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Encyclopedia > Violin Concerto (Berg)

Alban Berg's Violin Concerto was written in 1935 (the score is dated August 11, 1935). It is probably Berg's best known and most often performed piece. Alban Maria Johannes Berg (February 9, 1885 – December 24, Austrian composer. ... 1935 was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ... August 11 is the 223rd day of the year (224th in leap years) in the Gregorian Calendar. ... 1935 was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will take you to calendar). ...

Contents

Conception and composition

The piece stemmed from a commission from the violinist Louis Krasner. When he first received the commission, Berg was working on his opera Lulu, and he did not begin work on the concerto for some months. The event which spurred him into writing was the death of Manon Gropius, the daughter of Alma Mahler (once Gustav Mahler's wife) and Walter Gropius. Berg set Lulu to one side to write the concerto, which he dedicated "To the memory of an angel." The violin is a stringed musical instrument that has four strings tuned a perfect fifth apart. ... This article is about opera as an art form. ... Lulu is an opera by the composer Alban Berg. ... Origin Etymology Concerto (from the Latin concertus, from certare, to strive, also confused with concentus), in its most general sense, is a name for a piece of classical music in which there are two distinct groups of instruments, one larger than the other. ... Alma Mahler Alma Mahler (August 31, 1879 - December 11, 1964), noted in her native Vienna for her beauty and intelligence, was the wife, successively, of one of the centurys leading composers (Gustav Mahler), architects (Walter Gropius), and novelists (Franz Werfel). ... Gustav Mahler Gustav Mahler (July 7, 1860 – May 18, 1911) was best known in his own time as one of the leading Austrian conductors of his day, but is now remembered as an important composer linking the late 19th century with the modern musical period, particularly for his vast symphonies... Walter Adolph Gropius (May 18, 1883 – July 5, 1969) was a German architect and founder of Bauhaus. ...


Berg worked on the piece very quickly, completing it within a few months, although it is thought that his working on the piece was largely responsible for his failing to complete Lulu before his death on December 24, 1935 (the violin concerto was the last work that Berg completed). The work was premiered after the composer's death, with Krasner playing the solo part on April 19, 1936. April 19 is the 109th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (110th in leap years). ... 1936 was a leap year starting on Wednesday (link will take you to calendar). ...


The music

The concerto is structured in four movements. The first and second movements run into each other, as do the third and fourth, though there is a brief break between the second and third movements. The first movement is in a classical sonata form; the second is a dance-like movement; the third, marked Allegro and largely based on a single recurring rhythmic cell, has been described as cadenza-like, with very difficult passages in the solo part becoming rather violent at its climax; the fourth is in a much calmer mood, marked Adagio. The first two movements are meant to represent life, the last two death and transfiguration. Sonata form refers to both the standard layout of an entire work and more specifically to the standardized form of the first movement. ... In musical terminology, tempo (Italian for time) is the speed or pace of a given piece. ... Rhythm (Greek ρυθμός = tempo) is the variation of the duration of sounds or other events over time. ... A cadenza is usually now taken to mean a portion near the end of a movement of a concerto in which the orchestra stops playing, leaving the soloist to play alone in free time (without a strict, regular pulse). ...


Like a number of other works by Berg, the piece combines the twelve tone technique learned from his teacher Arnold Schoenberg with passages written in a freer style. While parts of the score are atonal, as is the norm in twelve tone works, some parts can be said to be in a certain key, and quotes of purely tonal music are also present. The work's principal tone row reflects this conflict between atonality and tonality: Twelve-tone technique is a system of musical composition devised by Arnold Schoenberg. ... Arnold Schoenberg, Los Angeles, 1948 For the American music critic and journalist, see Harold Charles Schonberg. ... Atonality in a general sense describes music that departs from the system of tonal hierarchies that are said to characterized the sound of classical European music from the sixteenth through the nineteenth centuries. ... In music, a tone row or note row is a permutation, an arrangement or ordering, of the twelve notes of the chromatic scale. ...


G, Bb, D, F#, A, C, E, G#, B, C#, Eb, F The principal tone row from Alban Bergs Violin Concerto This image has been released into the public domain by the copyright holder, its copyright has expired, or it is ineligible for copyright. ...


Sound sample of the tone row (ogg format, 10 seconds, 34KB) If you are visiting this page because your computer cant play a sound file, see How to play Ogg files OGG is also the abbreviated title of the British mockumentary Operation Good Guys Ogg is a patent-free, fully open multimedia bitstream format designed for efficient streaming and storage. ...


Like all tone rows, this contains all twelve notes of the chromatic scale. However, there is a strong tonal undercurrent: the first three notes of the row make up a G minor triad; notes three to five are a D major triad; notes five to seven are an A minor triad; notes seven to nine are an E major triad; and the last four notes together make up part of a whole tone scale. The chromatic scale is a musical scale that contains all twelve pitches of the Western tempered scale. ... In music, a whole tone scale is a scale in which each note is separated from its neighbors by the interval of a whole step. ...


