Author Topic: Alban Berg (1885-1935)  (Read 56024 times)

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Offline Brewski

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Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« on: August 15, 2007, 07:28:16 AM »
Wow, I can't believe we don't have a thread on Alban Berg (or I couldn't find it).  Of his amazing output, my favorites are the Three Pieces for Orchestra, Wozzeck, Lulu and the Violin Concerto.

Recently some of the blogs have been posting a pretty hilarious quiz, What major work by Alban Berg are you?  Here is the link. 

I got this result: "You are Berg's masterful first opera, "Wozzeck", op. 7, a tragic and expressionistic tale of a soldier who goes mad and kills his mistress due to the lack of power and wealth.  Society done did him wrong.  You are compassionate, emotional and righteous.  And a tad sentimental (for good reasons)."

Not sure I'm exactly thrilled, but oh well.  ;D

Other Berg fans, favorite works and recordings?

--Bruce
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Offline PSmith08

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2007, 07:35:55 AM »
"Machen Sie auf!...Machen Sie auf!"

Berg's Lulu, to me, would be a solid contender for the short list of 20th century opera. Berg proved that atonality doesn't have to be grating and unpleasant, and he took the idea of the Leitmotiv to an interesting conclusion.

My favorite recording, then, is Boulez' 1979 set of the "completed" version. That one has quite a cast, with Franz Mazura doing somewhat better then than he did for Boulez' Götterdämmerung.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #2 on: August 15, 2007, 08:03:50 AM »
Lulu is one of my four or five favorite operas, and yes, the Boulez version is marvelous.  (I don't mind the Cerha completion at all, although it appears to be still contentious.)  I also have the DVD with Christine Schäfer which is excellent, and want to see the one with Laura Aikin (although it is apparently the two-act version). 

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

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Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Wendell_E

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #3 on: August 15, 2007, 08:06:12 AM »
My result:

Quote

You are Berg's romantic but tragic "Lyric Suite" for string quartet, a work in which he secretly described his destined to be doomed love affair with his mistress by with a variety of secret codes and quotes, including use their intials as notes and "special numbers" in the music along with a whole secret vocal part to a text by Bauladaire! You are basically a romantic soul who wants sum puzzay!!!

 Take this quiz!


Quizilla | Join | Make a Quiz | More Quizzes | Grab Code

I love the Lyric Suite, but I was hoping for Lulu.  I second PSmith08's sentiments regarding the work and the Boulez recording.  I'd even leave off the "20th century" part and make it "a solid contender for the short list of all opera".  If I'm asked to pick a favorite, that's usually it.

The Glyndebourne DVD with Christine Schäfer's really good too, but I keep hoping John Dexter's Met production (either the 1980 telecast with Migenes, or maybe the scheduled 2009-10 revival with Marlis Peterson) will make it to DVD.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2007, 08:16:33 AM by Wendell_E »
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Kullervo

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #4 on: August 15, 2007, 08:16:59 AM »
For those that haven't read it, I recommend Willi Reich's illuminating biography on Berg. Very fascinating and entertaining read by someone very close to Berg.

Larry Rinkel

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #5 on: August 15, 2007, 08:43:59 AM »
Quote
You are Berg's ridiculously complicated Chamber Concerto. No one will ever figure you out and when they do, it probably won't be right.

1174 other people got this result!
This quiz has been taken 2523 times.
43% of people had this result.

Now can someone devise a similar quiz for Elgar?

Offline beclemund

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2007, 05:26:59 AM »
Quote
You are Berg's final and perhaps greatest masterpiece, his opera "Lulu", unfinished at his death at 50 from an insect bite.
You are dirty, sexual, amoral and free to do as you please.
You carry several diseases.


208 other people got this result!
This quiz has been taken 2582 times.
7% of people had this result.

