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Playlist of Anton Webern

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  • Anton Webern Symphonie op.21

    6:45

    Anton Webern Symphonie op.21
    I. Langsam schreitend

    One of my absolute favorites

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  • Pierre Boulez conducts Anton Webern

    1:6:45

    Anton Webern (1883 - 1945)
    Conductor: Pierre Boulez
    Berliner Philharmoniker
    Date: 1995

    0:00 Passacaglia for orchestra, Op. 1
    10:13 Movements for string quartet, Op. 5: No. 1, Heftig bewegt
    13:06 Movements for string quartet, Op. 5: No. 2, Sehr langsam
    15:19 Movements for string quartet, Op. 5: No. 3, Sehr bewegt
    16:02 Movements for string quartet, Op. 5: No. 4, Sehr langsam
    17:30 Movements for string quartet, Op. 5: No. 5, In zarter Bewegung
    20:59 Pieces for orchestra, Op. 6: No. 1, Etwas bewegte
    22:03 Pieces for orchestra, Op. 6: No. 2, Bewegte
    23:32 Pieces for orchestra, Op. 6: No. 3, Zart bewegte
    24:22 Pieces for orchestra, Op. 6: No. 4, Langsam marcia funebre
    28:42 Pieces for orchestra, Op. 6: No. 5, Sehr langsam
    31:05 Pieces for orchestra, Op. 6: No. 6, Zart bewegt
    32:56 Musikalisches Opfer (Musical Offering), BWV 1079: Fuga (Ricercata) A 6 Voci
    40:14 German Dances for piano, D. 820
    44:41 German Dances for piano, D. 820
    50:48 Im Sommerwind, for orchestra

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  • Anton von Webern, explained in 10 minutes

    11:35

    Composer Samuel Andreyev attempts to summarize key aspects of Webern's life and work in 10 minutes.

    Works mentioned:
    • Webern's Drei Kleine Stücke (Three Little Pieces) for cello and piano, Op. 11
    • Webern's Bagatelles for string quartet, Op. 9

    Recommended listening:
    • Webern, Im Sommerwind, for orchestra
    • Schoenberg, Gurrelieder, for soloists, speaker, mixed chorus and large orchestra
    • Gustav Mahler, Symphony N° 9




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  • Anton Webern - Symphony Op. 21

    9:18

    Anton Webern (3 December 1883 – 15 September 1945) was an Austrian composer and conductor. Along with his mentor Arnold Schoenberg and his colleague Alban Berg, Webern comprised the core among those within and more peripheral to the circle of the Second Viennese School, including Ernst Krenek and Theodor W. Adorno. As an exponent of atonality and twelve-tone technique, Webern exerted influence on contemporaries Luigi Dallapiccola, Křenek, and even Schoenberg himself. As tutor Webern guided and variously influenced Arnold Elston, Frederick Dorian (Friederich Deutsch), Fré Focke, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Philipp Herschkowitz, René Leibowitz, Humphrey Searle, Leopold Spinner, and Stefan Wolpe.

    Symphony Op. 21

    Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli

    Description by Alexander Carpenter [-]
    The Symphony, Op. 21, was the first large-scale orchestral work Webern had written since the Five Pieces, Op. 10, 15 years earlier. The work marks the beginning of a period of extreme compression in Webern's music. Dedicated to his daughter Christine, the Symphony is a work of severe economy and restrained expression. Its symmetrical structure and pointillistic texture are quintessential hallmarks of Webern's mature compositional style.

    Scored for clarinet, bass clarinet, two horns, harp, first and second violins, viola, and cello, the Symphony is widely regarded as a masterpiece in miniature: Webern's teacher and mentor Arnold Schoenberg was astounded and moved by the work's concision. Like most of Webern's 12-tone works, the Symphony is based on a single series dominated by semitones. The work consists of two short movements. The first is in two parts -- statement and development -- and begins with a double canon in four parts; the second movement is a theme with seven variations and a coda, and also includes the use of canon.

    The Symphony is perhaps most remarkable for its use of symmetry, which in some quarters has stirred accusations against Webern of a certain excessive pedantry. That symmetry takes several forms, from the work's palindromic series to the canonic variations that work in both directions from the exact center of the piece outwards. The astute listener can spend a lifetime hearing an intricate web of such structural correlations within the Symphony, which is a sort of super palindrome.

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  • Webern: Passacaglia For Orchestra Op.1

    10:05

    Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group

    Webern: Passacaglia For Orchestra Op.1 · Berliner Philharmoniker · Pierre Boulez

    Boulez conducts Webern II

    ℗ 1995 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

    Released on: 1995-01-01

    Producer: Roger Wright
    Producer, Recording Producer: Christian Gansch
    Studio Personnel, Balance Engineer: Rainer Maillard
    Editor: Wolf-Dieter Karwatky
    Composer: Anton Webern

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Great Composers: Anton Webern

    13:26

    A look at the grandfather of serialism.

    This was a video request from YouTubers BASSOONISTFROMHELL and Eric Rakestraw. See all current requests at

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    Classical Nerd is a weekly video series covering music history, theoretical concepts, and techniques, hosted by composer, pianist, and music history aficionado Thomas Little.

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    Music:

    - Anton Webern: Variations, Op. 27, performed by Chiara Bertoglio
    [free recording courtesy pianosociety.com]
    - Thomas Little: Dance! #2 in E minor, Op. 1 No. 2, performed by Rachel Fellows, Michael King, and Bruce Tippette

    ----------

    Contact Information:

    Questions and comments can be directed to:
    nerdofclassical [at] gmail.com

    Tumblr:
    classical-nerd.tumblr.com

    ----------

    All images and audio in this video are for educational purposes only and are not intended as copyright infringement. If you have a copyright concern, please contact me using the above information.

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  • Anton Webern, Cinq Pièces, op. 10 - Ensemble intercontemporain

    6:07

    Anton Webern
    Cinq Pièces, op. 10
    pour orchestre
    Ensemble intercontemporain
    Matthias Pintscher, direction

    Enregistré en direct le 04.09.2018 à la Cité de la musique - Philharmonie de Paris

  • Anton Webern - Concerto for nine instruments, Op. 24

    5:56

    Anton Webern (3 December 1883 – 15 September 1945) was an Austrian composer and conductor. Along with his mentor Arnold Schoenberg and his colleague Alban Berg, Webern comprised the core among those within and more peripheral to the circle of the Second Viennese School, including Ernst Krenek and Theodor W. Adorno. As an exponent of atonality and twelve-tone technique, Webern exerted influence on contemporaries Luigi Dallapiccola, Křenek, and even Schoenberg himself. As tutor Webern guided and variously influenced Arnold Elston, Frederick Dorian (Friederich Deutsch), Fré Focke, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Philipp Herschkowitz, René Leibowitz, Humphrey Searle, Leopold Spinner, and Stefan Wolpe.

