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Classical Composers A-Z: Anton Webern

Peter Wintersgill tells us something of Anton Webern, the Viennese composer who wrote music in the atonal style.

3rd December, 1883, in Vienna.

Early piano lessons from mother.

Studied at Klagenfurt, later at Vienna Conservatiore with Adler and later still (1904) with Schoenberg.

Adult Life
A fellow student studying with Schoenberg was Alban Berg, who became a life-long friend. He conducted operettas at several centres, on Austrian radio and at "workers'symphony concerts".

He followed the style of Schoenberg by adopting serialism, atonality and the 12-note principle. He thus had great influence on younger composers, like Stockhausen, Boulez and Maderna, as well as on some older ones, such as Stravinsky.

From 1908 till the 1920's he wrote in a free atonal style, as shown in the Five Canons (1924). After this time he made increasing use of the note row. In the Symphony (1928), which had a theme and variations, he moved away from serialism, and back to a more traditional form.

He died in Mitlersill after being shot in error by a sentry on 15th September, 1945, aged 64.


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