Oh, inherent bias, what would we do without you? Welcome to Miami, dear readers.
In their contrasts, Franz Schubert and Alban Berg make a complementary pair.
Fair enough, I suppose. Contrasts compliment. Is that really quirky? This is quirky. Pairing two composers from the same city that lived less than a century apart seems more like…contrast, or complimentary. You said that. In your first sentence.
Both composers were, in very different ways, intrinsically Viennese and each man died young -- Schubert, most tragically, at 31.
Is dying at 50 (from an infected abscess from a bee sting) really less tragic than dying at 31? I mean, I suppose, maybe. Both tragic, though.
Schubert's genius added harmonic complexity and metaphysical angst to Biedermeier-era complacency.
Interesting sentiment. Note, however the construction: Schubert = genius. Let’s see what happens next!
Berg's lyricism and emotional depth put a human face on the chilly serialism of the
Ah, the inevitable backhanded knock on serialism. Schubert = genius. Serialism = chilly. Berg = mediates chilliness with warm emotion and lyricism. Not genius, though. That's reserved for pre-1900 composers.
Michael Tilson Thomas's smart, quirky programming combined works of both men for a bracing weekend Viennese festival by the New World Symphony. Friday night's opening event at the Lincoln Theatre set the tone with Berg's Lyric Suite and Schubert's Mass in E flat.
Mr. Johnson’s review of the Schubert can be read via the link at the top (and it's perfectly cromulent). I am only concerned with the inherent bias about…
Berg remains the most passionate and directly communicative
Passionate! Communicative! Emotional! Lyrical! Fuck that chilly non-genius Schoenberg! He totally didn’t write Pierrot Lunaire (which, in all fairness, is pre-12-tone, but also passionate, lyrical, emotional, and communicative all the same).
of the 12-tone school's early triumvirate (Schoenberg and Webern, being the other two).
You don’t say. And, what’s with, the, comma?
His Lyric Suite was born of an impassioned but apparently unconsummated love for a married woman.
So they say! What else?
Though written in 1928, Berg's Lyric Suite breathes an atmosphere of findesíecle
Although this could be an internet publishing error, someone should proofread these things. Fin de siecle (while I appreciate the italics) is totally ThreeDifferentWords.
Though written in 1928, Berg's Lyric Suite breathes an atmosphere of findesíecle Viennese decadence, the world of Gustav Klimt and Thomas Mann.
Even though…what? Thomas Mann: 1875-1955. Won the Pulitzer in 1929, the year after this particular Berg piece was published. Completely contemporary. Klimt died in 1918, but is still roughly contemporaneous with Berg and Mann. For no real reason, here is a picture by Klimt that is fun to look at.
The romantic inspiration is clear with its Tristan quotation but Berg deftly creates a kind of wrong-note Mahler, fusing subdued tragedy and emotional intensity within serial strictures.
Wrong-note Mahler. Seriously? Crap. (deep breath)
Berg wrote wrong notes!? What a lyrical emotional passionate chilly fool. Those damn serialists! They had no fucking idea.
The sense of romantic yearning and dark foreboding was clearly palpable in Friday's performance under Tilson Thomas. The burnished strings brought out the angular music of the opening movement as much as the mystery and elliptical strangeness of the multi-divided strings in the central movement and the dark-hued somber valedictory of the final section.To sum up: Berg’s Lyric Suite is lyrical, passionate, emotional, and communicative, which mediates the cold chill of his technique of writing wrong notes, but is still angular, foreboding, elliptical, and dark-hued.