    Concerto for 9 instruments, Op. 24 (1934)

    1. Etwas lebhaft
    2. Sehr langsam
    3. Sehr rasch

    Description by James Leonard [-]
    In the early 1930s, while the world economy was disintegrating and German politics were descending into barbarism, Anton Webern retreated into his world of strictly organized sounds. Webern first sketched the work that would become his Konzert, Op. 24, on January, 16, 1931; it began life as a single-movement orchestral piece inspired by his visit to his parents' graves, and based on a twelve-tone row so tightly organized that the standard 48 permutations were reduced to only 12. As the work grew into three movements, Webern continued distilling its essence and concentrating its form. In the final version, Webern reduced the number of instruments to nine -- flute, oboe, and clarinet; horn, trumpet, and trombone; violin, viola, and piano. The Konzert was completed on September 13, 1934, and dedicated to Webern's teacher and friend Arnold Schoenberg.

    The opening movement (in duple time, marked Etwas lebhaft), is in three parts with an introduction and postlude; each section is clearly articulated by tempo markings. Each section is more intensely worked out then the one before it, culminating in a fortissimo stringendo climax at the end of the third section. The central movement is a brief, gentle waltz for muted instruments in two sections; the closing movement is a quick dance for winds, strings, and muted brass above the piano, rushing headlong toward a climactic chord in the winds, brass, and piano in the final bars.

  • Anton von Webern | Langsamer Satz

    10:46

    STUTTGARTER KAMMERORCHESTER / STUTTGART CHAMBER ORCHESTRA
    Matthias Foremny (Chefdirigent des SKO / Chiefconductor of the SCO)
    10.11.2013 / Stuttgart (Mozartsaal der Liederhalle)




    made by:

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  • Anton Webern: String Quartet, Op. 28

    8:05

    I. Mässig
    II. Gemächlich
    III. Sehr fliessend

    Twelve-tone work using Webern's typical distillations of classical form: variations (mvt. 1), scherzo (mvt. 2) and rondo (mvt. 3). Through the use of canon and fugue in the second and particularly third movements, he was proud of his fusion of horizontal and vertical methods of composition.

    Lasalle Quartet performs. Art by Paul Klee.

  • Anton Webern - Variations op.27

    6:09

    Anton Webern - Variations op.27
    pf: Maurizio Pollini


    Happy Birthday, Mr. Pollini.


    *I do not make a profit on ANY CONTENTS in my channel ang blog, even my activity. No copyright infringement is intended. If a copyright holder wants to remove the video in this channel, please contact me via Email: azurelith [at] gmail [dot] com and I'll remove it immediately.

  • Anton Webern - Passacaglia for orchestra, Op. 1

    10:57

    Anton Webern (3 December 1883 – 15 September 1945) was an Austrian composer and conductor. Along with his mentor Arnold Schoenberg and his colleague Alban Berg, Webern comprised the core among those within and more peripheral to the circle of the Second Viennese School, including Ernst Krenek and Theodor W. Adorno. As an exponent of atonality and twelve-tone technique, Webern exerted influence on contemporaries Luigi Dallapiccola, Křenek, and even Schoenberg himself. As tutor Webern guided and variously influenced Arnold Elston, Frederick Dorian (Friederich Deutsch), Fré Focke, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Philipp Herschkowitz, René Leibowitz, Humphrey Searle, Leopold Spinner, and Stefan Wolpe.

    Passacaglia for orchestra, Op. 1 (1908)

    Dresden Staatskapelle conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli

    Description by Blair Johnston [-]
    There has hardly been a composer who didn't disown some of his works. Some, like Johannes Brahms, simply destroyed the unworthy pieces and leave posterity to wonder what treasures might have been lost to painstaking perfectionism. Others, not finding it within themselves to physically obliterate what they toiled so hard to produce, bury the offending manuscripts in their personal libraries or attics, leaving open the possibility that someday the lost may be found. Anton Webern was of the second type -- dozens and dozens of previously unknown works by him trickled onto the field in the decades following his death in 1945, some early student works, some finished mature compositions that never saw the light of day, and some pieces caught halfway between draft and finished product. His Opus 1, the Passacaglia for orchestra is, as is known well today, hardly his first effort at the craft; many, many pieces predate it. The label Opus 1 is thus a touch misleading: the Passacaglia is not so much the beginning of Webern's journey as it is the first waystation at which he stopped to say, aha -- here we have something. Each of the pieces that preceded it is to some degree irreparably flawed, technically and often aesthetically; by contrast, the Passacaglia is the first piece that might truly and proudly be reckoned a Webern -- hence, Opus 1.

    The Passacaglia dates from spring 1908, a time during which its composer was caught in an uncomfortable limbo between student life and life as a professional conductor; Webern found his first real job, assistant conductor and chorus coach at the theater of the posh resort town of Bad Ischl, during the summer of 1908. His first conducting experiences were not apparently everything Webern had hoped them to be, but he remained relatively undaunted, and in November conducted the premiere of the Passacaglia back in Vienna. The piece was and would always remain the most welcome of Webern's works so far as concert promoters and ticket sellers were concerned, and in 1918, partly as a response to the work's relative popularity, Webern made a version for piano six-hands (yes, six, not four!); this arrangement has since, however, been lost.

    Opus 1 is a proper passacaglia; it has an eight-bar ground bass in D minor, which is repeated over and over again as new music unfolds around it. The individual variations are not explicitly identified and marked as such, but for most of the piece they are simple enough to follow, even after Webern surrounds the ground bass with chromatic gusts and torrents that put a real strain on D minor and tosses the ground bass out of the actual bass up into the upper voices. A great deal of the latter portion of Webern's Passacaglia is, however, more freely composed; here the eight-bar theme disappears for large spans, and the rigid, repetitive structure is disguised as music that sounds, curiously, a little like a sonata-form development and recapitulation.

  • Anton Webern - Passacaglia in D minor, Op. 1

    10:05

    Orchestre National de France
    Emmanuel Krivine, Conductor

  • Anton Webern: Im Sommerwind

    12:39

    WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln
    Anton Webern: Im Sommerwind
    Conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste
    Recorded at Philharmonie Cologne, Germany, 12.6.2015

    WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln social media:

    facebook.com/wdrsinfonieorcheste

  • Webern - Five Pieces for Orchestra Op.10

    4:20

    Webern - Five Pieces for Orchestra Op.10

  • Anton Webern - Variations for orchestra

    9:56

    “Kharkiv contemporary 2015”
    Academic Symphony Orchestra of Kharkiv Philharmonic
    Volodymyr Runchak, conductor

  • Webern: Passacaglia

    10:43

    WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln
    Anton Webern: Passacaglia op.1
    Conducted by Jukka-Pekka Saraste
    Recorded at Philharmonie Cologne, Germany, 12.6.2015

