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alban berg

Alban Maria Johannes Berg (Vienna, 9 febbraio 1885 - Vienna, 24 dicembre 1935) un
compositore austriaco ! stato tra i principali protagonisti della "ita musicale del primo
#o"ecento
$ece parte della cosiddetta seconda scuola di Vienna assieme al suo maestro %rnold
&c'(nberg e ad %nton )ebern * suoi la"ori tendono all+emancipa,ione della tonalit- prima
attra"erso l+uso della tonalit- allargata, poi delle tecnic'e dodecafonic'e
%utore delle opere teatrali Wozzeck (1925) e Lulu (193.)
Wozzeck un+opera lirica in tre atti di %lban /erg, su libretto proprio tratto dal dramma
teatrale Woyzeck di 0eorg /1c'ner
! composto da 21 numeri musicali, ciascuno dei 2uali corrisponde ad una forma strumentale
barocca (passacaglia, fuga, ecc)
*l libretto scon"olgente e profetico, in 2uanto stato scritto nel primo ottocento ma riporta
una trama c'e assolutamente no"ecentesca e c'e conser"a ancora intatta una sorprendente
modernit-
3a composi,ione dell+opera fu portata a termine dall+autore nel 1922 e la partitura dedicata
ad %lma 4a'ler
5modifica6
Trama
Attenzione: 2uesta se,ione ri"ela, del tutto o in parte, la trama dell'opera
)o,,ec7, militare innamorato di 4arie da cui 'a a"uto un figlio, "i"e alternando moti di
realismo a "isioni terrificanti e di orrore
4arie subisce il fascino di un altro militare, il 8amburmaggiore, e tradisce il padre
dell+amato figlio )o,,ec7 sospetta il tradimento, tormentato dalle parole del 9apitano e del
:ottore e dello stesso 8amburmaggiore 4arie dapprima nega il tradimento e, nel corso del
ter,o atto, pro"a rimorso
)o,,ec7, ormai accecato e tormentato dalla gelosia, decide di ucciderla e in seguito, nella
foga di nascondere le tracce dell+omicidio, muore anc'+egli
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Rappresentazioni
;rima< 14 dicembre 1925 - /erlino, &taatsoper
;rima in *talia< 1942, =oma - 8eatro dell+>pera, direttore 8ullio &erafin
Inizialmente autodidatta, costretto per qualche anno a impiegarsi per vivere, solo dal
1904 pu dedicarsi intensamente allo studio della composizione sotto la guida di
Schonberg, che gli fu amico e maestro venerato.
ssai vicino all!ambiente letterario e pittorico della "ienna dell!inizioo del secolo, si
impose ben presto come compositore, rivelandosi, insieme con #eben, come il pi$
interessante musicista della giovane generazione austriaca fornatasi alla scuola di
Schonberg.
%ompiuto il servizio militare pu dedicarsi nuovamente alla composizione,
stabilendosi a "ienna e iniziando per vivere un!intensa attivit& di insegnante.
'onostante il successo che arrise a diversi suoi lavori (in primo luogo al #ozzec)*
condusse una vita tutt!altro che agiata, e dopo il 19++, col venire meno delle
esecuzioni nella ,ermania nazista, conobbe due anni di vera povert&, prima di
morire a causa di un!infezione generata da un ascesso mal curato.
In tutta la sua produzione -erg risent. l!influsso del miglior romanticismo tedesco, in
particolare di -rahms e di /ahler.
/a gi& nelle primissime composizioni la tensione cromatica lo sospinge oltre le
barriere della tonalit&, ed 0 appena venticinquenne quando scrive i primi pezzi
atonali.
1a fedelt& alla tradizione romantica rimane attestata in lui dalla predilezione per
sonorit& dense e per il ricorso a forme sinfoniche tipicamente tedesche (dalla
2/arcia2 dei + 3ezzi per orchestra op. 4 al valzer del %oncerto per violino*, per la
contabilit& accesa delle sue linee melodiche (in cui non v!0 nulla della frantuniazione
5eberniana o dell!esasperazione schinberghiana*, infine per il non casuale ritorno di
reminiscenze tonali.