I knew I should never have picked Angelina. ;)

I do enjoy Wozzeck a great deal, but I admit I have failed to adequately break the surface of Berg and have not explored his other works. Wozzeck is so emotionally troubling that I have found it difficult to begin Lulu. I plan to correct that deficiency in the near future.
"A guilty conscience needs to confess. A work of art is a confession." -- Albert Camus

Larry Rinkel

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2007, 09:28:26 AM »
I knew I should never have picked Angelina. ;)

I took it again:

Quote
You are Berg's romantic but tragic "Lyric Suite" for string quartet, a work in which he secretly described his destined to be doomed love affair with his mistress by with a variety of secret codes and quotes, including use their intials as notes and "special numbers" in the music along with a whole secret vocal part to a text by Bauladaire! You are basically a romantic soul who wants sum puzzay!!!


664 other people got this result!
This quiz has been taken 2598 times.
24% of people had this result.

greg

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2009, 03:00:31 PM »
This can't be the only Berg thread... the last post was over two years ago.  ???

Anyways, anyone hear the Berg Passacaglia? I think it's unfinished or something... (just discovered it today)

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/nL3YuaNDEzA&amp;feature=related" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch/v/nL3YuaNDEzA&amp;feature=related</a>

Sounds nice... must've served more as a practice orchestral work, maybe.

Franco

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2009, 03:25:37 PM »
Alban Berg is one of my favorite composers, I love so much of his music but one piece that really stands out is a transcription: the slow movement from the Chamber Concerto scored for Clarinet, Violin and Piano.  If I had to say, the Chamber Concerto for Piano and Violin and 13 Wind Instruments is probably my favorite work but the Lulu Suite is really beautiful too.  There's nothing of his I don't like.

snyprrr

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2009, 05:21:36 PM »
I love his two SQs, Op.3, and the Lyric Suite. I would recommend either of the two ABQ versions over the Arditti, Kronos. LaSalle,...

Berg's Op.3 seems to begin where Schoenberg's Op.10 leaves off. His acheivement here seems so much more satisfying to me than Schoenberg's SQs 3-4, which come off sounding baroque compared with Berg's more intergrated modernism, a la Bartok's SQ No.3.

Whenever I hear "sounds like Berg", I think, "a little 'up', and little 'down',... very chromatic, very emotions based, like Romantic music on hallucinagens. Berg IS the "graveyard" that Romanticism went to after Wagner, the final, putrefying mass of decomposition (haha) stinking in the sweltering sun, like Baudelaire's chargone.

Berg used to be on my noisy loathsome list, but the ABQ have convinced me of his string music (they take the opening motif of Op.3 almost twice as fast as everyone I've heard (Kronos, good example), and they get it RIGHT by doing so (I don't know why no one else I've heard has done this?)). Of course, his Violin Concerto, and the pieces for orchestra, and really, since he has a fairly small output, he is much fun to collect. I can't do classical singing to well, but, who knows here?,....

Plus, wasn't he like a sex freak, or something?! :o :o :o

so decadent! ::)

Offline Brewski

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2009, 01:12:03 PM »
Alban Berg is one of my favorite composers, I love so much of his music but one piece that really stands out is a transcription: the slow movement from the Chamber Concerto scored for Clarinet, Violin and Piano.  If I had to say, the Chamber Concerto for Piano and Violin and 13 Wind Instruments is probably my favorite work but the Lulu Suite is really beautiful too.  There's nothing of his I don't like.

In May 2010, Franz Welser-Möst and the Cleveland Orchestra are doing the Lulu Suite and Beethoven's Eroica on a concert at Carnegie Hall--an excellent program.

I also love the Chamber Concerto, which I just heard live last year with James Levine and the MET Chamber Ensemble in a fantastic performance.  It had (embarrassingly) been years since I'd heard it, and I was sitting there in awe, listening to it. 

Also love the Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6 - endlessly fascinating.  It's on one of my favorite Berg recordings, below, with Levine, the MET Orchestra and Renée Fleming.  (Actually this is one of my favorite recordings of anything, period.)

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2010, 05:41:50 PM »
It's a shame that Alban Berg isn't discussed more. I'm not sure how people here became interested in his music, but last year I bought the Anne-Sophie Mutter/James Levine recording of his on DG and went into the music with completely open-mind and I must have listened to this performance at least 11 times in a row. Berg casts his spell in the very opening movement of the work, which introduces that lovely, enigmatic tone row that makes up the composition. The story behind this work is also very interesting, which everybody here I'm sure knows already.
 
