Webern Presentation

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Who is the man behind the mask?
A PowerPoint presentation by:
Jason Messinger
By Jason Messinger
“Doomed to a total failure in a deaf world of ignorance and
indifference he inexorably kept on cutting out his diamonds,
his dazzling diamonds, the mines of which he had such a
perfect knowledge.” – Igor Stravinsky
Let’s start with what works he has that makes him a
composer?
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Passacaglia Op. 1
Entflieht auf leichten Kähnen Op. 2
Fünf Lieder Op. 3
Fünf Lieder Op. 4
Fünf Sätze Op. 5
Sechs Stücke Op. 6
Vier Stücke Op. 7
Zwei Lieder Op. 8
Sechs Bagatellen Op. 9
Fünf Stücke Op. 10
Drei kleine Stücke Op. 11
Vier Lieder Op. 12
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Vier Lieder Op. 13
Sechs Lieder Op. 14
Fünf geistliche Lieder Op. 15
Fünf Kanons Op. 16
Drei Volkstexte Op. 17
Drei Lieder Op. 18
Zwei Lieder Op. 19
Streichtrio Op. 20
Symphonie Op. 21
Quartett Op. 22
Drei Gesänge Op. 23
Konzert Op. 24
Drei Lieder Op. 25
 Das Augenlicht Op. 26
 Variationen Op. 27
 Streichquartett Op. 28
 Kantate Nr. 1 Op. 29
 Variationen Op. 30
 Kantate Nr. 2 Op. 31
Let’s review and see just how long these songs would last all
together!!!
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Passacaglia Op. 1
Entflieht auf leichten Kähnen Op. 2
Fünf Lieder Op. 3
Fünf Lieder Op. 4
Fünf Sätze Op. 5
Sechs Stücke Op. 6
Vier Stücke Op. 7
Zwei Lieder Op. 8
Sechs Bagatellen Op. 9
Fünf Stücke Op. 10
Drei kleine Stücke Op. 11
Vier Lieder Op. 12
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Vier Lieder Op. 13
Sechs Lieder Op. 14
Fünf geistliche Lieder Op. 15
Fünf Kanons Op. 16
Drei Volkstexte Op. 17
Drei Lieder Op. 18
Zwei Lieder Op. 19
Streichtrio Op. 20
Symphonie Op. 21
Quartett Op. 22
Drei Gesänge Op. 23
Konzert Op. 24
Drei Lieder Op. 25
 Das Augenlicht Op. 26
 Variationen Op. 27
 Streichquartett Op. 28
 Kantate Nr. 1 Op. 29
 Variationen Op. 30
 Kantate Nr. 2 Op. 31
Let’s take a look into Webern’s techniques!
 Music involves the presentation of ideas that can be
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expressed in no other way.
Music operates according to rules of order based on
natural law rather than taste.
Great art does what is necessary, not arbitrary.
Evolution in art is necessary.
History – and thus musical idioms and practices – can
move only forward, not backward!
 Webern argued in a series of lectures published
posthumously as The Path to the New Music.
 Webern argued that twelve-tone music was the
inevitable result of music’s evolution because it
combined the most advanced approaches to pitch (using
all twelve chromatic notes), musical space (integrating
the melodic and harmonic dimensions), and the
presentation of musical ideas (combining Classical
forms with polyphonic procedures and unity with
variety, deriving every element from the thematic
material).
 Webern regarded each step along the way from
tonality to atonality to twelve-tone music as an act of
discovery, not invention.
 This gave him, and Schoenberg, total confidence in their
own work, despite the incomprehension and opposition
they encountered from performers and listeners.
 His 4th of his 5 Pieces for Orchestra Op. 10, scored for
clarinet, trumpet, trombone, mandolin, celesta, harp,
drum, violin, and viola, takes only 19 seconds to play.
 His music achieves the utmost subtilization of
expressive means.
 He extended the principle of nonrepetition of notes to
tone colors with the twelve-tone method.
 Typically, each 12 tone row is divided into symmetric
sections of 2, 4, or 6 members, which enter mutually
into intricate but invariably logical canonic imitations.
 Inversions and augmentations are inherent features
 Melodically and harmonically, the intervals of the major
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seventh and minor ninth are stressed.
