Along with Anton von Webern, Alban
Berg ranks among the most highly regarded pupils of Arnold Schoenberg. Under his guidance, Berg
began to compose under the systems that Schoenberg had created.
These three composers formed what was known as the "Second Viennese
School," and at this school, they would teach the theory of
atonalism, serialism and the twelve-tone technique. These three
composers would go on to revolutionize the way the world heard
music in the twentieth century.
Alban Berg was born on February 9th, 1885 in Vienna as son of a bookseller. Due the massive inheritance he received, he could focus his entire life on composing music. He lived his entire life in Vienna, and thus was heavily influenced by the composers and conductors in that musical capital of the world. Before his was taken in under Schoenberg's wing in 1904, he had no formal music training, as did many of other composers.
In 1908 he wrote his first piece that was late-Romantic in style. In 1910, he publish his First String Quartet being his last work under the Schoenberg. This was also his last piece written with tonality. In 1911, he married Helene Nahowski. His love for her was present in the works of this time such as the Altenberg songs. In his next piece, Three Pieces for Orchestra, he tried to appease his mentor with more developed structures and a heavy character of Gustav Mahler's Ninth Symphony.
His next output was during World War I, the opera Wozzeck. After the war, he pieces began to take a mathematical approach, known as serialism. The Lyric Suite, written for string quartet, is based on the number three, and was written in dedication to Webern and Schoenberg. During this composition, he had an extramarital affair with Hanna Fuchs-Robettin, and these passions were seen in his highly erotic opera, Lulu.
In 1935, he was commissioned to write a Violin Concerto. It was
to be for Mahler's widow, Gropius. The piece was magnificent as he
wove Bach's chorale into the final movement. He never heard the
piece played, for he died on December 24th, 1935. The piece went on
to become his requiem. He died famous and wealthy, having completed
a successful career
His Famous Compositions
His famous pieces inclue his Violin Concerto, Wozzeck, Lulu, and
the Lyric Suite. Wozzeck was determined to be apathetic by many
critics, but was still a marvelous piece composed by a genius.
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