for large forms ... to give personal things an objective, general form."[bx] Since 1906 Berg, Schoenberg, and Webern indulged shared interest in Swedenborgian mysticism and Theosophy, reading Balzac's Louis Lambert and Séraphîta and Strindberg's Till Damaskus and Jacob lutte. Gabriel, protagonist of Schoenberg's semi-autobiographical Die Jakobsleiter (1914–1922, rev. 1944)[by] described a journey: "whether right, whether left, forwards or backwards, uphill or down – one must keep on going without asking what lies ahead or behind",[bz] which Webern interpreted as a pitch-space metaphor. Schoenberg later reflected on "how enthusiastic [Webern and I] were about this."[ca] On the journey to composition with twelve tones, Webern revised many of his middle-period Lieder in the years after their apparent composition but before publication, increasingly prioritizing clarity of pitch relations, even against timbral effects, as Anne Shreffler[195] and Felix Meyer described.

After Op. 16, Webern used Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique for the first time, though he[cb] and Schoenberg had long experimented with the idea.

1924–1945: Formal coherence and expansion edit

The symmetry of Webern's tone row from Variations, Op. 30, was apparent from the equivalent, P1=IR1 and R12=I12, and thus reduced number of row forms, two, P and R, plus transpositions. Consisting of three related tetrachords: a and c consisting of two minor seconds and one minor third and b consisting of two minor thirds and one minor second. Notes 4–7 and 6–9 also consist of two minor seconds and one minor third. "The entire series thus consists of two intervals and has the greatest possible unity of series form, interval, motif, and chords.[36]

Webern's 1926–1927 String Trio, Op. 20, was his first large-scale non-vocal work since the 1914 Cello Sonata. He produced many sketches and drafts toward this goal, including an abandoned 1917 string quartet; other efforts toward a string trio; a seventeen-measure 1920 movement scored for clarinet, trumpet, and violin; and piano works including Kinderstück (1924, intended as one of a set) and Klavierstück (1925).[196]

Like Brahms's and Schoenberg's, Webern's music was marked by contrapuntal rigor, formal schemes, and systematic pitch organization long before twelve-tone technique.[197] His tone rows comprised pitch groups symmetrically related by inversion, retrograde, or both (retrograde inversion), yielding invariance. He varied this structural and motivic unity superficially as before (e.g., fragmentation, Klangfarbenmelodie, and octave displacement).[198]

Webern made further strides in his cantatas as he ecstatically wrote the Humpliks,[199] synthesizing the rigorous style of his mature instrumental works with the word painting of his Lieder on a orchestral scale.[200] His textures were somewhat denser yet more homophonic at the surface through nonetheless contrapuntal polyphonic means.[199] In Op. 31/i he alternated lines and points, culminating twice[cc] in twelve-note simultaneities.[201] For Rochberg "the principles of 'the structural spatial dimension' ... "join[ed] forces with lyrico-dramatic demands" in Webern's late cantatas and songs (Opp. 23, 25–26, 29, and 31).[202]

At his death he left sketches for the movement of an apparent third cantata (1944–1945), first planned as a concerto, setting "Das Sonnenlicht spricht" from Jone's Lumen cycle.[203]

Arrangements and orchestrations edit

In his youth (1903), Webern orchestrated five or more Schubert Lieder[cd] for an appropriately Schubertian orchestra (strings and pairs of flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, and horns). In 1934, he did the same for two of Schubert's 1824 Six German Dances.

For Schoenberg's Society for Private Musical Performances in 1921, Webern arranged, among other things,[205] the 1888 Schatz-Walzer (Treasure Waltz) of Johann Strauss II's Der Zigeunerbaron (The Gypsy Baron) for string quartet, harmonium, and piano.

In 1924 Webern arranged Liszt's Arbeiterchor (Workers' Chorus, c. 1847–1848)[206] for bass solo, mixed chorus, and large orchestra; thus Liszt's work was finally premièred[ce] when Webern conducted the first full-length concert of the Austrian Association of Workers Choir (13 and 14 March 1925). A review in the Wiener Zeitung (28 March 1925) read "neu in jedem Sinne, frisch, unverbraucht, durch ihn zieht die Jugend, die Freude" ("new in every respect, fresh, vital, pervaded by youth and joy").[208] The text (in English translation) read in part: "Let us have the adorned spades and scoops,/Come along all, who wield a sword or pen,/Come here ye, industrious, brave and strong/All who create things great or small."

Reception, influence, and legacy edit

Webern's music, "regarded (to the ... extent that it was regarded at all) as the ultimate in hermetic, specialized, and idiosyncratic composition",[209] was generally considered difficult by performers and inaccessible by listeners alike.[210] Schoenberg admired its concision, but even Berg joked about its brevity. Hendrik Andriessen found it "pitiful".[211]

Composers and performers first tended to take Webern's work, with its residual post-Romanticism and initial expressionism, in mostly formalist directions with a certain literalism, departing from Webern's own practices and preferences in extrapolating from elements of his late style. This became known as post-Webernism.[212] A richer, more historically informed understanding of Webern's music and its performance practice began to emerge in the latter half of the 20th century. Hans and Rosaleen Moldenhauer sought and archived sketches, letters, lectures, recordings, and other articles of Webern's (and others') estates.[cf]

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, Webern's marginalization under Gleichschaltung was appreciated, but his pan-Germanism and assistance to Jewish friends were not as known or often mooted.[213] For many, like Stravinsky, Webern never compromised his artistic identity and values, but for others the matter was less simple.[cg]

Performance practice edit

Eric Simon ... related ... : 'Webern was obviously upset by Klemperer's sober time-beating. ... [T]o the concert master [he] said: "... the phrase there ... must be played Tiiiiiiiiiii-aaaaaaaaa." Klemperer, overhearing ... said sarcastically: "... [N]ow you probably know exactly how you have to play the passage!"' Peter Stadlen ... [described Webern]'s reaction after the performance: ... '"A high note, a low note, a note in the middle—like the music of a madman!"'

