40 Facts About Anton Webern


Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern, better known as Anton Webern, was an Austrian composer whose music was among the most radical of its milieu in its sheer concision, even aphorism, and steadfast embrace of then novel atonal and twelve-tone techniques.


Little known in the earlier part of his life, not only as a student and follower of Schoenberg, but as a peripatetic and often unhappy theater music director with a mixed reputation for being a demanding conductor, Anton Webern came to some prominence and increasingly high regard as a vocal coach, choirmaster, conductor, and teacher during Red Vienna.


Anton Webern continued writing some of his most mature and later celebrated music while increasingly ostracized from official musical life as a "cultural Bolshevist", taking occasional copyist jobs from his publisher as he lost students and his conducting career.


Posthumously Anton Webern's work became celebrated and influential, yet intimate understanding of its full context was fledgling and impracticable after years of suppression, neglect, or opposition and, moreover, severe disruption.


Anton Webern lived in Graz and Klagenfurt for much of his youth.


Anton Webern memorialized the Preglhof in a diary poem "An der Preglhof" and in the tone poem Im Sommerwind, both after Bruno Wille's idyll.


Once Anton Webern's father sold the estate in 1912, Anton Webern referred to it nostalgically as a "lost paradise".


Anton Webern continued to revisit the Preglhof, the family grave at the cemetery in Schwabegg, and the surrounding landscape for the rest of his life, taking it as his home and associating it with the memory of his mother, whose loss in 1906 profoundly affected him for decades.


Young Anton Webern was enthusiastic about the music of Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Liszt, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Franz Schubert, Hugo Wolf, and Richard Wagner, visiting Bayreuth in 1902.


Anton Webern enjoyed the music of Hector Berlioz and Georges Bizet.


Anton Webern progressed quickly under Schoenberg's tutelage, publishing his Passacaglia, Op.


Anton Webern conducted some of Debussy's music in 1911, having written rapturously to Schoenberg about Claude Debussy's opera Pelleas et Melisande in 1908.


From 1918 to 1921, Anton Webern helped organize and operate the Society for Private Musical Performances, which gave concerts of then recent or new music by Bela Bartok, Berg, Ferruccio Busoni, Debussy, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Mahler, Maurice Ravel, Max Reger, Erik Satie, Strauss, Stravinsky, and Anton Webern himself.


In 1926, Anton Webern noted his voluntary resignation as chorusmaster of the Modling, a paid position, in controversy over his hiring of a Jewish singer, Greta Wilheim, to replace a sick one.


Anton Webern's music began to be performed more widely during and after the 1920s, yet he found no great success such as Berg enjoyed with Wozzeck nor even as Schoenberg did, to a lesser extent, with Pierrot lunaire or in time with Verklarte Nacht.


Anton Webern was awarded Music Prize of the City of Vienna, served as Vienna ISCM President, and furthered a closer working friendship with Krenek, alongside whom he lectured, whose music he conducted, and with whom both Berg and he shared certain affinities during what was again becoming an increasingly difficult time.


Anton Webern was unhappy with anti-clericalism of the Social Democrats as a Catholic and alarmed by accelerating civil disorder and political instability.


Amid the rise of fascism in the 1930s, both found it harder to earn a living; Anton Webern lost a promising conducting career which might have otherwise been more noted and recorded and had to take on work as an editor and proofreader for his publishers, UE.


In broad terms, Anton Webern's attitude seems to have first warmed to a degree of characteristic fervor and later, in conjunction with widespread German disillusionment, cooled to Hitler and the Nazis to such an extent that by 1945 he had resolved to emigrate to England.


On 2 May 1940, Anton Webern had described Hitler as "this unique man" who created "the new state" of Germany.


Following, Anton Webern visited and aided Jewish colleagues DJ Bach, Otto Jokl, Josef Polnauer, and Hugo Winter.


For Jokl, a former Berg pupil, Anton Webern wrote a letter of recommendation to facilitate emigration; when that failed, Anton Webern served as his godfather in a 1939 baptism.


Anton Webern attended the 1943 Winterthur premiere of his Op.


Anton Webern was able to convince a Jewish, German-speaking officer that he was not, drawing attention to his clothes, sewn with the yellow Star of David.


On 15 September 1945, following the arrest of his son-in-law for black-market activities, Anton Webern was smoking a cigar outside his home so as not to disturb his sleeping grandchildren about one hour before curfew when he was shot and killed by US Army cook PFC Raymond Norwood Bell of North Carolina, who, overcome by remorse, died of alcoholism in 1955.


Anton Webern worked to get his 1907 Piano Quintet finally published by Bomart via Kurt List and Opp.


Anton Webern was firmly resolved to go to England and he would have carried it out, too"; likewise, in 1946, she wrote to DJ Bach, who had emigrated to London: "How difficult the last eight years had been for him.


Anton Webern's works are concise, distilled, and select; when Boulez, for a second time, recorded all of his then published compositions, including some of those without opus numbers, the results fit on just six CDs.


Anton Webern published little of his early work in particular; like Brahms, Anton Webern was meticulous and revised extensively.


Anton Webern wrote freely atonal music somewhat in the style of Schoenberg starting with Op.


Johnson argues that the whole of Anton Webern's music takes on the nature of such dramatic and visual tableaux, if in a more abstract and formal manner in some of the late works.


For Schoenberg's Society for Private Musical Performances in 1921, Anton Webern arranged, among other things, the 1888 Schatz-Walzer of Johann Strauss II's Der Zigeunerbaron for string quartet, harmonium, and piano.


In 1924, Webern arranged Franz Liszt's Arbeiterchor for bass solo, mixed chorus, and large orchestra; it was premiered for the first time in any form on 13 and 14 March 1925, with Webern conducting the first full-length concert of the Austrian Association of Workers Choir.


Eric Simon, who then played clarinet in the orchestra, related this episode: 'Anton Webern was obviously upset by Klemperer's sober time-beating.


Anton Webern thought that if you did not go through physical and mental stresses and strains a performance was bound to be poor.


In part because he had largely remained obscure and arcane during his own lifetime, interest in Anton Webern's music increased in the aftermath of World War II as it came to represent a universally or generally valid, systematic, and compellingly logical model of new composition, with his acquiring "a saintly, visionary aura".


Significantly as relates to his reception, Stravinsky noted that Anton Webern never compromised his artistic identity and values.


Philip Herschkowitz, poverty-stricken, had been teaching privately with cautious emphasis on Beethoven and the tradition from which Anton Webern emerged, while in Soviet Music Marcel Rubin criticized "Anton Webern and His Followers", by contrast to Berg and Schoenberg, precisely for going too far; and Alfred Schnittke complained in an open letter of composers' restricted education.


Anton Webern had scores that his relatives sent him from abroad and records sent by his relatives.


Anton Webern's music remains polarizing and provocative within various communities of musicians and scholars.