From the "Violin Concerto," I got into his other orchestral works like "Lulu-Suite," the orchestrated version of "Lyric Suite," and "Three Pieces for Orchestra." After I heard these wonderful compositions, I moved onto his song cycles, which I still playback "Seven Early Songs," "Der Wein," and "Altenberg-Lieder" quite often. I can't get into his operas yet, but then again, I've never been one for operas anyway. Of his chamber works, "Chamber Concerto" and "Piano Sonata" are quite interesting. I haven't heard "Lyric Suite" yet even though I own that DG set called "Alban Berg Collection." This is a fantastic set by the way.
 
Here are the only recordings I own of Berg (so far):
 
-Alban Berg Collection: Various Artists, 8-CDs, Deutsche Grammophon
-Boulez Conducts Berg: Pierre Boulez, BBC Symphony, NY Philharmonic, LSO, 5-CDs, Sony
-Lulu Suite, Three Pieces for Orchestra, Altenberg-Lieder, Claudio Abbado, LSO, Deutsche Grammophon
« Last Edit: July 06, 2010, 05:43:49 PM by Mirror Image »
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #13 on: July 06, 2010, 06:17:24 PM »
It's a shame that Alban Berg isn't discussed more. I'm not sure how people here became interested in his music, but last year I bought the Anne-Sophie Mutter/James Levine recording of his on DG and went into the music with completely open-mind and I must have listened to this performance at least 11 times in a row. Berg casts his spell in the very opening movement of the work, which introduces that lovely, enigmatic tone row that makes up the composition. The story behind this work is also very interesting, which everybody here I'm sure knows already.
 
From the "Violin Concerto," I got into his other orchestral works like "Lulu-Suite," the orchestrated version of "Lyric Suite," and "Three Pieces for Orchestra." After I heard these wonderful compositions, I moved onto his song cycles, which I still playback "Seven Early Songs," "Der Wein," and "Altenberg-Lieder" quite often. I can't get into his operas yet, but then again, I've never been one for operas anyway. Of his chamber works, "Chamber Concerto" and "Piano Sonata" are quite interesting. I haven't heard "Lyric Suite" yet even though I own that DG set called "Alban Berg Collection." This is a fantastic set by the way.
 
Here are the only recordings I own of Berg (so far):
 
-Alban Berg Collection: Various Artists, 8-CDs, Deutsche Grammophon
-Boulez Conducts Berg: Pierre Boulez, BBC Symphony, NY Philharmonic, LSO, 5-CDs, Sony
-Lulu Suite, Three Pieces for Orchestra, Altenberg-Lieder, Claudio Abbado, LSO, Deutsche Grammophon


You must take the quiz:

http://quizilla.teennick.com/quizzes/1230003/what-major-work-of-alban-berg-are-you

I am Wozzeck. "9 other people got this result! That's 21%."
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline Mirror Image

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #14 on: July 06, 2010, 06:25:24 PM »
You must take the quiz:

http://quizilla.teennick.com/quizzes/1230003/what-major-work-of-alban-berg-are-you

I am Wozzeck. "9 other people got this result! That's 21%."

I am "Chamber Concerto." This quiz is undoubtedly moronic.
"Humility is society's greatest misconception."

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #15 on: July 06, 2010, 06:30:07 PM »
I am "Chamber Concerto." This quiz is undoubtedly moronic.

You are Berg's violent and tumultuous String Quartet, Op. 3, his first work fully in the Atonal idiom. You have a temper and are not afraid to let it use. But you also can be quiet and calm, perhaps contemplating more violence. Basically you're prick. 5 other people got this result! That's 11%

You are Berg's romantic but tragic "Lyric Suite" for string quartet, a work in which he secretly described his destined to be doomed love affair with his mistress by with a variety of secret codes and quotes, including use their intials as notes and "special numbers" in the music along with a whole secret vocal part to a text by Bauladaire! You are basically a romantic soul who wants sum puzzay!!!
6 other people got this result! That's 12%

