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Bryan R. Simms and Charlotte Erwin

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780190931445

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2021

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190931445.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use.date: 22 May 2022

The Celebrated Composer, 1928–34

The Celebrated Composer, 1928–34

(p.289) 8 The Celebrated Composer, 1928–34

Simms Bryan

Oxford University Press

In this chapter aspects of Berg’s life during his last eight years are recounted. Berg’s childhood friend Hermann Watznauer proposed a biography of Berg, in which project the composer concurred. Berg was offered an academic appointment at the Berlin Musikhochschule, but he preferred to stay in Vienna, hoping for a position at the Vienna Music Academy, which did not materialize. His complex relations with his family contributed to a slowing of his attention to music. As his mood darkened, he complained of losing his ability to compose, and he attempted to revive his spirits by flirtations with two women, Anny Askenase and Edith Edwards. Berg purchased a summer retreat, the Waldhaus, in 1932. From about this time, with the rise of the Nazis, Berg’s music had few performances in Germany and Austria and he gradually faced a financial crisis. In 1929 he received a lucrative commission from the soprano Ružena Herlinger to compose a concert aria for her use. Berg then composed Der Wein, a setting for voice and orchestra of poetry by Baudelaire. The work was his first to bring in styles from popular dance music such as the tango.

Keywords:   Watznauer biography, Berlin Musikhochschule, Vienna Music Academy, Waldhaus, summer retreats, Anny Askenase, Edith Edwards, Nazi restrictions, Ružena Herlinger, Der Wein, Baudelaire

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