1!opera pi$ 2spinta2 nella direzione del rinnovamento del linguaggio fu
indubbiamente la Suite lirica per quartetto d!archi, composizione paradigmatica per
l!espressionismo della scuola di "ienna e per la concezione rivoluzionaria della
tecnica dello strumento ad arco.
/a -erg resta nella storia della musica del nostro secolo soprattutto per le sue due
opere teatrali (di cui la seconda lasciata purtroppo incompiuta*, #ozzec) e 1utu,
che additano vie nuove di incredibile ricchezza al compositore del nostro tempo.
3eraltro anche nella musica strumentale -erg ha lasciato composizioni immortali6
tipico rappresentante dell!espressionismo viennese, -erg d& respiro e valore
universale a tutta un!epoca della civilt& moderna, cos. densa di insegnamenti e di
generi vitali per il futuro.
7ggi la sua produzione 0 entrata nel repertorio operistico e sinfonico di tutto il
mondo6 accanto a Schonberg e a #ebern egli 0 destinato a rimanere come uno dei
massimi musicisti del nostro secolo.
(born Vienna, 9 $ebruar? 1885@ died t'ere, 24 :ecember 1935)
Ae Brote songs as a ?out' but 'ad no serious musical education before 'is lessons Bit'
&c'(nberg, B'ic' began in 19C4 )ebern Bas a pupil at t'e same time, a crucial period in
&c'(nberg+s creati"e life, B'en 'e Bas mo"ing rapidl? toBards and into atonalit? /erg+s
;iano &onata op1 (19C8) is still tonal, but t'e $our &ongs op2 (191C) mo"e aBa? from 7e?
and t'e op3 &tring Duartet (191C) is B'oll? atonal@ it is also remar7able in sustaining,
t'roug' moti"ic de"elopment, a larger span B'en t'e instrumental Bor7s of &c'(nberg and
)ebern Bere comparati"el? momentar? /erg dedicated it to 'is Bife Aelene, B'om 'e
married in 1911
8'en came t'e $i"e &ongs for soprano op4 (1912), miniatures setting poetic instants b?
;eter %ltenberg 8'is Bas /erg+s first orc'estral score, and t'oug' it s'oBs an aBareness of
&c'(nberg, 4a'ler and :ebuss?, it is brilliantl? concei"ed and points toBards Wozzeck - and
toBards 12-note serialism, notabl? in its final passacaglia 4ore immediatel? /erg produced
anot'er set of compact statements, t'e $our ;ieces for clarinet and piano op5 (1913), t'en
returned to large form Bit' t'e 8'ree >rc'estral ;ieces opE (1915), a t'ematicall? lin7ed
se2uence of prelude, dance mo"ement and funeral marc' 8'e prelude begins and ends in t'e
2uiet noise of percussion@ t'e ot'er tBo mo"ements s'oB /erg+s disco"er? of 'oB traditional
forms and st?listic elements (including tonal 'armon?) mig't support big structures
*n 4a? 1914 /erg saB t'e Vienna premiere of /1c'ner+s Woyzeck and formed t'e plan of
setting it Ae started t'e opera in 191., B'ile 'e Bas in t'e %ustrian arm? (1915-18), and
finis'ed it in 1922 Ae made 'is oBn selection from t'e pla?+s fragmentar? scenes to furnis'
a t'ree-act libretto for formal musical setting< t'e first act is a suite of fi"e c'aracter pieces
(fi"e scenes s'oBing t'e simple soldier )o,,ec7 in different relations'ips), t'e second a
fi"e-mo"ement s?mp'on? (for t'e disintegration of 'is liaison Bit' 4arie), t'e t'ird a set of
fi"e in"entions on different ostinato ideas (for t'e traged?+s brutall? ni'ilist climaF) 8'e
close musical structuring, eFtending to small details of timing, ma? be seen as an analogue
for t'e mec'anical alienness of t'e uni"erse around /1c'ner+s central c'aracters, t'oug'
/erg+s music crosses all boundaries, from atonal to tonal (t'ere is a 4a'lerian interlude in d
4inor), from speec' to song, from cafG music to sop'isticated teFtures of dissonant
counterpoint Wozzeck 'ad its premiere in /erlin in 1925 and t'ereafter Bas Bidel?
produced, bringing /erg financial securit?