    WDR Sinfonieorchester Köln social media:

    facebook.com/wdrsinfonieorcheste

  • Spooky Actions performing Anton Weberns Music

    6:25

    get more info

    This is the 2nd Movement from Anton Webern's5 Movements for String Quarte. Spooky Actions performed the 5 movements for String Quartet at the DOM in Moscow Russia in 2005. This performance is available on DVD at muse-eek. Spooky Actions takes music from all eras and uses this music as a springboard for improvisation. Each composer is analysed and the specific compositional devices used by each composer is incorporated in their improvisations. In this case the pitch class set 014 is used as a cell for improvisation. Spooky Actions is a New York based jazz and new-music ensemble whose diverse recordings include the music of 20th century composer Anton Webern, interpretations of Native American music, and most recently, early music from the 2nd century BC through the 1500's. Their unique and compelling sound is being met with critical acclaim and widespread interest.
    The band was founded in 1997 by John Gunther (sax, clarinet, & flute) and Bruce Arnold (electric processed guitar). The two musicians, both professors at New York University, jammed and felt an immediate musical affinity. When they both started bringing in classical music to improvise over, they were inspired to start making their own transcriptions of early and modern classical music and to create a series of recording projects. I've often thought of music as a vessel of the human spirit, a message in a bottle that can travel across an ocean of time, and deliver a note from Bach, or Charlie Parker. So writes John Gunther in his essay for their CD release Early Music. Perhaps embedded in the intervals and sequences
    of the melody and rhythm are the thoughts and emotions of the composers themselves he continues. Thus he states the raison d'être for Spooky Actions, and its continued mining of diverse repertoire for examination and re-interpretation.
    The name Spooky Actions is derived from a comment by Albert Einstein, in which he noted that certain seemingly unrelated objects could nevertheless exert a powerful influence upon each other. He called these relationships spooky actions at a distance. Spooky Actions, the band, certainly personifies this concept, showing how vivid and accessible improvisations can be derived from music that is often thought of as etched in stone.

  • Anton Webern : Passacaille pour orchestre

    10:28

    Emmanuel Krivine dirige l'Orchestre national de France dans la Passacaille pour orchestre op.1 d'Anton Webern. Extrait du concert inaugural d'Emmanuel Krivine à la tête de l'Orchestre national de France enregistré le 7 septembre 2017 à l'auditorium de la maison de la Radio (Paris).

  • Anton Webern - Kinderstück

    56

    lieblich
    für Klavier

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  • Anton Webern Four Pieces for violin and piano, op. 7

    4:33

    Written in 1910; must have sounded like music from Mars. Webern was clever in dressing up this rather austere material in the brightest colors; using special performance techniques that were state of the art for the time (Bartok pizz, pedal tones, and knocking on wood were still in the future).

    Wikipedia describes music from this stage of his career as freely atonal. This is misleading as analysis reveals impeccable formal discipline.

    Piano and click track created via midi; then practice practice practice; my beloved 1886 Enrico Melegari violin recorded on an analog portastudio. Mixed and mastered in DP.

  • Anton Webern: Variations, Op 27 Glenn Gould, piano

    5:13

    Anton Webern (1883-1945): Variations, Op.27 (1936).

    1. Sehr mäßig
    2. Sehr schnell
    3. Ruhig fileßend

    Glenn Gould, pianoforte (filmed in 1974).

    ***

    The music published in our channel is exclusively dedicated to divulgation purposes and not commercial. This within a program shared to study classic educational music of the 1900's (mostly Italian) which involves thousands of people around the world. If someone, for any reason, would deem that a video appearing in this channel violates the copyright, please inform us immediately before you submit a claim to Youtube, and it will be our care to remove immediately the video accordingly.

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  • Anton Webern - 6 Lieder Nach Gedichten

    8:40

    Anton Webern - 6 Lieder Nach Gedichten
    von Georg Trakl op.14

    00:16 - 1st
    01:48 - 2nd
    03:18 - 3rd
    04:37 - 4th
    05:58 - 5th
    06:56 - 6th

    Laura Aikin - sopran
    Mozarteumorchester Salzburg
    Ivor Bolton - dirigent

    Live aus der Felsenreitschule
    Eröffnung der Salzburger Festspiele 2014

    ! ! ! please pay attention ! ! !
    I Do Not Own The Rights To The Music.
    All Rights Belong To Their Respectful Owners.
    If you think it is violates your copyright and you wish the video to be removed immediately, please report...

  • Anton Webern - String Quartet, Op. 28

    8:07

    Anton Webern (1883 - 1945) - String Quartet, Op. 28 (1938)

    I. Mässig [0:00]
    II. Gemächlich [3:56]
    III. Sehr fliessend [5:45]

    LaSalle Quartet (1974)

    Webern's String Quartet, Op. 28, is his third major work for string quartet and typically lasts around 7 - 8 minutes.

    The piece is in three movements:
    Mässig (Moderately) – a movement in variation form.
    Gemächlich (Leisurely) – in ternary form (ABA), the outer parts being a four-part canon with all the notes the same length (fluctuations in tempo aside).
    Sehr fliessend (Very flowing) – a freer movement with numerous changes in texture and mood. In a letter to Erwin Stein, Webern described the middle part of this movement as a fugue.

    The String Quartet is composed using the twelve-tone technique. The tone row on which the piece is based (B♭, A, C, B, D♯, E, C♯, D, G♭, F, A♭, G) is intricately constructed and based on the BACH motif (B♭, A, C, B♮). The first four notes of the row are the BACH motif itself, followed by its inversion, followed by same motif transposed up a minor sixth. A special property of this row is that its inversion (G, A♭, F, G♭, D, C♯, E, D♯, B, C, A, B♭) is equivalent to its retrograde.

    The String Quartet, Op. 28, was Webern's last completed chamber work. It was written in 1938 and dedicated to the American Elisabeth Sprague Coolidge, who commissioned the work. Its austere manipulations of twelve-tone mirror forms and canons invoke a meditative intensity that has been influential on both sides of the Atlantic.

    Unlike Webern's earlier quartets, Opp. 5 and 9, the Op. 28 does not rely on the dramatic curve that dominated Germanic musical writing throughout history. More than any other piece from the Second Viennese School, it explores the possibilities of the twelve-tone row without excessive narrative baggage. This non-discursive technique heard before in different forms. Satie, in Paris, had created a sound he called furniture music that hovered and did not bring the listener through an aesthetic transformation, sustaining a level of deliberate detachment. There were several differences between the approaches of Satie and Webern. The most immediate is Satie's use of a post-tonal, salon music sound, which was meant to maintain an ironic relationship to light parlor fare. Webern's twelve-tone music does not engage in a dialogue with societal music or a dilettante public. He was not an urbane man, and his music had everything to do with where music was meant to go, as he saw it. Satie's music related to art and society; Webern's music related to nature and history.

