Author Topic: Webern's Vibe  (Read 17749 times)

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karlhenning

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Webern's Vibe
« on: April 02, 2008, 12:44:20 PM »

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Thus towards the end of his life Webern’s mystical tendencies led to a kind of ‘Meta-music’ which did not need to be written down on paper and realized in sound.  [Cesar?] Bresgen says of this: ‘It is highly improbable that Webern worked at any piece of music on paper in those last months of his life in Mittersill:  in any case there is no one to whom he spoke about it.  On the other hand one could often see Webern in most stimulating work, which consisted of drawing with pencil and compasses on a poor quality table or on a wooden board.  I well remember his system of lines, in which could be seen geometrical figures or fixed points with markings.  Once—it was the middle of August 1945—Webern said on one of my visits thaht he had just finished some work which had occupied him a great deal.  He had completely organized a piece, i.e. he had fixed all the notes in it in respect of their pitch (sound) and also their duration in time.  I cannot remember the series, but I remember Webern’s remark about “time fulfilled”.  With this graphic plan on the table Webern regarded the real work as completed.  More than once he made the assertion that he would never wish to hear his piece (played by musicians).  He said that the work “sounds by itself”—he himself could “hear it right through”—it was enough for him that the piece was now finished in itself:  “the sound is always there”—“a performance would not bring it out as perfectly as it had already become sound in himself”.  Apart from this Webern was convinced that what he had done was no private or arbitrary step;  he said “one will hear this music as if it had always been, it will be like a morning breeze, a liberation . . . in fifty years one will find it obvious, children will understand and sing it”.’

Walter Kolneder, Anton Webern: An Introduction to His Works, translated by Humphrey Searle, pp. 191-192

Offline Josquin des Prez

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2008, 01:30:29 PM »
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in fifty years one will find it obvious, children will understand and sing it”

Famous last words?



karlhenning

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2008, 03:40:50 AM »
Keep in mind that in 1945, Webern would not have quite reached his 62nd year. I should incline to read in fifty years not so much as pinpoint prophecy, as on the order of I shan't see it in my day, but the hour will come.

Offline Brewski

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2008, 10:54:23 AM »
Thanks, James, I've bookmarked that for later!  Looks very interesting.

I love Webern, and can't believe we didn't have a thread for him!  Just recently Levine and the MET Orchestra did the Six Pieces, Op. 6, which might be my favorite Webern work.  The percussion section was absolutely awesome, especially in the funeral march.  I have a number of recordings, but seem to gravitate back toward Levine's two, with the MET and Berlin.

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Offline val

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #4 on: April 05, 2008, 12:38:42 AM »
The first time I heard Webern's music, it was in a concert by the LaSalle Quartet. They played Webern opus 5, 9 and 28. It was unforgettable. I remember being fascinated by the mystery of this music and also some sort of purity.
After all this years, I still prefer those works. But I learned to appreciate the opus 6, 10 and 21, the choral works, Augenlicht and the two Cantatas and the piano variations opus 27.

The only part of Webern's music that I don't like are the Lieder. In general, Webern doesn't seem very concerned by the poem, using the words just like as a vocal sound, with almost no relation with their meaning. It is very difficult to me to understand such aesthetic (it is the same case in certain moments of Boulez "Pli selon Pli"). 

karlhenning

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #5 on: April 05, 2008, 12:58:25 PM »
The only part of Webern's music that I don't like are the Lieder. In general, Webern doesn't seem very concerned by the poem, using the words just like as a vocal sound, with almost no relation with their meaning.

And yet, so many of his poems were written by someone with whom he was well acquainted.  I have scarcely read any of their correspondence, but I get the impression that his treatment of her texts did not displease her at all [?].

Offline Guido

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2008, 06:25:53 AM »
I have just bought the complete Webern set by Boulez - the six CD one. Where do I start?
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline Guido

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2008, 07:11:00 AM »
Haha! Well, I got this very cheaply from a market stall of all places!
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2008, 08:17:15 AM »
I have just bought the complete Webern set by Boulez - the six CD one. Where do I start?

Start with the quartet op.22 for violin, clarinet, tenor saxophone, and piano on the third CD.

Amazingly colorful.

And don't mind James. The DG set is the reference set - it includes music not found on Sony.


Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2008, 09:27:16 AM »
yeah...it includes a lot of juvenilia and the DG set is poorly recorded, i was shocked because usually with Boulez things are up close & clear but not with that set, the music sounds like the orchestra is playing it at the bottom of the Grand Canyon with the listener at the top. the Sony set is superior because it's less ambient and more up close and clear, like being sat amoungst the musicians.

Yes, the sound Columbia achieved for Boulez back in the day was typified by a "close and clear" perspective. Quality stuff, no doubt. However it is also basically on the dry side, lacking depth.

Some listeners prefer this type of sonic perspective. Good for them, I say.

But calling the sound on DG "Grand Canyon-like" shouldn't be taken to mean the quality is poor. Far from it. It's just extremely wide and open with tons of depth and quite opposite what Columbia achieved.

Diffuse and swampy it surely isn't!

The amount of color alone on DG is enough to put the sound in the front ranks. Add to that the brilliance of the dynamic range and what we have here is no less than an aural extravaganza.

I urge everyone not to miss it - juvenilia and all - as the sound (and the music!) has deep impact.



Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Guido

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2008, 09:45:58 AM »
Cheers Donwyn. I remember studying this during my A levels - an extraordinary work to be sure. The only other works I know are the three sets of cello pieces.

I guess I should have asked really - what in people's opinion are the really important and great works? Or are they all of similar high quality?
Geologist.

The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2008, 10:14:54 AM »
Cheers Donwyn. I remember studying this during my A levels - an extraordinary work to be sure. The only other works I know are the three sets of cello pieces.

I guess I should have asked really - what in people's opinion are the really important and great works? Or are they all of similar high quality?

Guido,

Just my impression but the works probably most often heard are the Six Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6, and the Variations for Piano, Op.27.

For myself, I'm sort of a Webern 'all-rounder' as I pretty much enjoy everything he wrote.


Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Norbeone

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2008, 10:23:28 AM »
My favourites include Five Pieces Op.5,  Four Pieces Op.4, Six Pieces Op.6, Five Pieces Op.10, Quartet Op.22 and the Concerto Op.24.

Also, his arrangment of Bach's Ricercar 1 6 from the Musical Offering is very interesting.

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2008, 10:28:28 AM »
the Sony set does not "lack depth", it gets it just 'right'.....the over abundance of ambience in the DG set is inappropriate to Webern's very particular soundworld, but if you like your Webern all blurred, smudged & smeered than the DG set is definitely for you!

And those poor GMGers who disagree with you must pay the price in blood.

Relax a little.


Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #14 on: September 21, 2008, 11:02:56 AM »
Guido,

I regret this discussion has become a platform for James's tantrums but I urge you to listen for yourself without prejudice to the DG set.



Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Norbeone

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #15 on: September 21, 2008, 12:58:21 PM »
Yea I agree ... don't take my word, it's just one of the worst recordings of the works I have ever heard, and I heard a lot believe me ...

I agree. The Boulez is indeed a wonderful set that everyone should have. The very acceptable recording quality also makes it great.

karlhenning

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #16 on: September 21, 2008, 02:50:06 PM »
I guess I should have asked really - what in people's opinion are the really important and great works? Or are they all of similar high quality?

Of course, they're late opus-numbers, and comparatively large-scale;  apart from these obvious pointers, the Cantatas are signal high points in Webern's oeuvre . . . these more than any of his music make one weep that his life was cut off.

karlhenning

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #17 on: September 21, 2008, 02:51:31 PM »
. . . For myself, I'm sort of a Webern 'all-rounder' as I pretty much enjoy everything he wrote.

I'll sign on there, too.

greg

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #18 on: September 21, 2008, 04:10:30 PM »
Anyone familiar with both the Karajan and Boulez recordings of the op.1?
I've always preferred Karajan...

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: Webern's Vibe
« Reply #19 on: September 21, 2008, 07:22:35 PM »
Yea I agree ... don't take my word, it's just one of the worst recordings of the works I have ever heard, and I heard a lot believe me ...

So you're just going to drag down DG, Boulez, and the entire crew/production team of this DG set with your tantrum? Not to mention the rest of the artists?

They don't deserve it, and potential buyers really need to know that DG does it right on this occasion. Your pettiness in "being right" all the time has no place when defamation is concerned.

If you favor that Sony set, that's fine. But DG has come up aces with this set.


« Last Edit: September 21, 2008, 07:25:11 PM by donwyn »
Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

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