Ais neFt Bor7, t'e 9'amber 9oncerto for "iolin, piano and 13 Bind (1925), mo"es
decisi"el? toBards a more classical st?le< its t'ree formall? compleF mo"ements are still
more clearl? s'aped t'an t'ose of t'e opE set and t'e scoring suggests a response to
&tra"ins7ian obHecti"it? 8'e Bor7 is also t'readed t'roug' Bit' cip'ers and numerical
conceits, ma7ing it a celebration of t'e triune partners'ip of &c'(nberg, /erg and )ebern
8'en came t'e 3?ric &uite for string 2uartet (192E), B'ose long-secret programme connects
it Bit' /erg+s intimate feelings for Aanna $uc's-=obettin - feelings also important to 'im in
t'e composition of 'is second opera, Lulu (1929-35) 8'e suite, in siF mo"ements of
increasingl? eFtreme tempo, uses 12-note serial along Bit' ot'er material in proHecting a
2uasi-operatic de"elopment toBards catastrop'e and annulment 8'e de"elopment of Lulu
Bas tBice interrupted b? commissioned Bor7s, t'e concert aria Der Wein on poems b?
/audelaire (1929) and t'e Violin 9oncerto (1935), and it remained unfinis'ed at /erg+s
deat'< 'is BidoB placed an embargo on t'e incomplete t'ird act B'ic' could not be
publis'ed or performed until 19.9 %s Bit' Wozzeck, 'e made 'is oBn libretto out of stage
material, t'is time c'oosing tBo pla?s b? )ede7ind, B'om 'e 'ad long admired for 'is
treatment of seFualit? :ramaticall? and musicall? t'e opera is a 'uge palindrome, s'oBing
3ulu+s rise t'roug' societ? in 'er successi"e relations'ips and t'en 'er descent into
prostitution and e"entual deat' at t'e 'ands of Iac7 t'e =ipper %gain t'e score is filled Bit'
elaborate formal sc'emes, around a l?ricism unloosed b? /erg+s indi"idual understanding of
12-note serialism &omet'ing of its t'renodic sensualit? is continued in t'e Violin 9oncerto,
designed as a memorial to t'e teenage daug'ter of 4a'ler+s BidoB
JFtracted Bit' permission from
The Grove Concise Dictionary of Music
edited b? &tanle? &adie
K 4acmillan ;ress 3td, 3ondon
La straordinaria classe di composizione del maestro Schoenberg doveva contare negli
stessi anni due delle figure
Alban Berg (1885-1935)
Analsis of !iano Sonata" #p$ % &%'()*+,
by Andrew Kuster
%lban /erg+s ;iano &onata, >p 1 is a fascinating Bor7 B'ic' emplo?s, Bit'in a tonal
frameBor7, man? of t'e tec'ni2ues /erg Bould use in 'is mature st?le 8'e &onata is a one-
mo"ement Bor7 in t'e traditional sonata form, including an eFposition (B'ic' repeats), a
de"elopment, and a "aried recapitulation Bit' coda Jac' main t'eme (first, second, and
closing t'emes) is stated in t'e JFposition in a different tempo 8'ese t'emes, B'ic' are
moti"icall? lin7ed, are all de"eloped from t'e opening t'eme 8'e Bor7+s tonal center and
7e? signature is b-minor, and t'e 7e? areas utili,ed in t'e course of t'e mo"ement are
'istoricall? logical, but its compleF c'romaticism 'as led 9arner to call /erg+s &onata La
stud? in t'e use of c'romaticall? +altered+ suspensions and passing-note c'ordsL (9arner<
19.5, 1C1) 8?pical to 'is st?le, /erg uses man? c?clic tonal patterns in t'e &onata
Jspeciall? prominent are c'romatic (1-c?cle) progressions and LBedgesL, B'ole-tone (2-
c?cle) c'ords and progressions, augmented progressions (4-c?cle), and 2uartal c'ords and
progressions (5-c?cle)
/erg+s &onata, Britten in 19C.-8, Bas first performed at a recital of compositions b? students