The Moldenhauers detailed Webern's reaction to Otto Klemperer's 1936 Vienna performance of his Symphony (1928), Op. 21, which Webern played on piano for Klemperer "with ... intensity and fanaticism ... passionately".[214]

Webern notated articulations, dynamics, tempo rubato, and other musical expressions, coaching performers to adhere to these instructions but urging them to maximize expressivity through musical phrasing.[214][ch] This was supported by personal accounts, correspondence, and extant recordings of Schubert's Deutsche Tänze (arr. Webern) and Berg's Violin Concerto under Webern's direction. Ian Pace considered Peter Stadlen's account of Webern's coaching for Op. 27 as indicating Webern's "desire for an extremely flexible, highly diaphanous, and almost expressively overloaded approach".[216][ci]

This aspect of Webern's work was often overlooked in his immediate post-war reception,[218] which was roughly coterminous with the early music revival. Many musicians performed "music that is at the same time old and new", as Nicholas Cook and Anthony Pople glossed it and as addressed by Richard Taruskin.

Felix Galimir of the Galimir Quartet told The New York Times (1981): "Berg asked for enormous correctness in the performance of his music. But the moment this was achieved, he asked for a very Romanticized treatment. Webern, you know, was also terribly Romantic—as a person, and when he conducted. Everything was almost over-sentimentalized. It was entirely different from what we have been led to believe today. His music should be played very freely, very emotionally."[219]

1935–1947: Contemporaries' perspectives edit

Identifying with Webern as a "solitary soul" amid 1940s wartime fascism,[220] Luigi Dallapiccola independently and somewhat singularly[cj] found inspiration especially in Webern's lesser-known middle-period Lieder, blending its ethereal qualities and Viennese expressionism with bel canto.[221] Stunned by Webern's Op. 24 at its 1935 ISCM festival world première under Jalowetz in Prague, Dallapiccola's impression was of unsurpassable "aesthetic and stylistic unity".[222] He dedicated Sex carmina alcaei[ck] "with humility and devotion" to Webern, who he met in 1942 through Schlee, coming away initially open-mouthed at Webern's emphasis on "our great Central European tradition."[223] Dallapiccola's 1953 Goethe-lieder especially recall Webern's Op. 16 in style.[224]

In 1947, Schoenberg remembered and stood firm with Berg and Webern despite rumors of the latter's having "fallen into the Nazi trap":[cl] "... [F]orget all that might have ... divided us. For there remains for our future what could only have begun to be realized posthumously: One will have to consider us three—Berg, Schoenberg, and Webern—as a unity, a oneness, because we believed in ideals ... with intensity and selfless devotion; nor would we ever have been deterred from them, even if those who tried might have succeeded in confounding us."[cm] For Krasner this put "'Vienna's Three Modern Classicists' into historical perspective". He summarized it as "what bound us together was our idealism."[225]

1947–1950s: (Re)discovery and post-Webernism edit

Webern's death should be a day of mourning for any receptive musician. We must hail ... this great ... a real hero. Doomed to ... failure in a deaf world of ignorance and indifference he ... kept on cutting ... dazzling diamonds, the mines of which he had ... perfect knowledge.

Stravinsky lauded Webern in die Reihe[229][cn]

After World War II, there was unprecedented engagement with Webern's music. It came to represent a universally or generally valid, systematic, and compellingly logical model of new composition, especially at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse.[230] René Leibowitz performed, promulgated, and published Schoenberg et son école;[231] Adorno, Herbert Eimert, and others contributed. Composers and students[co] listened in a quasi-religious trance to Peter Stadlen's 1948 Op. 27 performance.[232]

Webern's gradual innovations in schematic organization of pitch, rhythm, register, timbre, dynamics, articulation, and melodic contour; his generalization of imitative techniques such as canon and fugue; and his inclination toward athematicism, abstraction, and lyricism variously informed and oriented European and Canadian, typically serial or avant-garde composers (e.g., Messiaen, Boulez, Stockhausen, Luigi Nono, Pousseur, Ligeti, Sylvano Bussotti, Bruno Maderna, Bernd Alois Zimmermann, Barbara Pentland).[233] Eimert and Stockhausen devoted a special issue of die Reihe to Webern's œuvre in 1955. UE published his lectures in 1960.[234]

In the US, Milton Babbitt[235] and initially George Rochberg[236] found more in Schoenberg's twelve-tone practice. Elliott Carter's and Aaron Copland's critical ambivalence was marked by a certain enthusiasm and fascination nonetheless.[237] Robert Craft fruitfully reintroduced Stravinsky to Webern's music, without which Stravinsky's late works would have taken different shape. Stravinsky staked his contract with Columbia Records to see Webern's then known music first both recorded and widely distributed.[238]

Among the New York School, John Cage and Morton Feldman first met in Carnegie Hall's lobby, ecstatic after a performance of Op. 21 by Dimitri Mitropoulos and the New York Philharmonic. They cited the effect of its sound on their music.[239] They later sung the praises of Christian Wolff as "our Webern".

Gottfried Michael Koenig suggested some early interest in Webern's music may have been that its concision and apparent simplicity facilitated didactic musical analysis. Robert Beyer [de] criticized serial approaches to Webern's music as reductive, narrowly focused more on Webern's procedures than his music while neglecting timbre in their typical selection of Opp. 27–28.[240] Webern's music sounded like of "a Mondrian canvas", "crude and unfinished", to Karel Goeyvaerts.[241] Wolf-Eberhard von Lewinski criticized some Darmstadt music as "acoustically absurd [if] visually amusing" (Darmstädter Tagblatt [de], 1959); a Der Kurier article of his was headlined "Meager modern music—only interesting to look at".[242]

1950s onward: Beyond (late) Webern edit

[H]ermetic constructivism seems infused with intense emotion, ... diffused across the ... surface of the music. Gone is the mono-directional thrust of Classical and Romantic music; in its place a world of rotations and reflections, opening myriad paths for the listener to trace through textures of luminous clarity yet beguiling ambiguity.