    Since World War II, American and European composers have drawn inspiration from Webern's late works. European composers such as Boulez and Stockhausen have gravitated towards the twelve-tone organization of Webern, regarding the Op. 28 as the greatest chamber work among his output. American composers such as Cage and Feldman were attracted to the mysterious ambivalence that Webern's late music seems to maintain. Even the late quartets of Schoenberg sound, by comparison, grounded in traditions the composer may not have wished to perpetuate. Webern made music from such a remote, yet interior perspective that his works had great appeal to the individualist, New World psyche. The specific power of his final string quartet will immediately strike anyone who listens to the music of the New York School, the post-war American equivalent to Austria's Second Viennese School. Even when the New Yorkers were making music on the principle of chance, the quartets of Cage and Earl Brown have a remote delicacy that cannot escape comparisons to Webern's Op. 28. Though American composers have sought to create art that is indigenous to the artists of the New World and without European influence, their admiration for Webern has remained unqualified. The String Quartet, Op 28, is one of the most uncluttered, precise, and evocative works of the twentieth century.

    (sources: Wikipedia, AllMusic)

    Original audio:

    In memory of Johann Sebastian Bach (31 March 1685 - 28 July 1750)

  • Anton Webern - Symphony Op. 21

    9:45

    Symphony, Op. 21 (1927-1928)

    I. Ruhig schreitend
    II. Variationen:
    Thema. Sehr ruhig--
    Var. I. Lebhafter
    Var. II. Sehr lebhaft
    Var. III. Wieder mässiger
    Var. IV. Äusserst ruhig
    Var. V. Sehr lebhaft
    Var. VI. Marschmässig. Nicht eilen
    Var. VII. Etwas breiter
    Coda

    Berliner Philharmoniker
    Pierre Boulez

    The Symphony, Op. 21, was the first large-scale orchestral work Webern had written since the Five Pieces, Op. 10, 15 years earlier. The work marks the beginning of a period of extreme compression in Webern's music. Dedicated to his daughter Christine, the Symphony is a work of severe economy and restrained expression. Its symmetrical structure and pointillistic texture are quintessential hallmarks of Webern's mature compositional style.

    Scored for clarinet, bass clarinet, two horns, harp, first and second violins, viola, and cello, the Symphony is widely regarded as a masterpiece in miniature: Webern's teacher and mentor Arnold Schoenberg was astounded and moved by the work's concision. Like most of Webern's 12-tone works, the Symphony is based on a single series dominated by semitones. The work consists of two short movements. The first is in two parts -- statement and development -- and begins with a double canon in four parts; the second movement is a theme with seven variations and a coda, and also includes the use of canon.

    The Symphony is perhaps most remarkable for its use of symmetry, which in some quarters has stirred accusations against Webern of a certain excessive pedantry. That symmetry takes several forms, from the work's palindromic series to the canonic variations that work in both directions from the exact center of the piece outwards. The astute listener can spend a lifetime hearing an intricate web of such structural correlations within the Symphony, which is a sort of super palindrome. [allmusic.com]

    Art by Chuck Connelly

  • Anton Webern - Quartet With score

    7:14

    Composer: Anton Webern (3 December 1883 -- 15 September 1945)
    Performers: Charles Rosen (piano), Daniel Majeske (violin), Robert Marcellus (clarinet), Abraham Weinstein (saxophone)
    Conductor: Pierre Boulez

    Quartet for violin, clarinet, tenor saxophone and piano, op. 22, written between 1928-1930

    00:00 - I. Sehr mäßig
    03:30 - II. Sehr schwungvoll

    Webern wrote his Quartet for violin, clarinet, tenor saxophone, and piano, Op. 22 (1928-1930) for the 60th birthday of architect Adolf Loos. As happened during the composition of his String Trio, Op. 20 (1926-1927), Webern discarded sketches for a projected third movement after deeming the first two movements a complete entity. Another connection the quartet shares with the String Trio is an opaque structure Stravinsky described as scatty.

    The quartet was originally intended as a sort of reflection of nature, depicting landscapes and flora. After Webern had sketched themes according to this intent, the work gradually morphed into its completely different final form. The canons that had by this time begun to permeate Webern's music are more loosely realized in the quartet than in the composer's previous works. In the first movement, for example, their most conspicuous feature is a two-note limping motive, a short-long rhythm that is later reversed; in the middle of the movement, the motive is sounded both in its original rhythmic values and in augmentation.

    The second movement alludes to techniques Webern more fully developed in his Concerto, Op. 24 (1931-1934). Most prominent is the splintering of notes within a phrase among the various instruments in the sort of intricate pointillistic texture that became one of the most identifiable hallmarks of the composer's style. When uniformly unfavorable reviews poured in after the quartet's premiere in Vienna on April 13, 1931, Webern was unworried. Though the performance must have been superb -- the personnel included violinist Rudolf Kolisch and pianist Eduard Steuermann -- one critic wrote that the work displayed amazing similarity to certain basic human utterances of an indecent nature.


    Original Audio with description: and

  • Anton Webern - Cantata No. 1

    8:48

    Cantata No. 1 for soprano, chorus & orchestra, Op. 29 (1938-1939)

    I. Zündender Lichtblitz des Lebens (Getragen--Lebhaft)
    II. Kleiner Flügel Ahornsamen (Leicht bewegt)
    III. Tönen die seligen Saiten Apolls (Ruhig)

    Christiane Oelze, soprano
    BBC Singers
    Simon Joly, chorus master
    Berliner Philharmoniker
    Pierre Boulez

    Anton Webern's 1939 Cantata No. 1, Op. 29, is one of only two cantatas Webern completed in his lifetime. The librettist was Hildegard Jone, a friend of Webern who supplied the texts for all of his late works. The cantatas were the most ambitious and rewarding of all their combined efforts, but are rarely recorded or performed because of their difficulty. Many Webern fans regard the smaller First cantata as a warm up for the Second, but this opinion fails to recognize the specific strengths of the Op. 29. The first cantata, with its three brief movements and scoring for orchestra, chorus, and soprano, has the intimate appeal of community church music from the late Renaissance/early Baroque period. Its liturgy, almost rustic, shares a common prayer that sounds as though it was not intended to resonate outside the performance space, or to be heard as art for secular appreciation. [allmusic.com]

    Art by Fernando de Szyszlo

  • Anton Webern - Fuga

    7:07

    Fuga (Ricercata) a 6 voci for orchestra (arr. from Bach's Musical Offering), (1935)

    London Symphony Orchestra
    Pierre Boulez

    Intellectually rigorous and relentlessly contrapuntal describes the music of both Webern and J. S. Bach. Webern's orchestration of the six-voice fugue from the Musical Offering is a re-interpretation of Bach's masterpiece, one which is concerned with the work's detail, with its building blocks. Scored for flute, oboe, English horn, clarinet, bass clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, timpani, harp, and full strings, Bach's fugue, as musicologist Susan Bradshaw notes, is re-heard through Webern's ears. Webern's meticulous reconstruction of Bach's piece focus on intervallic relationships, and with the minutiae of Bach's counterpoint. Significant rhythms and motives are isolated and emphasized through colour, with Bach's long melodic lines being broken up and divided between the different instruments in the orchestra. Webern transforms a Baroque work into a pointillistic, modern piece, one that exemplifies the notion of Klangfarbenmelodie, or tone colour melody as the fugue becomes a coterie of soloists. For Webern, Bach's fugue was simply an abstract design, and as such it was susceptible to a modern reinterpretation. [allmusic.com]

    Art by Howard Hodgkin

  • Anton Webern - Symphonie op. 21

    9:26

    Pierre Boulez - London Symphony Orchestra, 1969

  • Anton Webern: String Quartet

    18:33

    Anton Webern (1883-1945): String Quartet (1905), performed by the MultatuliStringQuartet. Paul Eggen, Heleen Kuiper, HedwigSmulders, FrankdeGee.