of &c'oenberg on 24 %pril 1911 /erg composed t'e &onata during t'e first ?ear of 'is
apprentices'ip Lfor 'imself,L not to be eFamined b? &c'oenberg (3eiboBit,< 1949, 14C)
#e"ert'eless, t'e Bor7 Bas composed in reaction to /erg+s teac'er+s ideas, and is influenced
b? anot'er Bor7 emplo?ing sonata form and using 5-c?cle progressions, &c'oenberg+s
9'amber &?mp'on?, >p 9 &amson claims t'at Lto t'e eFtent t'at t'e Bor7 approac'es total
t'ematicism as a unif?ing met'od B'ic' mig't replace tonalit?, it reflects t'e influence of
&c'oenbergL (&amson< 19.., 121) 4an? anal?sts comment on t'e 8ristanes2ue 2ualit? of
t'e &onata, but * sense a connection (per'aps because of t'e form or t'e medium) Bit' t'e
sonata mo"ements of &criabin and t'eir c'romaticism, and c?clic progressions and c'ords
8'e &onata opens Bit' tBo moti"es B'ic' are used and de"eloped t'roug'out t'e entire
composition (a 0rundgestalt, Aedlam< 199E, 23) 8'e first moti"e begins immediatel? in t'e
rig't 'and< 0-9-$M, 5C,1,E6 8'e second moti"e, 'eard in t'e second and t'ird measures in
t'e upper "oice, is a descending 4-c?cle folloBed b? c'romatic falling motion 0-Jb-/-:-
9M, B'ic' ma7es up a B'ole-tone group Bit' one added note 5C,1,2,4,86 (&amson di"ides
moti"e 2 into tBo moti"es< moti"e (b) is /-Jb-/, moti"e (c) is :-9M) 8'e opening p'rase of
t'e &onata lands solidl? on t'e b-minor tonic c'ord, approac'ed b? a 5-c?cle bass note
progression, 9M-$M-/, and can be anal?,ed traditionall? as iiNO-V-i, but t'e 'armonic
progression is not b? traditional "oice leading =at'er, Lt'e 'armon? is +filled in+ Bit'
c'aracteristic passages in maHor t'irds mo"ing c'romaticall? or b? B'ole-tone steps to create
B'ole-tone 'armonic areasL (&amson< 19.., 118) ;la?ed simultaneousl? Bit' t'e second
moti"e are tBo descending c'romatic lines (1-c?cles), one in t'e rig't 'and /-/b-%-etc, t'e
ot'er in t'e bass 9M-9-/-etc B'ic' continue (in"erted) into t'e fift' measure 8'e
conHunction of t'e 1- and 4-c?cles in t'e first measure creates 'armonies based on t'e 3-
c?cle (beat 1< 9M-0 PEQ, beat 2< 9-Jb P3Q, and beat 3 /-/ PCQ) /erg uses patterns of t'is
sort in t'e course of t'e &onata, and more eFtensi"el? in 'is later Bor7s
8'e first t'eme area in t'e eFposition (ms 1-28) is tripartite, t'e t'ird part being a "aried
repeat of t'e first part and t'e transition to t'e second t'eme area at t'e same time )it'in
t'e first part of t'e first t'eme, t'e moti"es first 'eard in t'e opening measures are de"eloped
in measures 3-. 4oti"e 1 is pla?ed in t'e bass part of measure 3 and moti"e 2 is sounded in
t'e rig't 'and Bedging out to a B'ole-tone (2-c?cle) based measure (ms .) and a repeat of
moti"e 2 in measure 8 8'e second part of t'e first t'eme area begins in measure 11 8'is
second part, B'ic' implies :-maHor, t'e relati"e maHor of b-minor, uses moti"e 1 and
upBard mo"ing c'romatics (1-c?cles) 4oti"e 1 combines Bit' itself (in measures 11-12) to
form B'ole-tone collections Bit' one added note (similar to t'e collection formed in moti"e
2) % 5-c?cle bass progression (ms 13 J, ms 14 %, ms 1E :) leads bac7 to t'e return of t'e
first part of t'e first t'eme area in measure 1E *nstead of t'e resolution to tonic as in
measure 3, noB t'ere is a decepti"e progression in measure 19 leading to a se2uence of
moti"e 2 to measure 23
