Daily Classical Music Post‘s Today’s memory
Alban Berg’s birthday
Originally shared by Daily Classical Music Post
Today is the anniversary of the birth of the Austrian twelve-tone composer Alban Berg (9 February 1885–24 December 1935).
Berg was much more interested in literature than in music as a child. He did not begin composing until he was 15. He began formal music and composition studies with Arnold Schoenberg in 1904. Apparently, Schoenberg was not to happy to discover that Berg had already composed dozens of Lied, and he encouraged Berg to compose for instruments instead of voice.
His Piano Sonata Op. 1 (written in 1907–1908) is considered to be one of the most „formidable first works ever written.” The Piano Sonata is in one movement, and although it can be said to be in the key of b minor, it does employ chromaticism, whole-tone scales, and wandering key centers. Berg hadn’t intended to write just one movement, but he could not come up with any ideas for the second and third movements. Schoenberg told him that this was because he had said all that he wanted to say, so Berg went ahead with publication and performance.
According to the All Music Guide, „The sonata represents a major stylistic leap for Berg. As musicologist Bruce Archibald notes, the composer’s earlier piano music is ‘in the language—tonal, textural, and gestural—of Brahms and Schumann.’ The sonata, on the other hand, is in a newer idiom, exhibiting the strong influence of the iconoclastic Schoenberg.”
My classical music post for today is Berg’s Piano Sonata Op. 1.