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Anton Von Webern (20th Century Composers) Paperback – October 19, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Was Anton von Webern an icon of progressive elements in music or a Nazi sympathizer? According to author Malcolm Hayes, perhaps both appellations are correct. Von Webern is neither as well known as his mentor Schoenberg nor did he achieve the (comparative) popular success of his compatriot Berg. As with other volumes in the Phaidon 20th-Century Composers series, more attention is focused on the life of von Webern than on the details of his music. Hayes recounts the troubled decline of Habsburg Austria in the first half of this century, which gave rise to the brand of modernism championed primarily by Schoenberg. Shot accidentally by an American soldier in 1945, von Webern never saw his postwar successes and was spared the spectacle of some of the claims of his postwar adherents.

Review

'Provides a vital point of access to those seeking a deeper understanding or enjoyment of his music.' (Gramophone) 'As a series, Phaidon's 20th Century Composers has brought remarkable variety and a welter of information, both necessary and delightfully trivial. Intended both for the general reader and for the more enthusiatically musical...' (The Scotsman)
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Product Details

  • Series: 20th Century Composers
  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; 1St Edition edition (October 19, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714831573
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714831572
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,944,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By V. Wilson on April 6, 2000
Format: Paperback
Webern's music seems to me to be something of an acquired taste. This biography, however, is perfectly designed to encourage one to acquire a taste for the strange atonal wisps of sound that comprise a good part of this composer's ouevre.
Rather than getting bogged down in technical discussions of Webern's serial techniques, the author gives us the composer's life; stopping at crucial musical signposts to explain how his thought evolved. In each case, we're given an idea how to approach the given piece.
Webern's music often seems unearthly, and he comes across as a bit unearthly (or at least very impractical) himself. Still, we get a human portrait of him, which further encourages us to see the passion in his music.
As with all the books in this wonderful series, it contains copious quantities of drawings and photos, a complete list of compositions and a wonderful bibliography for further reading.
If you've always wondered what the big deal about Webern was (to the extent that he influenced 50 years of music, frequently by people who seem not to have understood his muse), this is a good place to start finding out.
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Anton Von Webern (20th Century Composers)
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