8'e material in measures 23-28 leads to t'e second t'eme area 8'is neB material, pla?ed in
t'e rig't 'and is moti"e 3 B'ic' is used in transitional passages elseB'ere in t'e &onata
4oti"e 1 is 'eard in in"erted form in t'e left 'and of measure 25 4easure 2E contains
c'romaticall? descending 5-c?cle c'ords in t'e left 'and % 5-c?cle bass progression (/ in
ms 25, J in ms 2., % in ms 29) deli"ers us to t'e second t'eme
8'e second t'eme area (ms 29-48) is in tBo parts 8'e first part of t'e second t'eme is in :-
maHor (o"er an % pedal), t'e relati"e maHor of b-minor, alt'oug' no solid cadence to : is
'eard 8'e second t'eme uses t'e dotted r'?t'm and pitc'es of moti"e 1 Bit' an added 'alf-
step forming a 5C,1,E,.6 4oti"e 2 is pla?ed in measure 3C, beat 3 rig't 'and % cadence to J
is reac'ed in measure 33, folloBed b? a se2uential pattern using 5C,1,E,.6 until t'e second
part of t'e second t'eme area beginning in measure 38 Aere, moti"e 1 alternates Bit' scales
based on B'ole-tones Bit' added notes % se2uence B'ic' repeats for t'ree measures begins
in measure 4C 4oti"e 3 returns in measure 43 forming a lin7 to t'e closing t'eme area at
measure 49
8'e s'ort closing t'eme area (ms 49-55) B'ic' begins Bit' a prominent $M in t'e bass (t'e
dominant of b) uses c'romaticall? descending B'ole-tone based c'ords in t'e left 'and o"er
B'ic' is a melod? based on moti"e 1 from measures 45-4. /ot' t'e closing t'eme and t'e
second parts of t'e first (Bit'out $) and second t'eme areas 'a"e t'e pitc'es J-$-$M-%-9 in
common % se2uence in measures 52-53 proceeds Bit'out a solid cadence to t'e eFact repeat
of t'e eFposition
8'e de"elopment section (ms 5E-11C) is 'ig'l? se2uential and 'omop'onic, simpler t'an
t'e eFposition B'ic' is 'ig'l? de"eloped in itself *t is di"ided in t'ree parts, eac' of B'ic'
de"elops a different part of t'e eFposition 8'e first part of t'e de"elopment (ms 5E-.C)
de"elops moti"e 1 and uses o"erall descending c'romatic progressions 4oti"e 1 is used in
3-c?cle, in measure 5E (on %b), in 58 (on :), in E1 (on /b), and in E3 (on J) % 4-c?cle
progression (or 5C,1,4,86) in measures EE-E. leads to a B'ole-tone measure (ms E9) and t'e
second, and longest, part of t'e de"elopment section (ms .C-99) 8'e second part of t'e
de"elopment uses moti"e 1 and moti"e 2 /eginning in measure .3 bot' moti"es are tossed
bac7 and fort' betBeen 'ands 4oti"e 3 is de"eloped from 81 to t'e climaF 'alfBa? t'roug'
t'e de"elopment in 84 /eginning in 84 a 5-c?cle bass progression (0 in 84, 9 in 88, and $
in 89) mo"es to a c'romatic descent starting at t'e loudest part of t'e Bor7 in measure 91
8'e de"elopment calms before t'e t'ird section (ms 1CC-11C) B'ic' is based on t'e second
t'eme 4oti"e 2 is 'eard in measure 1C9, li7e t'e false entrance of t'e 'orn Hust before t'e
recapitulation in Jroica
8'e recapitulation snea7s bac7 in measure 111 at t'e same pitc' le"el as t'e &onata+s
opening material /erg+s recapitulation is "aried and de"eloped, not simpl? t'e eFposition
material repeated in neB 7e?s )'ile composing t'e recapitulation, /erg must 'a"e ta7en
t'e message of &c'oenberg to 'eart< L#e"er do B'at a cop?ist can doL (9arner< 19.5, 1C2)
8'e initial p'rase of t'e recapitulation does not offer a solid cadence as in t'e eFposition, but
instead leads to an eFtensi"e de"elopment of moti"es 1 and 2 % B'ole-tone area (ms 12.)