You are Berg's ridiculously complicated Chamber Concerto. No one will ever figure you out and when they do, it probably won't be right. 17 other people got this result! That's 35%

You are Berg's final and perhaps greatest masterpiece, his opera "Lulu", unfinished at his death at 50 from an insect bite.
You are dirty, sexual, amoral and free to do as you please.
You carry several diseases. 9 other people got this result! That's 17%

 ::)
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

greg

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #16 on: July 06, 2010, 06:31:50 PM »
You must take the quiz:

http://quizilla.teennick.com/quizzes/1230003/what-major-work-of-alban-berg-are-you

I am Wozzeck. "9 other people got this result! That's 21%."

Mine:
You are Berg's ridiculously complicated Chamber Concerto. No one will ever figure you out and when they do, it probably won't be right.

lol  :D
The Chamber Concerto is probably the only work of his which I don't understand a note of. I'll experiment a little to see how to get the Three Pieces...

Sid

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #17 on: July 06, 2010, 09:09:16 PM »
I'm looking forward in a couple of months to attend a lecture on Berg by music scholar Andrew Ford, followed by a performance of Berg's Chamber Concerto. Then later in the year, Berg's String Quartet will be played by the Australian Flinders Quartet, one of our finest. I have never seen Berg done live so I am looking forward to both of these immensely.

I first learnt about Berg when I read about Wozzeck in a book on classical music. When I was 19 I bought a recording of that opera, and I connected with it immediately, even though I have never been a big fan of opera. I like it's drama, passion, and the way the themes are integrated and develeped.

In the last ten years I have familiarised myself with some of his other works - the string quartets, Lulu Suite, concertos and Piano Sonata. It is a pity that his output was so small, and a great tragedy (as Andrew Ford has written) that the man died comparatively young. Probably one of the greatest tragedies vis a vis classical music in the century.

At some stage, I hope to acquire Lulu. I have heard it on radio, and it was a tough listen. But the late Australian conductor Stuart Challender (a huge champion of Berg's music in this country) said that Lulu has this romantic lushness. I can certainly hear that in the suite, but I will have to invest some time (repeated listening) to it once I purchase it to discover that for myself.

In the early 2000's, Wozzeck was produced by the Australian Opera here in Sydney, but I missed seeing it. If they do stage either one of his operas again, I will most likely go. He is one of my favourite composers, but I also like Schoenberg and Webern.

karlhenning

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #18 on: July 07, 2010, 03:08:47 AM »
. . . I own that DG set called "Alban Berg Collection." This is a fantastic set by the way.

It is!  I am still making my way through it, as well.  Having said that, I must have listened to the Chamber Concerto from that set three times already!

Offline mjwal

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Re: Alban Berg (1885-1935)
« Reply #19 on: July 07, 2010, 04:58:57 AM »
Apart from the operas I must say that my private favourite of all his works is the Altenberglieder - amazingly concentrated, sensuous - and (for me) heart-opening in the last song. On comparing the three recordings I own I had to vote in favour of the Boulez recording on CBS LP, where I find Boulez at his best and the singer - Halina Lukomska - far more expressive in the way she sings the German language than either Margaret Price w/Abbado or Vlatka Orsanic w/Gielen, which I slightly prefer orchestrally - but the Lukomska version seems not to be on CD. I have not heard the Jessye Norman w/Boulez, but am ordering it. If she does a Strauss overkill on it it is a pity - I'll wait and see. It was amusing to read some reviewer in Fanfare (I think - it was on the net) recently call this work "twelve-tone", which of course it isn't, though it does use a 12-tone series melodically at one point; ironically, it seems to have been this work that Schoenberg singled out for severe criticism among his pupil's recent productions. He was himself some years away from developing the dodecaphonic system then...Stravinsky also seems to have held Berg's Op.4 in high regard: in one of the Craft/Strav. dialogue books he discourses eloquently on the piece, as I remember.
The Violin's Obstinacy

It needs to return to this one note,
not a tune and not a key
but the sound of self it must depart from,
a journey lengthily to go
in a vein it knows will cripple it.
...
Peter Porter