  • Anton Webern - Three Songs

    3:37

    Three Songs for soprano, E flat clarinet & guitar, Op. 18 (1925)

    I. Schatzerl klein
    II. Erlösung (1:00)
    III. Ave Regina (2:07)

    Halina Lukomska, soprano
    John Williams, guitar
    Colin Bradley, clarinet
    Pierre Boulez

    Anton Webern's Three Songs, Op. 18, are, in character, siblings to his Three Traditional Rhymes, Op. 17, of the previous year; both sets exude a self-assured intimacy and clarity of expressive purpose. The combination of the composer's characteristically sparse textures and an unconventional scoring (soprano voice, E flat clarinet, and guitar) presents a number of special performance challenges, not the least of which is managing to bring out dynamic variety without ever exceeding the volume constraints of the guitar. The rhythmic difficulty of the score and the intervallically challenging voice part risk, in less than fully capable hands, sounding like modernistic pretension; however, a faithful performance reveals the composer's lighthearted approach, and an undercurrent of depth that somehow affirms the goodhearted, free breaths that constitute these minute-long songs.

    The texts illustrate a flirtation with one's betrothed and the Mother Mary. It is a strange romance to contemporary sensibilities, but it has a prevailing sweetness that affirms both love and faith in a holistic way.

    Expressionism, which pervaded the Austrian avant-garde as recently as ten years earlier, had more or less been exhausted in the imaginations of most composers. Among Webern's most immediate peers, the Second Viennese School, only Alban Berg's opera Wozzeck, completed in 1925, adhered to the psycho-dramatic conventions of Expressionism to any lasting effect. At that time, Schoenberg was working with loosely classical forms, and Webern was drawing inspiration from Dutch music of the Renaissance. With Expressionism past, there was no movement to replace it the way Romanticism seamlessly replaced Classicism. Webern's newly independent outlook was free to accommodate his own worldview and musical outlook, which were inextricable from a need to celebrate God's creations. A large part of this investigation took the form of botanical research. The natural lines of development that he found in flora would translate to him as methods of manipulating the tone row. The musical compositions that resulted from Webern's enquiries took the form of a constant recombination of basic elements that never transform their beginnings, but constantly rearticulate the initial music in new ways. Webern's atonal investigations had taught him how to use the most basic elements of music to glean their maximum expressive power. His use of the tone row in these songs is still fairly simple, perhaps because he could make so much out of comparatively little. It would be a few years down the road before he would break down the row into mirror forms, cells, and other, more complex 12-tone innovations.

    Like his Op. 17, Webern's Three Songs, Op. 18 was not heard publicly during the composer's lifetime. Robert Craft conducted the songs' premiere on February 8, 1954, in Los Angeles. The soloist was Grace-Lynne Martin. [allmusic.com]

    Art by Delia Dietziker Fatu

  • Anton Webern - Langsamer Satz Slow Movement

    9:10

    - Composer: Anton Webern (3 December 1883 -- 15 September 1945)
    - Performers: Emerson String Quartet
    - Year of recording: 1992

    Langsamer Satz {Slow Movement} for string quartet, written in 1905.

    One movement: Langsam, mit bewegtem Ausdruck

    Webern composed this work for string quartet in June 1905, but it wasn't publicly performed until 27 May 1962, in Seattle (Washington, USA) by the University of Washington String Quartet. The Langsamer Satz (literally Slow Movement) originated during a hiking trip in Lower Austria that Webern took with his cousin, Wilhelmine Mörtl, who later became his wife. It is love music, as Webern diarized ecstatically -- an outpouring by the 21-year-old composer, whose studies with Arnold Schoenberg had begun the previous autumn.

    To walk forever like this among the flowers, with my dearest one beside me, to feel oneself so entirely at one with the Universe, without care, free as the lark in the sky above -- Oh what splendor...when night fell (after the rain) the sky shed bitter tears but I wandered with her along a road, wrote Webern in language reminiscent of the poet Richard Dehmel, who had inspired Schoenberg's Verklärte Nacht -- a work not without influence on the present composition. A coat protected the two of us. Our love rose to infinite heights and filled the Universe. Two souls were enraptured. The Langsamer Satz is tonal music, albeit chromatic, firmly ensconsed in a tradition stretching from Liszt through Wagner to Hugo Wolf, Richard Strauss, and Mahler. The last named had not as yet entranced Webern, but during the 1930s he led Vienna's Workingmen Symphony Orchestra in readings of Mahler's music allegedly as insightful as Bruno Walter's, and certainly more comprehensive.

    Webern wrote tonal music for several more years after 1905 -- until, as Schoenberg's most intuitive pupil, he became more Catholic than the Pope, to borrow an apposite aphorism (it nettled the Master when Webern anticipated his serial dicta, especially as regards rhythm). The Langsamer Satz is one of the longest of all Webern works (though this version by the Emerson String Quartet is rather fast), longer even than In Sommerwind that preceded it, or the Passacaglia, Op. 1, both orchestral, that followed. (With Webern's radical renunciation of tonality came a new minimalism.) It has a root key, C minor, and a traditional sonata-form structure.

    After the leading Webern scholar, Hans Moldenhauer, settled in Spokane in 1939, Washington state became the world center for Webern's music. Seattle hosted the first of six International festivals, held between 1962 and 1978.

  • Anton Webern: Four Pieces, for violin & piano, Op. 7

    5:38

    Linda Eun Jeung Choi, violin, and Fadi Deeb, piano, perform Anton Webern's Four Pieces, for violin and piano, during the violinist's fourth DMA recital, Stony Brook University, New York.
    September, 2012.

  • Anton Webern: Six Bagatelles for String Quartet, Op. 9

    4:13

    Lasalle Quartet performs (rec. 1968).

    Non multa sed multum--one of the earliest examples of the extreme aphoristic style Webern and the Second Viennese were working with around 1910-11. Artwork by Arnold Schoenberg, from .

  • Rattle, Webern, six pieces pour orchestre op.6

    13:05

  • Anton Weberns Zwei Lieder, Op. 19: Analysis

    36:40

    Composer Samuel Andreyev analyzes Austrian composer Anton Webern's Zwei Lieder, Op. 19 (1925-26).