mo"es to t'e second part of t'e first t'eme area beginning in measure 131 8'e second part
of t'e first t'eme begins solidl? on $M (VNV in J or t'e dominant of /) % colorful LB'iteL
arri"al in measure 134 mo"es to t'e second t'eme area 8'e return of t'e first part of t'e first
t'eme area (t'e transition of t'e eFposition) is truncated from t'e recapitulation 8'e first
t'eme area ends Bit' an important 'armonic mo"e to V at t'e end of measure 1E4
)'en t'e second t'eme area returns (ms 13.), t'e subdominant J is reac'ed (as opposed to
/ as in traditional sonata form) 8'e second t'eme sounds o"er a pedal /, noB ser"ing as t'e
dominant of J *n measure 153 to 1EC moti"e 3 is eFpanded upon se2uentiall?, landing on J
(subdominant) in measure 1E3
8'e ending coda (ms 1E.-1.9) is based on t'e closing t'eme (using descending B'ole-tone
based c'ords) %s Bit' t'e closing t'eme in t'e eFposition, it begins prominentl? on $M
(dominant) in t'e bass 8'e closing t'eme melod? is pla?ed again in t'e left 'and of
measures 1E9-1.C, and t'en is in"erted and used in se2uence for t'e neFt four measures %
'alf-step motion from 9-/ in t'e top "oice reinforces t'e tonic / (li7e a b**) at t'e same
time as B'ole-tone collections on $M (t'e dominant of /) are pla?ed % solid V-i cadence on
/ occurs in measure 1.5 and is repeated t'ree times, t'e last of B'ic' is dela?ed during
B'ic' moti"e 1 is sounded
8'e &onata is formall? complete in itself 8'e Bor7 is roug'l? s?mmetrical *ts eFposition is
55 bars long (11C including t'e repeat), its de"elopment is 55 bars long, and its
recapitulation is E9 bars long %t one time /erg 'ad intended to compose additional
mo"ements for t'e &onata, but 'e later c'anged 'is mind %fter /erg told 'is teac'er t'at 'e
could not t'in7 of musical ideas for ot'er mo"ements, &c'oenberg replied t'at, for t'is
&onata at least, L'e 'ad said all t'ere Bas to sa?L (9arner< 19.5, 99)
4an? of t'e tec'ni2ues t'at /erg Bould come to use in 'is later Bor7s are eFplored in t'is
earl? ;iano &onata % t'oroug' anal?sis of t'e Bor7 offers insig't to t'e logic and co'erence
of /erg+s compositional met'od, and at t'e same time causes aBareness of t'e intense
emotion and passion B'ic' are t'e core of 'is musical language 9ertainl? >p 1 is an
important stepping stone in t'e understanding of earl? 2Ct' 9entur? eFtended tonalit?
SELECTED BBL!"#A$%&
9arner, 4osco Alban Berg: the Man and His Work 3ondon< :uc7Bort', 19.5 99-1C2
0able, :a"id and =obert 4organ Alban Berg: Historical and Analytical Perspectives
>Fford< 9larendon ;ress, 1991 E4-E9
Aedlam, :a"id The Music o Alban Berg #eB Aa"en R Sale< Sale Tni"ersit? ;ress, 199E
22-33
Iarman, :ouglas The Music o Alban Berg /er7ele? R 3os %ngeles< Tni"ersit? of
9alifornia ;ress, 19.9 3C-33
3eiboBit,, =enG !choenberg and His !chool 8ranslated b? :i7a #eBlin #eB Sor7< :a
9apo, 1949 14C-144
&amson, Iim Music in Transition #eB Sor7< #orton, 19.. 11E-121