Anton Von Webern
Was Anton von Webern an icon of progressive elements in music or a Nazi sympathizer? According to author Malcolm Hayes, perhaps both appellations are correct. Von Webern is neither as well known as his mentor Schoenberg nor did he achieve the (comparative) popular success of his compatriot Berg. As with other volumes in the Phaidon 20th-Century Composers series, more attention is focused on the life of von Webern than on the details of his music. Hayes recounts the troubled decline of Habsburg Austria in the first half of this century, which gave rise to the brand of modernism championed primarily by Schoenberg. Shot accidentally by an American soldier in 1945, von Webern never saw his postwar successes and was spared the spectacle of some of the claims of his postwar adherents.
Webern and the Lyric Impulse : Songs and Fragments on Poems of Georg Trakl
(Anne C. Shreffler
This study provides a new view of a composer long considered to be one of the century's most rigorously intellectual creators, Anton Webern. By examining a central pre-twelve-tone work, the Trakl cycle, Op 14, in the context of the Viennese intellectual and artistic climate, Shreffler shows how Webern's responses to Trakl's complex verse enabled him to expand his musical vocabulary. The author's emphasis on Webern's compositional process is of particular importance: whether because of the anxiety of creating a new musical language, or because of an innate hyper-perfectionism (or both), Webern rejected most of what he composed. A close examination of the manuscript sources--fragments, sketches, and fair copies--of Webern's comparatively neglected middle-period lieder enables her to shed light on Webern's musical language and his working methods.