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  • Anton Webern: 4 Lieder, op. 12 - Anna Molnár, Ferenc János Szabó

    6:45

    Anna Molnár - mezzosoprano
    Ferenc János Szabó - piano

    Master recital
    Grand Hall of the Liszt Academy (Budapest, Hungary)
    6 June 2017

    recorded by AVISO



    1. Der Tag ist vergangen (Peter Rosegger)
    Der Tag ist vergangen,
    Die Nacht ist schon hier;
    Gute Nacht, o Maria,
    Bleib ewig bei mir.

    Der Tag ist vergangen,
    Die Nacht kommt herzu;
    Gib auch den Verstorbnen
    Die ewige Ruh.

    1. The day has passed
    The day has passed,
    and night is already here;
    Good night, o Maria,
    stay with me forever.

    The day has passed,
    and night is coming;
    give also to the dead
    eternal peace.

    2. Die geheimnisvolle Flöte (Hans Bethge, appears in Die chinesische Flöte)
    An einem Abend, da die Blumen dufteten
    Und alle Blätter an den Bäumen, trug der Wind mir
    Das Lied einer entfernten Flöte zu. Da schnitt
    Ich einen Weidenzweig vom Strauche, und
    Mein Lied flog, Antwort gebend, durch die blühende Nacht.
    Seit jenem Abend hören, wann die Erde schläft,
    Die Vögel ein Gespräch in ihrer Sprache.

    2. The mysterious flute
    One evening, when flowers were wafting their scents
    and all the leaves were on the trees, the wind brought to me
    the song of a far-off flute. Immediately I cut
    a branch from the willow, and
    my song flew to give answer through the blossoming night.
    Ever since that evening, when the earth is sleeping,
    the birds hear conversations in their language.

    3. Schien mir's, als ich sah die Sonne
    Schien mir's, als ich sah die Sonne,
    daß ich schaute den Verborgnen:
    jeder Mensch genießt die Werke,
    selig, der das Gute übet.
    Für die Zornestat, die du verübtest,
    büße nicht mit Bosheit;
    tröste den, den du betrübtest,
    gütig, und es wird dir frommen.
    Der nur fürchtet, der sich hat vergangen:
    gut ist schuldlos leben.

    3. It seems to me that when I saw the sun
    It seems to me that when I saw the sun,
    I also saw the Hidden One:
    every man delights in His works;
    blissful is he who does good.
    If you do something in rage,
    do not heap spite upon your deed;
    comfort the person you have wronged
    and be kind, for it will benefit you.
    Only those who have sinned live in fear:
    it is good to live without guilt.

    4. Gleich und gleich (Goethe)
    Ein Blumenglöckchen
    Vom Boden hervor
    War früh gesprosset
    In lieblichem Flor;
    Da kam ein Bienchen
    Und naschte fein: --
    Die müssen wohl beide
    Für einander sein.

    4. Like to like
    A little flower-bell
    had sprouted early
    from the ground
    with a lovely little flourish;
    there came a little bee
    and sipped it delicately:
    they must have been made
    for each other.

  • Anton Webern - Variations for Orchestra, Op. 30

    7:03

    Anton Webern (3 December 1883 – 15 September 1945) was an Austrian composer and conductor. Along with his mentor Arnold Schoenberg and his colleague Alban Berg, Webern comprised the core among those within and more peripheral to the circle of the Second Viennese School, including Ernst Krenek and Theodor W. Adorno. As an exponent of atonality and twelve-tone technique, Webern exerted influence on contemporaries Luigi Dallapiccola, Křenek, and even Schoenberg himself. As tutor Webern guided and variously influenced Arnold Elston, Frederick Dorian (Friederich Deutsch), Fré Focke, Karl Amadeus Hartmann, Philipp Herschkowitz, René Leibowitz, Humphrey Searle, Leopold Spinner, and Stefan Wolpe.

    Variations for orchestra Op. 30

    Staatskapelle Dresden conducted by Giuseppe Sinopoli

    Description by John Keillor [-]
    Anton Webern's Variations for Orchestra, Op. 30, was written in 1940-41. Consisting of a theme and six variations, this single movement work is just over seven minutes long, making it the composer's second longest single movement work. His Passacaglia, Op. 1, from 1907 is almost three minutes longer and is also a set of variations. In the thirty-three years that separate these pieces, the quality of Webern's composing remained at a consistently high level, while embracing quite divergent idioms. For instance, Op. 1 embodies post-Brahmsian tonality while Op. 30 is constructed from his unique twelve-tone technique, an operation that had a decisive influence on several generations of composers.

    Written between January 1940 and February 1941, the Op. 30 is one of Webern's most elegant works, and has a discernable dramatic flair found in the recurrences of melodic shapes. Certain musical figures recur as if in dialogue with one another. There are also dramatic soundscapes that suggest an operatic setting. This work stands between his two cantatas, which are as close as Webern ever came to writing an opera, an endeavor that fell short twice earlier in his career. The bulk of Webern's output are songs and while his melodic abilities have never been questioned, his strengths as a dramatic composer reveal themselves in episodes of the cantatas--especially in the final vocal movement of the first cantata, Op. 29--and these Variations. Listeners find themselves in a state of anticipation, waiting for an absent curtain to rise, but the process of absorbing this would-be overture reveals much more substance than could be found in most operatic scores, or even in the composer's own Symphony, Op 21.

    Webern's Op. 30 tone row is more sophisticated than that of his Op. 21, and his manipulations of the row are subtler. In Op. 30 this is evident in the chords which convincingly accompany the melodic lines. The Op. 21 relied more on canons to maintain a cohesive direction while the Op. 30 contains independent contrapuntal lines. The ability to write twelve-tone counterpoint without repetition is indicative of Webern's command of this musical language, a command that has rarely, if ever been matched. The chords heard in these variations are another indication of hitherto unknown levels of tone row mastery. Webern's Variations and sections of his Concerto, Op. 24 contain chords that clarify and heighten the direction of the melody in a way that is often associated with tonal writing. Webern's genius for creating great tone-rows is found in their deep and multiple levels of symmetricality, yielding many points of self-reference that strengthen the integrity of the melodic direction, formal contour, and harmonic rhythm and color.

    The Variations were first performed in Winterthur, Switzerland on March 3, 1943, with Hermann Scherchen conducting. Webern was allowed out of Austria to attend the performance. It was against the law to perform his music in his own country, by order of the Nazis. It was his last trip out of Austria, and the last premiere of his work that he would hear.

  • Anton Webern - Im Sommerwind Chicago/Haitink Live

    15:12

    Anton Webern (3 December 1883 – 15 September 1945) was an Austrian composer and conductor. Along with his mentor Arnold Schoenberg and his colleague Alban Berg, Webern comprised the core among those within and more peripheral to the circle of the Second Viennese School.