George Benjamin described Webern's Op. 21.[243] Many[cq] noted floating, spatial, static, or suspended qualities in some of Webern's music. Johnson noted spatial metaphors.[246]

Through late 1950s onward, Webern's work reached musicians as far removed as Joel Thome and Frank Zappa,[247] yet many post-war European musicians and scholars had already begun to look beyond[248] as much as back at Webern in his context. Nono advocated for a more cultural and historical understanding of Webern's music.[249]

Adorno lectured that in the prevailing climate "artists like Berg or Webern would hardly be able to make it" ("The Aging of the New Music", 1954). Against the "static idea of music" and "total rationalization" of the "pointillist constructivists," he advocated for more subjectivity, citing Über das Geistige in der Kunst (1911), in which Wassily Kandinsky wrote: "Schoenberg's [expressionist] music leads us to where musical experience is a matter not of the ear, but of the soul—and from this point begins the music of the future."

In Votre Faust (1960–1968), Pousseur quoted and his protagonist Henri analyzed Webern's Op. 31. Yet there were already several elements of late or postmodernism (e.g., eclecticism of historical styles, mobile form, polyvalent roles).[250] This coincided with a wider rapprochement with Berg,[251] whose example Pousseur cited,[252] from whose music he also quoted, and whose writings he translated into French in the 1950s.[253] Boulez was "thrilled" by Berg's "universe ... never completed, always in expansion—a world so ... inexhaustible," referring to the rigorously organized, only partly twelve-tone Chamber Concerto.[cr]

Engaging with Webern's atonal works by some contrast to earlier post-Webernism, both Ferneyhough and Lachenmann expanded upon and went further than Webern in attention to the smallest of details and the use of ever more radically extended techniques. Ferneyhough's 1967 Sonatas for string quartet included atonal sections much in the style of Webern's Op. 9, yet more intensely sustained. In a comparison to his own 1969 Air, Lachenmann wrote of "a melody made of a single note [...] in the viola part" of Webern's Op. 10/iv (mm. 2–4) amid "the mere ruins of the traditional linguistic context," observing that "the pure tone, now living in tonal exile, has in this new context no aesthetic advantage over pure noise" ("Hearing [Hören] is Defenseless—without Listening [Hören]", 1985).

Eastern Europe edit

In Eastern Europe, Second Viennese music was professionally dangerous but sometimes an exciting or inspiring alternative to socialist realist art music. The Kolisch Quartet's 1927 performance of Berg's Lyric Suite at the Baden-Baden ISCM festival (where Bartók performed his own Piano Sonata) inspired Bartók in his subsequent third and fourth string quartets[254] and Concerto for Orchestra.[255] But later Viennese influence on composers behind the Iron Curtain was mediated by anti-fascist and -German sentiment[256] and obstructed by anti-formalist cultural policies[257] and Cold War separation. Even in 1970, Ligeti found, "one cannot obtain ... information."[258]

Webern's influence predominated after the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, bearing on Pál Kadosa, Endre Szervánszky, and György Kurtág.[259] Among Czechs, Pavel Blatný attended the Darmstädter Ferienkurse and wrote music with serial techniques in the late 1960s. He returned to tonality in Brno and was rewarded.[260] Marek Kopelent discovered the Second Viennese as an editor and was particularly taken by Webern.[261] Kopelent was blacklisted for his music and despaired, unable to attend international performances of his work.[262]

Official Soviet Russian condemnation eased in the post-Stalinist Khrushchev Thaw with the rehabilitation of some affected by the Zhdanov Doctrine. Sheet music and recordings entered via journalists, friends, family (e.g., from Nicolas to Sergei Slonimsky), and especially composers and musicians (e.g., Igor Blazhkov [ru], Gérard Frémy, Alexei Lubimov, Maria Yudina), who traveled more.[263] Stationed in Zossen as a military band arranger (1955–1958), Yuri Kholopov risked arrest for obtaining scores in West Berlin and from the Leipzig office of Schott Music.[264] Philip Herschkowitz, poverty-stricken, taught privately with cautious emphasis on Beethoven and the tradition from which Webern emerged;[265] among his pupils was Nikolai Karetnikov.

In Soviet Music, Marcel Rubin criticized "Webern and His Followers" (1959), by contrast to Berg and Schoenberg, for going too far.[266] Alfred Schnittke complained in an open letter (1961) of composers' restricted education.[267] Through Grigory Shneyerson's anti-formalist On Music Living and Dead (1960) and Johannes Paul Thilman's anti-modernist "On the Dodecaphonic Method of Composition" (1958), many (e.g., Eduard Artemyev, Victor Ekimovsky, Vladimir Martynov, Boris Tischenko[cs]) ironically learned more about what had been and even was still forbidden.[269]

Through Andrei Volkonsky, Lydia Davydova recalled, Schoenberg's and Webern's music came to Russia alongside Renaissance and early Baroque music.[270] Tischenko remembered that in the 1960s, Volkonsky "was the first swallow of the avant-garde. [T]hose who came after him ... already followed in his tracks. I consider [him] the discoverer."[270] Edison Denisov described the 1960s as his "second conservatory", crediting Volkonsky not only for introducing Webern, but also Gesualdo.[271]

This tolerance did not survive the Brezhnev Stagnation.[272] Volkonsky emigrated in 1973, Herschkowitz in 1987, and of Khrennikov's Seven (1979), Denisov, Elena Firsova, Sofia Gubaidulina, Dmitri Smirnov, and Viktor Suslin eventually emigrated.[273]

Since the 1980s: Reappraisals and polemics edit

Webern's music remained polarizing and provocative within various communities of musicians, scholars, and listeners.[274] His entire œuvre was played at the 2004 Vienna Festival, echoing six international festivals in his name (1962–1978). Webern had been quietly sure that "in the future even the postman will whistle my melodies!"[275] But Dmitri Tymoczko observed many audiences did not acquire a taste for music like Webern's;[ct] it was established but infrequent in standard (repeating) orchestral repertoire.[cu] Glenn Watkins noted "quick shifts of interest" in Webern's music, ranging from "dismissal to enthronement to neglect".