Single motifs are brief, and stand out as individual particles
or lyric ejaculations.
He first used the serial technique in his Drei gesitliche
Volkslieder (3 spiritual folksongs) 1924.
The impact of Webern’s works on the general public and on
the critics was disconcerting, and upon occasion led to
violent demonstrations.
The extraordinary skill and novelty of technique made
Webern’s music endure beyond the fashions of the times.
Let’s check out how he came about learning everything by
reviewing his life story!
 Born in Vienna, Austria on December 3, 1883, as Anton
Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern.
 Died on September 15, 1945 when an American soldier
accidentally shot and killed him.
 First musical instruction was received by his mother who
was an amateur pianist.
 He played the cello in the orchestra while studying piano,
cello, and theory with Edwin Komauer in Klagenfurt.
 In 1902 he entered the University of Vienna, where he
studied harmony with Graedener and counterpoint with
Navratil.
 During this time, he also attended classes in musicology with
Guido Adler!
 He received his Ph.D. in 1906 with a dissertation on
Heinrich Isaac’s Choralis Constantinus II.
 In 1904, he began private
studies in composition
with Arnold Schoenberg,
whose ardent disciple he
became!
 Alban Berg also studied
with Schoenberg and all
together, they laid the
foundations of the 2nd
Viennese School of
composition!
 Their music was initially characterized by post-Romantic
expanded tonality and later, following Schoenberg’s own
evolution, a totally-chromatic expressionism without firm
tonal centre (often referred to as atonality) and later still
Schoenberg’s serial twelve-tone technique.
 Malevolent opponents referred S.,B., and W. as a Vienna
Trinity.
 Schoenberg – God the Father
 Berg – God the Son
 Webern – Holy Ghost
 The last appelation was supposed to describe the phantomlike
substance of some of Webern’s works.
 From 1908 – 1914 he was active as a conductor in
Vienna and in Germany.
 In 1917 – 1918, he was the conductor at the Deutsches
Theater in Prague.
 In 1918, he settled in Mödling, near Vienna, where he
taught composition privately.
 He supervised the programs of the Verein für
Musikalische Privataufführungen (Society for Private
Musical Performances) from 1918 – 1922.
 These performances were organized in Vienna by
Schoenberg with the intention of promoting modern
music without being exposed to reactionary opposition.
 He was conductor of the Schubertbund from 1921-1922
and the Mödling Male Chorus from 1921 – 1926.
 He led the Vienna Workers’ Symphony concerts and
the Vienna Worker’s Chorus from 1922 – 1934.
 From 1927 – 1938 he was a conductor on the Austrian
Radio.
 He conducted guest engagements in Germany,
Switzerland, and Spain.
 From 1929, he made several visits to England, where he
was a guest conductor with the BBC Symphony
Orchestra.
 For the most part, Webern devoted himself to
composition, private teaching, and lecturing.
 After Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933,
Webern’s music was banned as a manifestation of
“cultural Bolshevism” and “degenerate art.”
 After Anschluss in 1938, his works could no longer be
published.
 He then simply taught a few private pupils and made
piano arrangements of musical scores by others for
Universal Edition.
 He was an editor and proofreader for Universal Editon.
 After his son was killed in an air bombardment of a train in
Feb. 1945, he and his wife fled from Vienna to Mittersill,
near Salzburg, to stay with his married daughters and
grandchildren, where he believed he would be safer.
 On September 15, 1945, during the Allied occupation of
Austria, he was shot dead by an American Army soldier
following the arrest of his son-in-law for black market
activities. Despite the curfew in effect, Webern stepped
outside the house to enjoy a cigar without disturbing his
sleeping grandchildren. He was then shot by army cook
Pfc. Raymond Norwood Bell.
 Pfc. Bell was overcome by remorse and died of alcoholism in
1955.
 Ironically, the war had officially ended by the time of
Webern’s assassination. (WWII)
 Let’s put our new
knowledge and research
together and analyze his
piece, Wie bin ich Froh! No.
1 of Drei Lieder, Op. 25
 Follow this link to the
glogster about this piece
 Or, listen to the music by
clicking on this speaker:
 Or just go back to the
wikispace
By Jason L. Messinger

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