As first a Romantic and then a modernist, as a sensualist fascinated by form, Alban Berg produced one of the richest bodies of music in the 20th century. He began composing as a teenager, guided by little more than his piano tuition. By the time he began lessons with Arnold Schoenberg in , he had composed 35 Lieder — more than a third of his total eventual output. Even the piano accompaniments to them were songlike. Here the influence is that of Brahms, a model composer for Schoenberg and his school. The set presents an unrivalled guide to the development of one of the major musical voices of the last century, as well as a still-rarer opportunity to enjoy a plethora of little-known, exquisitely crafted Romantic Lieder.

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He composed orchestral music including Five Orchestral Songs, , chamber music , songs , and two groundbreaking operas , Wozzeck and Lulu Apart from a few short musical trips abroad and annual summer sojourns in the Austrian Alps, Berg spent his life in the city of his birth. At first, the romantically inclined youth leaned toward a literary career. Encouraged by his father and older brother, Alban Berg began to compose music without benefit of formal instruction. During this period his output consisted of more than songs and piano duets, most of which remain unpublished.

In September he met Arnold Schoenberg , an event that decisively influenced his life. Get exclusive access to content from our First Edition with your subscription. Subscribe today Having come into a small inheritance, Berg married Helene Nahowski, daughter of a high-ranking Austrian officer, in The Bergs took an apartment in Vienna, where he settled down to devote the remainder of his life to music, although they participated freely in the intellectual life of the city.

Among their closest friends were Adolf Loos , one of the pioneers of modern architecture, and the painter Oskar Kokoschka. This fastidious , perfectionist manner of composing explains his relatively small number of works. These sometimes erotic postcard texts were sufficiently nonconformist to prompt Berg to use them as background for even less traditional music than he had composed in the past. But when two of these songs were presented at a concert of the Academic Society for Literature and Music in March , they provoked a near riot, in which performers and audience freely participated.

The theme fascinated Berg. But his work on the opera—which, varying the spelling, he would call Wozzeck —was delayed by World War I. During the course of the war, Berg always in frail health worked in the War Ministry. When he did begin composition, he was confronted by the gigantic task of compressing 25 scenes into three acts.

Although he managed to write the libretto in , he did not begin composing the score until the war was over. Courtesy of Naxos of America, Inc. From numerous statements he made, it is evident that he intended the opera to portray far more than the tragic fate of the protagonist. He wanted, in fact, to make it symbolic of human existence. After rehearsals, Wozzeck was presented in its entirety for the first time on December 14, , at the Berlin State Opera, with Erich Kleiber conducting.

Critical response was unrestrained. Typical of the prevailing attitude was the reaction of a reviewer in the Deutsche Zeitung: As I was leaving the State Opera I had the sensation of having been not in a public theatre but in an insane asylum. It is a vision in sound. Berg searched for a new opera text. He found it in two plays by the German dramatist Frank Wedekind — This work engaged him, with minor interruptions, for the next seven years, and the orchestration of its third act remained incomplete at his death it was completed by the Austrian composer Friedrich Cerha and given its premiere in Paris in Musically complex and highly expressionistic in idiom , Lulu was composed entirely in the tone system.

With the seizure of power by the Nazis in Germany in , Berg lost most of his income. Abroad, however, he was considered more and more as the representative Austrian composer, and his works were performed at leading musical festivals. In the American violinist Louis Krasner commissioned Berg to compose a violin concerto for him. As usual, Berg procrastinated at first. Having found his inspiration, Berg worked at fever pitch in the seclusion of his villa in the Austrian province of Carinthia and completed the concerto in six weeks.

By the time the work was finally presented by Krasner in Barcelona in April , it had become a requiem not only for Manon Gropius but for Berg as well. One of the major violin concerti of the 20th century, it is a work of highly personal, emotional content achieved through the use of tone and other resources—symbolic as well as musical. In mid-November he returned, a sick man, to Vienna. Although his mind was completely absorbed in his desire to finish the opera Lulu, he had to be hospitalized in December with septicemia and, after a deceptive initial improvement, he died suddenly.

A man of strikingly attractive appearance and reserved aristocratic bearing, Berg had also a generous personality that found expression in his correspondence and among his friends. He was an outstanding teacher of composition who encouraged his pupils to undertake significant work of their own. Few honours were accorded Berg in his lifetime; however, within a few years after his death he had become widely recognized as a composer who broke with tradition and mastered a radical technique and yet blended old and new to create, with Schoenberg and Webern, what became known as the 20th-century or Second Viennese school.


Alban Berg

Along a secret forest path I like to creep in the evening light; I go to the desolate, reedy banks, and think, my maiden, of you! Die Nachtigall [ sung text checked 1 time ] Language: A broad land of wonder has opened up. Your gift is greatly appreciated. Submitted by Nahtigall Ezust [ Administrator ] 5. The material directly above is protected by copyright and appears here by special permission. Die Nachtigall Lyrics Go to the single-text view In the arms of love we fell blissfully asleep; at the open window the summer wind listened and carried the peacefulness nwchtigall our breath out into the bright, moonlit night.


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