Webern's legacy and value was bitterly contested in the "serial wars". Meanwhile Allen Forte and Bailey Puffett formally analyzed Webern's atonal and twelve-tone œuvres respectively. Amid the "Restoration of the 1980s", as Martin Kaltenecker termed a paradigm shift from structure to perception within musicological discourse,[cv] music historians quarreled.[276] Charles Rosen scorned "historical criticism ... avoiding any serious engagement with a work or style ... one happens not to like".[277] Andreas Holzer warned of "post-factual tendencies".[278][cw] Pamela M. Potter advised considering "the complexity of ... day-to-day existence" under Nazism, partly in considering the relevance of composers' politics to their canonic status.[280]

Taruskin prioritized audience reception, not "musical utopianism".[cx] He excoriated the Second Viennese School's "idiosyncratic view of the past", linking Webern and Adler to Eduard Hanslick and "neo-Hegelian" Franz Brendel.[281] Noted for his polemicism and revisionism,[282][cy] Taruskin acquired a self-described "dubious reputation" for his work on Webern and New Music[284][cz] and was criticized by many.[da] For Franklin Cox, Taruskin was an unreliable historian who opposed the Second Viennese School's "progressivist historicist" emancipation of the dissonance with a "reactionary historicist" "ideolog[y] of tonal restoration".[296] Martin Scherzinger noted that Taruskin's critique of Webern sought "active complicity with undesirable politics".

Mark Berry described Webern, already among Boulez's "big five", as one of five "canonical pillars of classic historical early twentieth-century modernism".[db] For Michael Walter [de], the innovations of "the compositional avant-garde", including Webern, constituted a break "partially separat[ing]" them from the process of "exoteric canonization". By contrast to the "concert canon", Anne Shreffler considered Webern's ranking in a "separate canon", "based on a historiography ... of technical and formal accomplishments". For Kyle Gann as others, Webern and his like represented a dead end.[dc] Webern, David H. Miller suggested, "achieved a certain kind of acceptance and canonization".[301]

Pascal Decroupet observed an unquestioned "canon of polarizations" in prior histories.[dd] Johnson challenged the idea of "conservative and progressive camps", noting the "co-existence and interaction of diverse stylistic practices" with "remarkable similarities". Building on Shreffler's and Felix Meyer's sketch studies as institutions acquired and made the Moldenhauers' estate accessible, Johnson worked toward a hermeneutics of Webern's (and Mahler's) music. Opting for global modernity as longue durée, he decentered musicology's technical periodizations. Referring to the "broken pastoral"[de] of Monteverdi's L'Orfeo and the brief, fragmentary nature of Chopin's Op. 28, which Schumann likened to "ruins", Johnson explored continuities with the "broken homeland" (as music "broken off from the past") and "evanescent images of musical fullness" (as music "broken in itself") of Webern's Opp. 12–18.

