Alban Berg and His World (The Bard Music Festival) by Christopher Hailey

By Christopher Hailey

Alban Berg and His global is a set of essays and resource fabric that repositions Berg because the pivotal determine of Viennese musical modernism. His allegiance to the austere rigor of Arnold Schoenberg's musical revolution was once balanced via a lifelong devotion to the nice and cozy sensuousness of Viennese musical culture and a love of lyric utterance, the emotional depth of opera, and the expressive nuance of late-Romantic tonal practice.

The essays during this assortment discover the explicit characteristics of Berg's model of musical modernism, and current newly translated letters and records that remove darkness from his courting to the politics and tradition of his period. Of specific value are the 1st translations of Berg's newly came across degree paintings evening (Nocturne), Hermann Watznauer's intimate account of Berg's early years, and the recognized memorial factor of the track periodical 23. individuals think about Berg's fascination with palindromes and reflect photographs and their dating to notions of time and id; the Viennese roots of his designated orchestral variety; his hyperlinks to such Viennese contemporaries as Alexander Zemlinsky, Franz Schreker, and Erich Wolfgang Korngold; and his makes an attempt to move during the perilous shoals of gender, race, and fascist politics.

The individuals are Antony Beaumont, Leon Botstein, Regina Busch, Nicholas Chadwick, Mark DeVoto, Douglas Jarman, Sherry Lee, and Margaret Notley.

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4 Indeed, the first volume of Shatter, which Watznauer published privately, includes not only a fictitious character who “bore the unusual first name Alban” but also a character with the surname Herrenried, the fictitious name that Watznauer gives himself in this biography. Watznauer’s friendship with Berg continued to the end of Berg’s life, although it was less intense from about 1906 onward. Part III of the biography, which starts in the autumn of 1904 with Berg’s appointment as an unpaid trainee (Rechnungspraktikant) in the Lower Austrian Government Office and with his lessons with Schoenberg, continues the narrative up to 1906, when his family’s improved financial circumstances enable him to give up his post and devote himself entirely to music.

This part closes with Berg’s complete letter to Watznauer of 18 October 1906, on the subject of Ibsen’s A Doll’s House. No better demonstration can be imagined of the breadth and depth of Berg’s literary interests; there is no doubt he would have been more than adequately equipped for a career as a writer or critic had he decided on such a course. From 1907, Watznauer discontinues the narrative and restricts himself to entries from his diaries; his last entries are for 1929, though there is a closing entry by Berg himself for the American premiere of Wozzeck in Philadelphia on 19 March 1931.

Nonetheless, it would appear that Berg, like the doctor of Büchner’s play, viewed Wozzeck as a specimen. He does not question the hierarchy—Servant, Friend, Master—but relativizes its significance by subsuming all difference in larger patterns of fate. This is given symbolic significance in the central Van Gogh opera in which the second half was to have been the mirror image of the first half, an idea that survives • 20 • Christopher Hailey in miniature in the retrograde of the orchestral interlude at the very center of Lulu.

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