    Im Sommerwind, Idyll für großes Orchester (1904)
    On a poem by Bruno Wille
    First Performance: 1962-05-26 in Seattle
    The Philadelphia Orchestra conducted by Eugene Ormandy

    Chicago Symphony Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink
    Live recording: Orchestra Hall, 28 April 2009.

    m Sommerwind, written prior to his studies with Arnold Schoenberg, is far removed from the lean compositions of Anton Webern’s maturity: some of the most influential music of the 20th century, which continues to resonate with composers of our own time and challenges today’s audiences with its compression and seeming expressive sparseness.

    Subtitled “Idyll for Large Orchestra,” Im Sommerwind – whose inspiration and structural divisions derive from a hymn-to-nature poem of the same name by the German poet, philosopher, and socialist thinker Bruno Wille (1860-1928) – dates from 1904, when the composer was 20 years old.

    Only weeks after completing this work, Webern met the 30-year-old Schoenberg and became his pupil. In his critique of Im Sommerwind Schoenberg expressed the opinion that the young composer had here reached a stylistic dead-end, a realization that had already dawned on Webern. He never tried to have it performed or published, but kept it as a memento of his youth.

  • Anton Webern - String Trio

    9:30

    String Trio, Op. 20 (1927)

    I. Sehr langsam
    II. Sehr getragen und ausdrucksvoll

    Members of the Juilliard String Quartet

    The chamber works of Anton Webern, especially those written after his adoption of the 12-tone technique in the late 1920s, present the listener with an enigmatic combination of austere structural integrity and intense, koan-like expressivity. In the Trio for Strings, which Webern began writing in 1926, completed in 1927, and premiered in 1928, the composer seems at first glance to be at his most rarefied. The piece is made of the most tenuous of musical materials; indeed, it is characterized by what scholar Julian Johnson has described as an ungraspability of surface. Its occasional fits of restless melodic energy are separated by veils of sustained notes and static harmonies that presage minimalist ruminations (indeed, minimalist pioneer La Monte Young's groundbreaking Trio for Strings was composed under the influence of heavy doses of Webern's chamber music). Webern's signature symmetries and palindromes unfold and spin in eccentric motivic orbits, while frequent changes in timbre and articulation add an additional plane of discourse to Webern's contrapuntal shapes.

    The first of the Trio's two movements (which was actually composed second) creates a finely wrought pointillistic surface, with angular glyphs set against sustained harmonies that have elicited comparisons to Debussy. The sense of temporal pause is enhanced by the use of another of Webern's signature techniques: some notes appear only in a specific register when they are encountered in their serial order, thus lending an analogous sense of deliberate spatiality and acoustic consistency to the piece's overall sound field -- a technique also used quite famously in the elaborate canons of his next numbered work, the Symphony, Op. 21. The second movement weaves a denser, less diaphanous texture, its semi-contrapuntal substructures and thematic interconnections flowing in more rapid succession and floating nearer to the surface. Themes expand and contrast, widen and narrow in their arcs, and extend in opposite directions around a moving axis. The momentarily held chords serve as suspense rather than repose, while wide intervallic leaps and looser rhythmic divisions resist alighting comfortably on the ear. Of particular interest is the middle portion of the movement, which Webern referred to unassumingly as the development section. Here Webern articulates contours in various positions and durational proportions, in a kind of cubist fashion, while further disrupting the temporal geometry with repeated notes and held harmonies. The drastic contrasts in line and timbre unfold analogously in the movement's dynamics as well, from suddenly proximate sforzandos to distant, whispering harmonics. [allmusic.com]

    Art by Frank Stella

  • Anton Webern: Concerto para 9 instrumentos Op 24

    7:03

    Orchestra Western-Eastan Divan
    Daniel Baremboim

  • Anton Webern - 8 Early Songs for voice and piano

    19:00

    Anton Webern (1883-1945) - 8 Early Songs for voice and piano (1901-04)

    Voc. - Mitsuko Shirai
    Pf. - Hartmut Höll

    0:00 - I. Tief von fern
    1:33 - II. Aufblick
    4:57 - III. Blumengruss
    6:11 - IV. Bild der Liebe
    8:21 - V. Sommerabend
    11:11 - VI. Heiter
    12:21 - VII. Der Tod
    13:55 - VIII. Heimgang in der Frühe

  • Webern, Anton von - Three Little Pieces, Op 11

    2:25

    Work: Three Little Pieces (Drei Kleine Stücke), Op. 11
    Composer: Webern, Anton von (December 3, 1883 — September 15, 1945)
    Year(s) of composition: 1914
    Year of first publication: 1924
    Performer(s): Jean-Guihen Queyras, Alexandre Tharaud

    I. Mäßige. (0:00
    II. Sehr bewegt. (00:54)
    III. Äußerst ruhig. (1:14)

  • Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - Orchestrated By Anton Webern - Tränenregen

    4:18

    Provided to YouTube by Universal Music Group

    Schubert: Die schöne Müllerin, D.795 - Orchestrated By Anton Webern - Tränenregen (Live) · Thomas Quasthoff · Chamber Orchestra Of Europe · Claudio Abbado

    Schubert: Orchestrated Songs

    ℗ 2003 Deutsche Grammophon GmbH, Berlin

    Released on: 2003-01-01

    Producer, Recording Producer: Christopher Alder
    Studio Personnel, Balance Engineer: Rainer Maillard
    Studio Personnel, Recording Engineer: Jürgen Bulgrin
    Studio Personnel, Editor: Oliver Rogalla Von Heyden
    Composer: Franz Schubert
    Author: Wilhelm Müller
    Arranger, Orchestrator: Anton Webern

    Auto-generated by YouTube.

  • Anton Webern - Five Pieces for Orchestra

    6:01

    Five Pieces for Orchestra, Op. posth.

    I. Bewegt
    II. Langsam (sostenuto)
    III. Sehr bewegte Viertel
    IV. Langsame Viertel
    V. (Alla breve)

    Berliner Philharmoniker
    Pierre Boulez

    Everything seemed fairly clear at the time of Anton Webern's death -- Webern was a remarkable but not-very-prolific composer with just a few pieces to his credit. He seemed to have written only three orchestral works that predate World War I -- the Passacaglia, Op. 1, the Six Pieces, Op. 6, and the Five Pieces, Op. 10. After Webern died in 1945, however, musicologists became increasingly aware of a huge amount of music never published or indeed even spoken of during the composer's lifetime. Sorting through the reams and reams of sketches, drafts, and finished products found in manuscript has been the life's work for a handful of scholars, and only now, as we move into the next century, is the situation, and with it Webern's catalog of works, at last becoming reasonably tidy. It turns out that Webern's orchestral resume is not so sparse as it once seemed -- there are all kinds of manuscripts, some of which ride a very blurry line between abandoned draft and finished product, the sum of which better than triple the sheer bulk of his orchestral output. One of the most important finds is a set of Five Pieces for Orchestra dating from 1913, a companion set to the famous Op. 6 and Op. 10 sets.