Recordings by Webern edit

Notes edit

  1. ^ Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern never used his middle names and was Anton von Webern until the 1919 Adelsaufhebungsgesetz [de], one social-democratic reform of many in the aftermath of World War I abolishing Austrian nobility in the newly declared Republic of German-Austria.
  2. ^ As teacher, Webern guided and variously influenced Frederick Dorian (Friederich Deutsch), Hanns Eisler, Arnold Elston, Fré Focke [de], Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Philip Herschkowitz, Roland Leich, Kurt List, Gerd Muehsam [de], Matty Niël [nl], Karl Rankl, Louis Rognoni [it], Humphrey Searle, Leopold Spinner, Eduard Steuermann, Stefan Wolpe, Ludwig Zenk [cs],[1] and possibly René Leibowitz.
  3. ^ Webern's influence was closely linked (not restricted) to serialism.
  4. ^ Rosegger wrote Heimatkunst [de].
  5. ^ Bruckner told students he was no longer guided by the rules he taught, broadening Adler's normative ideas about music.
  6. ^ Bruckner, Liszt, and Wagner all wrote of "music of the future".
  7. ^ Albrecht Dürer Society. He later served on its board.
  8. ^ Webern may have seen newspaper ads for Schoenberg's Schwarzwald School courses in 1904. Karl Weigl, another Adler student, impressed Webern with the score of Schoenberg's Op. 5 in 1902. In 1903–1904, Webern attended performances of Schoenberg's Lieder and Op. 4.[12]
  9. ^ Johnson argued this applied not only to most of the music Webern specified—"The Passacaglia, the Quartet, most of the songs, the second Quartet [Op. 5], the first orchestral pieces [Op. 6], the second [Op. 10] (with some exceptions)" (July 1912 letter to Berg), but also to most of Webern's œuvre as part of "larger and more complex bundle of ideas whose genealogy and weight are cultural ...".[24]
  10. ^ So wrote Webern to Hildegard Jone [de], who read his music as "filled ... with the endless love and delicacy of the memory of ... childhood".[24]
  11. ^ They included Berg, Schoenberg, and Erwin Stein.
  12. ^ Debussy, who died in 1918, once wished for a "'Society of Musical Esotericism'".[27]
  13. ^ Singing Society of the Social Democratic Arts Council
  14. ^ Workers' Symphony Concerts
  15. ^ Social Democratic Arts Council
  16. ^ Men's Singing Society
  17. ^ Leinsdorf considered the experience of "utmost value to my musical and critical development".[32]
  18. ^ Its popevki-like 3-7A cell and its 4–10 variant[34] were not altogether unlike the rhythmized trichords of Webern's later Op. 24[35] or the tetrachords of Op. 30[36] (which Stravinsky later admired),[37] apart from Stravinsky's tendency to anhemitony[38] in marked contrast to Webern's hemitonicism.[39]
  19. ^ Among these were Alfred Adler, Karl Bühler, Leo Delitz [de], Josef Dobrowsky, Sigmund Freud, Ernst Lichtblau, Fanina Halle [lt], Hans Kelsen, Alma Mahler, suffragist Daisy Minor, Robert Musil, Egon Wellesz, and Franz Werfel.[41]
  20. ^ "Die Kundgebung des geistigen Wien," April 20, 1927; it read in part, with emphasis in original: "The essence of Spirit [Geist] is above all Freedom, which is now endangered and we feel obligated to protect it. The struggle for a higher humanity and the battle against indolence [Trägheit] and sclerosis [Verödung] will always find us ready. Today, it also finds us prepared for battle."[41]
  21. ^ Workers' Times
  22. ^ Supporters included DJ Bach, Ruzena Herlinger [de], Werner Reinhart, Elizabeth Sprague Coolidge, Paul Stefan, and the IGNM-Sektion Österreich [de].[43]
  23. ^ The first 1924 prize, juried by Julius Bittner, Joseph Marx, and Richard Strauss, was shared by several, including Berg, Carl Prohaska [de], Franz Schmidt, Max Springer, and Karl Weigl; the note was signed by Karl Seitz, who asked Webern at a concert two weeks prior, "Are you a professional musician?"[44] Berg and Webern later served as jurists.[45] Only Webern received the prize in 1931.[46]
  24. ^ Before his suicide in 1942, Stefan Zweig wrote, "the short decade between 1924 and 1933, from the end of German inflation to Hitler's seizure of power, represents—in spite of all—an intermission in the catastrophic sequence of events whose witnesses and victims our generation has been since 1914."[49]
  25. ^ The Path to the New Music was a series of eight lectures Webern delivered at Rita Kurzmann-Leuchter [de]'s and her physician husband Rudolf's home (Feb.–Apr. 1933).[50] It was unpublished until 1960 to avoid "expos[ing] Webern to serious consequences".[51]
  26. ^ From 1928 onward, Webern grew closer to Ernst Krenek, alongside whom he lectured, whose music (taking a twelve-tone turn) he conducted, and with whom he, Berg, and Adorno shared concerns about the future.[52]
  27. ^ These conflicts arose within the ideological and political context of Germany–Soviet Union relations, 1918–1941.
  28. ^ The clericofascist Vaterländische Front appealed to Austria's Catholic identity and imperial history, maintaining independence of Nazi Germany in alliance with Fascist Italy and Hungary. The Nazis appealed to this imperial history at Nuremberg.
  29. ^ An Austrian gauleiter on Bayerischer Rundfunk named Berg and Webern as Jewish composers in 1933.[59] Berg wrote Adorno of prior instances,[60] and the Reichskulturkammer referred to Berg as an "émigré musical Jew" in Die Musik following Erich Kleiber's 1935 Berlin première of Berg's Lulu Suite.[61] Conversely, when Berg wrote in 1933 seeking an academic position for Adorno to emigrate to England, Edward Dent declined on the basis of protectionism and underfunding,[62] dubbing Berg "Hitlerian": "You [note in Berg's hand: '(The Jews?)'] are indeed Hitlerians, as you consider Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Holland, Scandinavia, Czechoslovakia and perhaps even England as belonging to 'Germany'!!!"[63]
  30. ^ He was responding to Krenek's essay "Freiheit und Verantwortung" ("Freedom and Responsibility") in Willi Reich [de]'s 23—eine Wiener Musikzeitschrift (1934). Elsewhere Krenek advocated for "a Catholic Austrian avante garde", opposing "the Austrian provincialism that National Socialism wants to force on us."[65]
  31. ^ Only guest conductor Otto Klemperer's status sufficed to overcome their refusal, and even then, the entire orchestra abruptly walked off stage afterward, leaving Krasner, Klemperer, and Arnold Rosé to stand alone. Rosé, retired, had returned to pay his respects to the late Berg as honorary concertmaster.[67]
