MUSIC 1AA3 Lecture Notes - Lecture 17: Aria, Tritone, Arnold Schoenberg

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9 Aug 2016
Department
Professor
The setting
Alban berg (1885-1935)
- Suffered a physical breakdown while serving as a junior officer in wwi
- Much of his music is personal and linked to people in his life
- Friends included alma mahler and alter gropius (her 2nd husband); berg’s final
work he violin concerto, commemorates the life of the gropius’s daughter after
her death at the age of 18
- Achieved international fame with wozzek
- Died in 1935 due to complications from an insect bite
- Berg’s music has attained relatively popular appeal through its post-romantic
expressivity, formal clarity, and personal nature
Berg, woyzeck, and wozzeck
- Berg was friends with the satirist karl kraus, who helped rediscover georg
buchner (1813-1837), a playwright who attacked the oppression of the
underclass
- The play was first transcribed from the manuscript in 1870 and first staged in
1913
- Berg attended the first viennese performance of woyzeck in may 19134 was
moved by the play’s depiction of the title figure, its stark realism, and its social
commentary
- After the performance beg chose 15 of the 26 scenes in the play and arranged
them in a suitable order, but work on the opera was interrupted by the war
- Personal connections to the opera’s subject: experience during the war (seving
mainly in a clerical job in vienna) and fathering an illegitimate child with a maid
at the age of 17
- Unlike most opera librettu, the text of wozzeck is not structured in rhymed verse
but rather was written in realistic language
- Controversial yet ultimately widely successful after premiere at the berlin state;
level of prominence and success enjoyed by this performance was unmatched by
schoenberg or webern
Atonality
- Atonality
- Preference for consonance is a universal
Preparations
- Full score was finished in 1922; a condensed piano-vocal score was pulished later
the same year and distributed by berg
oDifferent kinks of scores: sketches, short score,, full score, pino-vocl score
- Encouraged by the conducter hermann scherchan, berg arranged a concert suite;
scherchen conducted it in |924
- Premiere of the opera conducted by erich kleiber, new music director of the
berlin state opera
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