    The Five Pieces, Op. posth. (as they must be called to distinguish them from the Five Pieces, Op. 10), are actually from the same brewing-pot as Op. 10. Webern composed 11 pieces between 1911 and 1913. Five went to Op. 10, six remained unpublished. Of the latter, one is for voice and orchestra, and the other five, discovered by scholar Hans Moldenhauer in 1965, found their way into the present set.

    Two of these Op. posth. pieces are obviously unfinished -- Nos. 2 and 4 break off suddenly after 20 and 14 bars, respectively. It is difficult to tell with precision just how finished the other three pieces are. Webern's manuscripts contain numerous markings, changes, and corrections, the exact order of whose appearance is not always clear.

    Like the Op. 10 Pieces, these are not long works. No. 1, Bewegt, fills lasts just 16 bars, No. 3, Sehr Bewegt, just 14. No. 5 (whose manuscript has no tempo marking) is, at 25 bars, a little more imposing. Interestingly enough, Nos. 2 and 4, the two unfinished pieces, each seem to be headed towards significantly greater length, and it may have been this very thing that resulted in their never being finished. We know that Webern was having trouble composing long pieces during the early 1910s.

    The ensemble used for the Five Pieces, Op. posth is not a small one. There are the usual woodwinds and brass, in significant numbers, and a large contingent of percussion and miscellaneous instruments (including guitar). However, save for a few brief moments in No. 3, the sound is never dense at all, and the string section is not even really a section -- just four players total are required. Spaciousness, fragmentation, concentration of atonal gesture and motive are of the essence here. [allmusic.com]

    Art by Jay Meuser

  • Anton Webern : Im Sommerwind

    15:30

    L'Orchestre national de France placé sous le direction de Pascal Rophé joue Im Sommerwind (Dans le vent d'été), idylle pour grand orchestre composée par Anton Webern en 1904. Extrait du concert enregistré jeudi 24 mai 2018 en direct de la Maison de la Radio (Paris).

    Révolutionnaire ? Certes, mais sans tapage et dans une incroyable discrétion. Radical ? Absolument, mais avec une sorte de naïveté hors du monde. Créant une musique qui s’éloignera peu à peu de la séduction immédiate pour arriver à la fascination d’une ascèse délibérée. La pureté – du langage, de l’expression, de l’intention –, tel est le mot qui semble le mieux résumer le caractère d’une musique dépouillée, à l’évidence, mais riche de prolongements multiples. Pour moi, et pour bien d’autres musiciens, l’œuvre de Webern a été une pierre de touche essentielle, capitale, qui nous forçait, pour ainsi dire, à prendre parti, à nous révéler nous-mêmes.

    Pierre Boulez, Webern dans le siècle.

    En octobre 1999, Pierre Boulez redisait une fois encore combien l’élève de Schoenberg lui semblait tenir une place à part dans l’histoire de la musique du XXe siècle. Parce qu’il avait su se détourner des utilisations de la série ne consistant qu’à déterminer des hauteurs d’après quelques règles préétablies, Webern seul avait porté la « conscience d’une nouvelle dimension sonore ». Et bien que Boulez confiât à Célestin Deliège en arriver à aimer chez Berg ce qu’il ne trouvait plus dans la perfection ascétique et dans le « dénuement le plus total » de Webern, jamais il ne se lassa de reprendre les œuvres de celui qui l’avait tant inspiré, sensible à des richesses plus profondément cachées et plus lentes à se donner. Devine-t-on toutefois, dans les œuvres de jeunesse de Webern, cette modernité sublime qui a renversé le cours du XXe siècle musical ?

    Été 1904 : Anton Webern n’a pas encore travaillé sous la direction d’Arnold Schoenberg quand il entreprend la composition d’un poème symphonique sur un texte du poète, philosophe et politicien très libéral Bruno Wille. « Transportez-moi sur ces hauteurs escarpées où ne monta jamais la parole humaine, écrivait Wille en 1890 dans Ermite et camarade, mon âme blessée redoute le son de cette voix, et mes yeux roulent dans ma tête lorsqu’ils contemplent des hommes. Le rocher et la nuée sont mes muettes consolations, et quand la tempête gronde autour de moi, j’entends des chants sublimes. »

    Pour sa pièce, Webern a néanmoins opté pour un recueil un peu plus récent, Révélations d’un genévrier (publié en 1901), dont il avait recopié certains extraits dans son journal. Là encore, le poète chante la nature, cette quiétude d’un soir d’été soudainement interrompue par un orage, et un chant d’alouette annonçant un apaisement aussi terrestre que céleste. En vacances dans le domaine familial du Preglhof en Carinthie, Webern trouve sans doute son inspiration dans la nature qui se découvre devant lui autant que dans les partitions de Gustav Mahler et Richard Strauss.

    Bien sûr, le langage est résolument postromantique et tonal. Rien de vraiment nouveau dans les tournures chromatiques qui se cherchent, les longes plages harmoniques qui se métamorphosent au gré des changements de timbres, dans la façon d’utiliser le crescendo ou dans les brusques oppositions de climat. Certains remarquent déjà les relais instrumentaux, la fragmentation des lignes tendant vers une parcellisation de la matière musicale, mais le développement thématique n’est pas une fin en soi, et les mélodies sont suffisamment brèves pour se renouveler d’elles-mêmes. Sans doute faut-il moins chercher ce qui se prépare de neuf dans Im Sommerwind que ce qui en demeurera dans les chefs-d’œuvre de la maturité, du point de vue de l’imaginaire littéraire comme du point de vue du romantisme musical. Car en 1904, la rencontre avec Schoenberg ne s’est pas faite et le déclic n’a pas eu lieu. L’économie du discours n’est en rien comparable avec les futurs aphorismes, et les gestes s’inscrivent pleinement dans la continuité historique.

    Texte de François-Gildas Tual

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  • Anton Webern: 5 Sätze Für Streichquartett, Op. 5 - 4. Sehr Langsam

    2:08

    Anton Webern: 5 Sätze Für Streichquartett, Op. 5 - 4. Sehr Langsam
    Juilliard Quartet

    Painting: Transverse line
    Wassily Kandinsky

  • Anton Webern Fünf Sätze 1 - Les Dissonances

    2:54

    Les Dissonances - Davdi Grimal
    Recorded Live France

  • Anton Webern - Three Orchestral Songs

    5:22

    Three songs for soprano & orchestra (1913-1914)

    I. Leise Düfte: Leise Düfte, Blüten so zart (Anton Webern)
    II. Kunfttag III: Nun wird es wieder lenz (Stefan George)
    III. O sanftes Glühn der Berge (Anton Weber)

    Christiane Oelze, soprano

    Berliner Philharmoniker
    Pierre Boulez

    Art by Jay Meuser

  • Anton Webern: Passacaglia op.1

    11:45

    Anton Webern (1883-1945): Passacaglia per orchestra op.1 (1908) -- Boston Symphony Orchestra diretta da Carlo Maria Giulini (dal vivo: Boston 29 marzo 1974)

    ----

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