  32. ^ Webern's only son Peter was an avid Austrian National Socialist. His eldest daughter Amalie married businessman Gunter Waller, who joined the Nazi Party as a formality. His youngest daughter Christine married Kreisleiter and Schutzstaffel member Benno Mattl, "little liked by the family", in Jun. 1938.[72] His middle daughter Maria Halbich almost emigrated with a man "of Jewish origin". She and Webern's wife Wilhelmine "Minna" Mörtl were wary of Hitler and the Nazis. Webern avoided politics at home.[73]
  33. ^ Webern told Krasner, "Schoenberg, had he not been a Jew, would have been quite different!"[70] For Bailey Puffett, this likely referred to Schoenberg's politics,[74] which were vaguely conservative and German nationalist, then Zionist.
  34. ^ Adorno wrote that "Berg was little concerned with politics, although he saw himself implicitly a socialist."[75] Following the 1918 Jännerstreik and 1919 Spartacist uprising, Berg wrote to Erwin Schulhoff, who was sympathetic, "What names does the Entente have (outside of Russia) that ring of idealism as [Rosa] Luxemburg and [Karl] Liebknecht do?"[76] In weary opposition to World War I, Berg had been adapting Junges Deutschland playwright Georg Büchner's proto-Naturalist Woyzeck, with its Vormärz theme of alienation,[77] in his opera Wozzeck. Büchner's revolutionary 1834 call in The Hessian Courier for "Peace to the huts! War on the palaces!" (Friede den Hütten! Krieg den Palästen!)[76] had endured, paraphrased by August Bebel (1871 Paris Commune)[78] and Vladimir Lenin (1916, "Peace Without Annexations and the Independence of Poland as Slogans of the Day in Russia"; 1917, "Appeal to the Soldiers of All the Belligerent Countries") amid the revolutions of 1917–1923 ending World War I, the February Revolution first among them. Premièred by Erich Kleiber at the Berlin State Opera (1925), Wozzeck was then taken to Prague by Otakar Ostrčil at the National Theatre (1926), provoking a "scandal," as Berg wrote Adorno, staged by "Czech Nationalists (virtually Nazis)" and "clerical lobbies [that] was purely political! (To them I am the Berlin Jew Alban (Aaron?) Berg. Ostrčil bribed by the Russian Bolsheviks, the whole thing arranged by the 'Elders of Zion' etc)."[79] In Rudé právo, Zdeněk Nejedlý praised Berg's music, ridiculing the idea that Wozzeck was staged as a Bolshevik conspiracy, which Antonín Šilhan insinuated in Národní listy. Emanuel Žák, writing for Čech, ascribed its "degenerate" nature to Jewish influence.[80] The Bohemian State Committee forbade further performances.[79] In its third première (1927), Nikolai Roslavets' Association for Contemporary Music staged Wozzeck at the Mariinsky Theatre in Leningrad with Berg and Shostakovich attending.[81] Berg wired his wife Helene [de] "huge, tumultuous success," though critical reception was mixed.[82] Amid Stalinism and deteriorating Germany–Soviet Union relations, Wozzeck was not restaged in Russia for 82 years.
  35. ^ Nazism itself was variously outlined, often emphasizing mutually reinforcing anticommunism, expansionist nationalism (Lebensraum), and racialized antisemitism (Judeo-Bolshevism); but historians also noted multipartisan syncretic appeals of a nostalgic, populist nature, with some anti-modernism and irrationalism, socially exclusive communitarianism (Volksgemeinschaft), and criticism of capitalism.[86]
  36. ^ Composers' correspondence was conducted with some regard to the possibility of later publication, especially after the nineteenth century. Accounts were often self-admittedly perspectival.
  37. ^ Tito M. Tonietti similarly observed of Schoenberg's reception history: "The many aspects of his complex life and artistic personality have ... been drastically simplified and isolated from their context. There has been a tendency to prefer only one, the most in line with the thesis that the writer wished to demonstrate. ... Schönberg has unfortunately not been understood ... [but] used ... for ... controversy ..., for ... purpose ... ."[88]
  38. ^ So did the Moldenhauers.[93]
  39. ^ Webern insisted they stop at a Munich train station café in 1936 to show Krasner that antisemitism posed no real danger.[42] Krasner reflected in 1987 that "Jews ... were at the center of the difficulty" but that he had been "foolhardy" as to the full potential of antisemitism: revisiting Vienna in 1941 to help friends (e.g., Schoenberg's daughter Gertrude, her husband Felix Greissle) emigrate, only his US passport saved him from locals and police.[94] Likewise, Franz Neumann reassessed the Nazis' antisemitism as late as 1944, revising his 1942 Behemoth accordingly.[95]
  40. ^ List ventured that "[n]ationalist ideas may have saved [Webern] from the concentration camp".[96] Dissent was punishable under the Heimtückegesetz.[97]
  41. ^ The Nazis' term was Volksdeutsche.
  42. ^ Deteriorating German-Austrian relations and Austrian weakening were marked by the July Putsch, economic warfare (e.g., the thousand-mark ban), and infrastructure destruction.
  43. ^ Among these were prominent Austromarxists Otto Bauer (from exile) and Karl Renner.
  44. ^ This was negated by the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye (1919), which imposed a post-Habsburg rump state ("ce qui reste, c'est l'Autriche").
  45. ^ This echoed the Linz Program of 1882.
  46. ^ Webern emphasized.
  47. ^ Webern's immediate reply (March 1940) was: "I ... with reference ... to my ... experiences ... wondered how such opposites could have become possible next to each other."[116]
  48. ^ His arrangement of two of Schubert's German Dances was performed in Leipzig and broadcast in the Reich and Fascist Italy (1941).[122]
  49. ^ The other concerts included one with Webern's Op. 1 (1940 Winterthur, Erich Schmid cond) and one with Op. 4 and selections from Op. 12 (iii omitted, 1940 Basel, Marguerite Gradmann-Lüscher sop, Schmid pf).
  50. ^ Schoenberg was unable to secure Görgi's emigration despite many attempts. Between the Russian–German language barrier and Nazi munitions and propaganda in the apartment's storeroom, Görgi was held and nearly executed as a Nazi spy but was able to convince a German-speaking Jewish officer otherwise. Görgi and his family remained there until 1969.[131]
  51. ^ Webern repeatedly emphasized Zusammenhang, translated as unity, coherence, or connection.
  52. ^ Keith Fitch glossed Webern as "crystallized Mahler". The opening of Webern's Op. 21 echoed that of Mahler's Ninth.[137]
