Type of Document Dissertation Author Cain, Jerry M. URN etd-09212003-191433 Title Anton Webern’s Lied Settings Of Poems By Karl Kraus Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Music, School of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Douglass Seaton Committee Chair Charles E. Brewer Committee Member Jane Piper Clendinning Committee Member Jeffery T. Kite-Powell Committee Member Keywords
- Karl Kraus’s Works Influences Anton Webern
Date of Defense 2003-08-02 Availability unrestricted AbstractAnton Webern’s diaries, letters, and personal library catalogs reveal that by 1905 he had become an avid reader of Karl Kraus’s works, especially the popular and controversial journal Die Fackel, and that he continued to collect the satirist’s works for over thirty years. Like other Viennese residents, Webern often disagreed with Kraus’s sardonic cultural commentaries, yet he revered the satirist as an eminent Viennese
intellectual. In the 1930s Webern’s frequent citations of Kraus during the composer’s Path to the New Music lecture series reveal that it was Kraus’s theories on language and ethics that the composer assimilated into his own mature world view.
Webern also admired Kraus’s poetry. In addition to a complete series of compositional materials for “Wiese im Park,” op. 13 no. 1, Webern’s Nachlaß also contains manuscripts documenting his attempts to set five other Kraus poems between
1916 and 1924. Although these unpublished Kraus songs were left incomplete, the settings of “Vallorbe,” M. 232, and “Vision des Erblindeten,” M. 236, exist in fairly detailed continuity drafts, and the settings of “In tiefster Schuld,” M. 210, “Flieder,” M. 246, and “Mutig trägst du die Last,” M. 211, exist in multiple, musically distinct sketch fragments.
A detailed archival description of Webern’s Kraus manuscripts highlights some of the multitudinous compositional strategies through which the composer sought to create coherent small- and large-scale formal musical structures within the free atonal idiom.
Foremost among these strategies is the use of aggregates to delineate musical subsections, a technique referred to in this study as “aggregate phrasing.” Analysis also reveals that the composer occasionally sought to internally organize these aggregate phrases through complement relations and the manipulation of unordered, fixed-pitch sets, some of which
possess combinatorial properties. Although the octatonic collections play no significant
role in most of these sketches, a few contain interesting octatonic sonorities, and one
fragmentary setting of “Flieder” definitively demonstrates that the composer worked with
octatonic scales in 1920. The study of these manuscripts, both complete and fragmentary,
provides insights into the raw musical materials and various compositional strategies explored by Webern during an experimental period of the composer’s development.
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