39 Facts About Anton Webern


Little known in the earlier part of his life, mostly as a student and follower of Schoenberg, but as a peripatetic and often unhappy theater music director with a mixed reputation as an exacting conductor, Anton Webern came to some prominence and increasingly high regard as a vocal coach, choirmaster, conductor, and teacher during Red Vienna.

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

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Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern was born in Vienna, then in Austria-Hungary.

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Anton Webern was the only surviving son of Carl von Webern, a descendent of minor nobility, civil servant, mining engineer, and owner of the Lamprechtsberg copper mine in the Koralpe; and Amalie, a competent pianist, accomplished singer, and possibly the only obvious source of the future composer's talent.

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

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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.

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

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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; and he clearly associated the area, which he took as his home, very closely with the memory of his mother Amelie, who had died in 1906 and whose loss profoundly affected Webern for decades.

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In 1908, Anton Webern wrote rapturously to Schoenberg about Claude Debussy's opera Pelleas et Melisande.

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

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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.

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

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Anton Webern [Webern] said to me, "It's only the superior old German culture that can save this world from the demoralized condition into which it has been thrown.

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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.

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Anton Webern described Hitler on 2 May 1940, as "this unique man" who created "the new state" of Germany; thus Alex Ross characterizes him as "an unashamed Hitler enthusiast".

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Gorgi and his family were left behind for their safety when Anton Webern fled on foot with his family to Mittersill, about 75 km.

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Anton Webern continued to live in this apartment with this family until 1969.

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Anton Webern is known to have aided Josef Polnauer, a Jewish colleague and fellow early Schoenberg pupil who, as an albino, managed to largely escape the Nazis' attention.

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When once asked by Schoenberg about his feelings toward the Nazis, Anton Webern nonetheless sought to allay Schoenberg's concerns; similarly, when in 1938 Eduard Steuermann asked Krasner about rumors of Anton Webern's possible "interest in and devotion to the Nazis" on Schoenberg's behalf, Krasner lied by denying the rumors categorically and entirely.

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However, Krasner told Fanfare Magazine that Anton Webern "packed [him] off quickly" as soon he turned on the radio and heard the news break.

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Taruskin himself admits to having acquired a "dubious reputation" on the Second Viennese School and notes that he has been described in his work on Anton Webern as "coming, like Shakespeare's Marc Anthony, 'to bury Anton Webern, not to praise him'".

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On 15 September 1945, back at his home during the Allied occupation of Austria, Anton Webern was shot and killed by an American Army soldier following the arrest of his son-in-law for black market activities.

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Wilhelmine "Minna" Mortl, Anton Webern's wife, died in 1949 and was buried beside her husband.

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

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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.

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Anton Webern's compositions are concise, distilled, and select; just thirty-one of his compositions were published in his lifetime, and when Pierre Boulez later oversaw a project to record all of his compositions, including some of those without opus numbers, the results fit on just six CDs.

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

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

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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 (The Gypsy Baron) for string quartet, harmonium, and piano.

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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.

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

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

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For example, Boulez's "complete" recording of Anton Webern's music yielded more to this aesthetic the second time after largely missing it the first; but Eliahu Inbal's rendition of Anton Webern's Symphony, Op.

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Anton Webern, you know, was terribly Romantic—as a person, and when he conducted.

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Anton Webern's music began to be performed more widely in the 1920s, particularly his Symphony, Op.

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

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Well through the 1960s, the effect of Anton Webern's music was influential, if not decisive, on many composers and musicians, even as far removed as Joel Thome and Frank Zappa.

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Significantly as relates to his reception, Anton Webern never compromised his artistic identity and values, as Stravinsky was later to note.

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Composer Karel Goeyvaerts recalled that at least on first impression, the sound of Anton Webern's music reminded him of "a Mondrian canvas, " explaining that "things of which I had acquired an extremely intimate knowledge, came across as crude and unfinished when seen in reality.

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