  53. ^ This was noted in his performances.[138]
  54. ^ Webern compared Op. 27/ii to the Badinerie from Bach's BWV 1067.
  55. ^ Webern's Op. 1 was openly modeled on that of Brahms's Fourth.[139] Webern's Op. 27/i was perhaps modeled on Brahms's Op. 116/v.[140]
  56. ^ Webern often referred to the Franco-Flemish School as "the Netherlanders." In Feb. 1905 Webern recorded in his diary, "Mahler pointed out ... Rameau ... Bach, Brahms, and Wagner as ... contrapuntalists ... . '... Just as in nature the entire universe has developed from the primeval cell ... beyond to God ... so also in music should a large structure develop [entirely] from a single motive ... .' Variation is ... most important ... . A theme [must] be ... beautiful ... to make its unaltered return ... . ... [M]usicians [should] combine ... contrapuntal skill ... with ... melodiousness".[142] In Jan. 1931, Schoenberg responded to Webern's plan for lectures: "... show the logical development towards twelve-tone composition. ... [T]he Netherlands School, Bach for counterpoint, Mozart for phrase formation [and] motivic treatment, Beethoven [and] Bach for development, Brahms, and ... Mahler for varied and highly complex treatment. ... [T]itle ... : 'The path to twelve-tone composition.'"[143] Relatedly, J. Peter Burkholder generalized his claim that "the use of existing music as a basis for new music is pervasive in all periods," having first referred to "the historicist mainstream" in reference to the proximal connection between music of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Adriaan Peperzak, writing about the taste of "most intellectuals" at the end of the 20th century as "a plurality of cultural homes" (or about "the 'modern museum of cultures'"), stressed a general connection between new and old represented also in music (i.e., both "after" and before tonality or common practice), observing that "whereas certain works of Bartók and Stravinsky already are experienced as difficult," "Josquin des Prez, Gesualdo, Webern and Boulez seem to be reserved to a small elite, and we continue to refer to traditional art in learning how to compose new works and how to listen to the extraordinary works made according to non-traditional codes."
  57. ^ For example, his first use of twelve-tone technique in Op. 17, Nos. 2 and 3, was more technical than stylistic, and Adorno felt that Op. 14 sounded twelve-tone.[144]
  58. ^ Their instrumental music has been related to vocal idioms: the "concealed vocality" and "latent opera" of Berg's Lyric Suite[149] and the Bach chorale melody of his Violin Concerto; the "recitative" of Schoenberg's Op. 16/v and the accented musical prose of his twelve-tone music. Unlike Berg and Schoenberg, Webern did not use Hauptstimme and Nebenstimme, but he endorsed textures of accompanied melody in his music's polyphony.
  59. ^ Berg endorsed an innovative, pluralist approach emphasizing some bel canto and like Webern, expressed faith in singers to execute challenging lines.[153]
  60. ^ Some exceptions included Webern's Op. 23.
  61. ^ Philip Ewell cited Erhard Karkoschka, Walter Kolneder, Heinz-Klaus Metzger, Henri Pousseur, and Karlheinz Stockhausen on this point.[161]
  62. ^ Eliahu Inbal, whose work with the hr-Sinfonieorchester in the 1980s was part of a Bruckner reappraisal,[162] found additional connections between Bruckner and Webern and Romantics and modernists more generally,[163] echoing Dika Newlin and Mahler himself.
  63. ^ Performers also relaxed their tempi.
  64. ^ La vita, La natura, and La morte; or Life, Nature, and Death
  65. ^ Alpine Triptych (1898–1899)
  66. ^ "Becoming–Being–Bygone"
  67. ^ Webern was enraptured by Debussy's Pelléas et Mélisande twice in Dec. 1908 Berlin and again in 1911 Vienna.[174]
  68. ^ Modern Evening
  69. ^ Op. 11/iii (mid-1909) so differed from Op. 11/i–ii (Feb. 1909) that when Bartók performed Op. 11 (23 Apr. 1921 Budapest, 4 Apr. 1922 Paris), he omitted it.[180]
  70. ^ Beethoven's similar use of registral expansion was noted (e.g., Op. 111, No. 2, Var. 5 when the theme re-emerges in a strange harmonic context after a long section of trills).
  71. ^ Examples included the circling ostinati of Op. 6/v and the end of Op. 15/v.
  72. ^ See Sprechgesang. Schoenberg briefly directed and wrote for the Überbrettl, for example, in the 1901 Brettl-Lieder.
  73. ^ Examples included passacaglia in "Nacht", fugue in "Der Mondfleck", and canon in both.
  74. ^ Examples included the virtuoso solo and waltz in "Serenade" and triadic harmony in "O alter Duft".
  75. ^ "Galgenlied" was still quite short.
  76. ^ In Apr. 1914, after Op. 22/i, "Seraphita," so wrote Schoenberg to Alma Mahler.[190]
  77. ^ Scholarship varied as to the genesis of Jakobsleiter. Joseph Auner noted a scherzo fragment dated May 1914.[191] Schoenberg told Berg about setting Strindberg's Jacob lutte in spring 1911. Webern introduced Schoenberg to Balzac's Louis Lambert and Séraphîta in Mar. 1911.[192]
  78. ^ "Ob rechts, ob links, vorwärts oder rückwärts, bergauf oder bergab – man hat weiterzugehen, ohne zu fragen, was vor oder hinter einem liegt."[193]
  79. ^ In 1941 Schoenberg lectured: "the ... law of the unity of musical space demands an absolute and unitary perception. In this space, as in Swedenborg's heaven (described in Balzac's Séraphîta) there is no absolute down, no right or left, forward or backward." Schoenberg then considered Jakobsleiter a "real twelve-tone composition" for its opening hexachordal ostinato and "Scherzo ... of all the twelve tones".[194]
  80. ^ Examples include Op. 9, Op. 15/iv, and Op. 16.
  81. ^ First by hexachordal aggregation in its center; second in a registrally expansive, open voicing at the end.
  82. ^ Among these were "Der Vollmond Strahlt auf Bergeshöhn" (the Romanze from Rosamunde), "Tränenregen" (from Die schöne Müllerin), "Der Wegweiser" (from Winterreise), "Du bist die Ruh", and "Ihr Bild".[204]
  83. ^ Initially inspired by his revolutionary countrymen, Liszt left it in manuscript at Carl Haslinger [de]'s discretion.[207]
  84. ^ In 2013, the Moldenhauers' dogged investigation into Webern's death and the experiences and testimony of those involved were portrayed in a one-act opera, The Death of Webern, which, though written in the eclectic style of its composer Michael Dellaira, paraphrases and quotes from Webern's music (e.g., the Passacaglia, Op. 1 in the third and final scenes, Klangfarbenmelodie in the sixth scene).