These last four notes of the row are also the first four notes of the chorale melody, Es ist genug (It Is Enough). Berg quotes this chorale directly in the last movement of the piece, where the harmonisation by Johann Sebastian Bach is heard in the clarinets. A chorale is a hymn of the Lutheran church sung by the entire congregation. ... }} Wiktionary has a definition of: Melody In music, a melody is a series of linear events or a succession, not a simultaneity as in a chord. ... Johann Sebastian Bach, 1748 portrait by Elias Gottlob Haussmann Johann Sebastian Bach (March 21, 1685[1] (O.S.) – July 28, 1750[2] (N.S.)) was a German composer and organist of the Baroque period, and is universally regarded as one of the greatest composers of all time. ... A bass clarinet, which sounds an octave lower than the more common Bb soprano clarinet. ...


There is another directly quoted tonal passage in the work in the form of a Carinthian folk song in the second movement. Carinthia (Kärnten in German, Koroška in Slovenian) can refer to: Carinthia - a federal state of Austria Carinthia - an informal province in Slovenia Carinthia - a duchy of the Holy Roman Empire and crownland of Austria_Hungary Karantania - the first Slovenian state This is a disambiguation page — a navigational aid which lists other... Folk music, in the original sense of the term, is music by and of the people. ...


Sound samples

  • The original appearance of the tone row in the first movement - this is the tone row as shown in the above example. Note that the B which separates the triads from the whole-tone scale at the end of the row is longer than the other notes. (ogg format, 10 seconds, 43KB)
  • The climax of the third movement - most of the orchestra can be heard playing the rhythmic motif which runs through this movement. (ogg format, 18 seconds, 83KB)
  • The Bach chorale from the fourth movement (ogg format, 17 seconds, 77KB)

All samples are performed by Itzhak Perlman and the Boston Symphony Orchestra conducted by Seiji Ozawa. If you are visiting this page because your computer cant play a sound file, see How to play Ogg files OGG is also the abbreviated title of the British mockumentary Operation Good Guys Ogg is a patent-free, fully open multimedia bitstream format designed for efficient streaming and storage. ... If you are visiting this page because your computer cant play a sound file, see How to play Ogg files OGG is also the abbreviated title of the British mockumentary Operation Good Guys Ogg is a patent-free, fully open multimedia bitstream format designed for efficient streaming and storage. ... If you are visiting this page because your computer cant play a sound file, see How to play Ogg files OGG is also the abbreviated title of the British mockumentary Operation Good Guys Ogg is a patent-free, fully open multimedia bitstream format designed for efficient streaming and storage. ... Itzhak Perlman (born August 31, 1945) is an Israeli violinist and teacher. ... The Boston Symphony Orchestra is one of the worlds most renowned orchestras. ... Seiji Ozawa (born September 1, 1935) is a Japanese conductor. ...


Premieres

  • World premiere: April 19, 1936, Barcelona at the ISCM Festival. Louis Krasner played the solo part, and the performance was conducted by Hermann Scherchen.
  • English premiere: May 1, 1936, London, at an invitation-only concert. Krasner was again the soloist, and Anton Webern conducted a BBC orchestra.
  • English public premiere: December 9, 1936, London at the Queen's Hall in a BBC concert. Krasner was again the soloist, and Henry Wood conducted the BBC Symphony Orchestra.

Barcelona within Barcelonès Population (2003) 1,582,738 Area 1004 Km2 Population density (2001) 15,764/Km2 Barcelona is the capital of Catalonia, an autonomous region in northeastern Spain ( 41°23′ N 2°11′ E). ... German conductor and arranger, (June 21, 1891 – June 12, 1966). ... Greater London and the Regions of England. ... Anton Webern (December 3, 1883 – September 15, 1945) was a composer of classical music and a member of the so called Second Viennese School. ... ... The Queens Hall was a classical music concert hall in Central London, opened in 1893 but is best known for being where The Promenade Concerts were founded in 1895. ... Sir Henry Joseph Wood (3 March 1869 - 19 August 1944) was a British orchestral conductor, the founder of the famous Promenade Concerts. ... The BBC Symphony Orchestra is the principal orchestra of the British Broadcasting Corporation and one of the leading orchestras in Britain. ...

Further reading

  • Anthony Pople, Berg: Violin Concerto (Cambridge University Press, 1991)

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Alban Berg's Violin Concerto was written in 1935 (the score is dated August 11, 1935).
Berg worked on the piece very quickly, completing it within a few months, although it is thought that his working on the piece was largely responsible for his failing to complete Lulu before his death on December 24, 1935 (the violin concerto was the last work that Berg completed).
Berg quotes this chorale directly in the last movement of the piece, where the harmonisation by Johann Sebastian Bach is heard in the clarinets.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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