  85. ^ For example, Op. 28's BACH motif (1938) and Op. 29/i, "Zündender Lichtblitz", (1938–1939, orch. 1944) troubled some commentators.
  86. ^ See Werktreue [de].[215]
  87. ^ Stadlen published a specially marked score.[217]
  88. ^ Goffredo Petrassi and his student Aldo Clementi were later influenced by Webern, as was Schoenberg pupil Alfredo Sangiorgi [it]. Riccardo Malipiero organized composers, including Camillo Togni, around twelve-tone music in 1949 Milan.
  89. ^ Dallapiccola's 1943 Sex carmina alcaei, on some of the Lirici greci [it] of Salvatore Quasimodo after Alcaeus of Mytilene, were one of three groups of Lieder from his Liriche greche set (1942–1945).[221]
  90. ^ This is Krasner's phrase, by which he interpreted Schoenberg's "those who tried might have succeeded in confounding us" as referring to Webern.[225] But Douglas Jarman noted Schoenberg's discomfort with and Erwin Stein's (and later Cerha's and Perle's) defense of Berg after the Jewish banker scene in Act III of Lulu.[226] When Schoenberg asked Webern about his feelings toward the Nazis, Webern replied, "Who dares to come between you and me?" When Eduard Steuermann asked Krasner on behalf of Schoenberg, Krasner soothed Schoenberg with a self-described lie. Schoenberg's 1934 (or 1935)–1936 Violin Concerto kept its dedication to Webern, though worded very simply ("to Anton von Webern"), whether due to Schoenberg's suspicions or to protect Webern from danger or Nazi suspicion. Schoenberg and Webern continued to correspond at least through 1939.[227]
  91. ^ Schoenberg prepared his statement for publication as a handwritten inscription by facsimile reproduction in Leibowitz's 1948 didactic score of Webern's then unpublished Op. 24,[228] which Webern dedicated to Schoenberg in 1934 for his sixtieth birthday.
  92. ^ Or possibly Craft, who often ghostwrote for Stravinsky.
  93. ^ See Darmstadt School.
  94. ^ See Scambi, 1957.
  95. ^ Among these were Feldman, Pousseur,[cp] Rochberg,[244] Stravinsky,[245] and La Monte Young.
  96. ^ Adorno advocated for the completion of Lulu, writing that it "reveals the extent of its quality the longer and more deeply one immerses oneself in it". Boulez conducted the 1979 première after Cerha's orchestration.
  97. ^ Tischenko's anti-Stalinist Requiem is a noted example of Soviet post-Webernism.[268]
  98. ^ "[A]tonal music is [like] random notes" in its macroharmony, he suggested as one reason. Surveying institutions and performers, Ian Pace described New Music as subcultural within classical music.
  99. ^ In a survey of five British and French orchestras, his music was played 121 times relative to Beethoven’s 1,198 times between 1967 and 2017. In a US orchestra survey, his music was played 175 times relative to Mozart's 7,103 times between 2000 and 2009. Burkholder likened the function of orchestras to that of museums in presenting "important" (if sometimes "difficult" or "unpopular") art, not without regard to audiences.
  100. ^ Johnson also described several shifts.
  101. ^ In relation to post-Webernism more generally, Holzer slammed attempts "to place Darmstadt in a fascistoid corner or even identifying it as a US propaganda institution amid the Cold War" ("Darmstadt in ein 'faschistoides' Eck zu stellen oder es gar als Propagandainstitution der USA im Kalten Krieg auszuweisen") via "unbelievable distortions, exaggerations, reductions and propagation of clichés" ("unglaublichen Verdrehungen, Übertreibungen, Verkürzungen und Propagierungen von Klischeebildern").[279]
  102. ^ For Taruskin, pitch sets did not "conform to the physics of sound", and "optimism about human adaptability ... is the same ... that drives all utopian thinking."
  103. ^ "Of all in the volumes in this series," Taruskin referred to his Oxford History, "this one, covering the first half of the twentieth century, surely differs the most radically from previous accounts".[283]
  104. ^ In his "How Talented Composers Become Useless" postscript, Taruskin wrote, "The Nazis had every right to criticize Schoenberg ... . It is not for their criticism that we all revile them."[285] He compared Leibowitz to Goebbels, found "Nazi resonances" in Eimert's "only composers who follow Webern are worthy of the name," and likened Boulez's "[s]ince the Viennese discoveries, any musician who has not experienced ... the necessity of dodecaphonic language is USELESS" to the Zhdanov Doctrine.[286] Taruskin cited Krasner to claim Webern joyfully welcomed the Nazis upon the Anschluss,[287] but Krasner told Fanfare Webern "packed me off quickly" upon the Anschluss "for my safety but perhaps ... to avoid ... embarrassment ... had his family arrived, or friends celebrating ... Nazi entry".[288]
  105. ^ Rosen charged Taruskin's "hostile presentation ... does not result in historical objectivity".[277] Max Erwin considered Taruskin's work on the Darmstädter Ferienkurse "passionately negative"[289] and "thoroughly discredited",[290] particularly that "Adorno or Leibowitz officiated with near-dictatorial power".[291] Rodney Lister wrote, "Taruskin's purpose ... is to bury Webern, not to praise him", noting "the increasing importance of 'motivization' over the course of the 19th century and of the 'collapse' of (traditional) tonality [is] something which Taruskin flatly states never took place."[292] Larson Powell found "Taruskin's ... references to Webern's politics ... to discredit the music."[293] Christian Utz [de] agreed with Martin Zenck [de] that Taruskin's claims were "simplifying and distorting", granting "authoritarian rhetoric ... in ... the 1950s and 60s" and the nonexistence of "'apolitical music'".[294] Holzer also sympathized with but found Taruskin inappropriate and simplistic.[295]
  106. ^ The others, in both cases, were Bartók, Berg, Schoenberg, and Stravinsky.[297]
  107. ^ Olin Downes described Op. 28 as "Dead End music" in 1941.[298] Another critic wrote in 1929: "If modernism depended for progress upon the Weberns, it would get nowhere."[299] Rochberg felt "Webern's music leaves his followers no new, unexplored territory."[300]
  108. ^ In new musicology and postmodernism, canons were questioned, and pluralism was promoted. Richard Taruskin criticized the canon's Eurocentrism, Germanism, and colonialism.
  109. ^ Thomas Peattie wrote about brokenness in Mahler's pastoral music. For Johnson, modernism foregrounded the "brokenness that always lay at the heart of the pastoral."

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