Webern・s Reception in the Post-War Era




The position that Webern・s early atonal music has held in twentieth century musical history has much to do with its status as a symbol of total liberation from any previous conventional musical approach.  American musicologist Susan McClary has described this music as .composed in deliberate opposition to the old system and without the security of a new one・, hence it .might genuinely be crazy・ (McClary, 1991: 109).  The liberalism of Webern・s atonal music perhaps freely invites views from all sorts of backgrounds where theorists could equally claim their propositions without being arbitrary.[1]  On the other hand, the very same liberalism could also conceal the original idea behind the music and the genuine effect of the sound upon its listeners.  Despite the variety of today・s Webernian studies, there are still gaps between how Webern・s atonal music is described and the listener・s experience.  The indication that Webern today is .a composer・s twentieth-century avant-garde composer・ as well as .the music scholars・ and music critics・ twentieth-century avant-garde composer・ (Forte, 1998: 3) remains.  However, it was Webern・s close friend and accomplice, Hildegard Jone,[2] who stated that .all art is understandable, seen from the life from which it comes・ (Webern, 1967: 67),[3] suggesting that the comprehensible or sympathetic artistic essence of a work of art would emanate directly from the soul of its creator.  Jone thus invites us to contemplate Webern in terms of inner qualities or essences.  .What is expressed in Anton Webern・s music is no longer description・ Jone wrote, .it is the penetrating radiant force of the heart・ (Webern, 1967: 67).[4]  In the postmodernist climate of the late twentieth century, such an appeal to essence had to be regarded, at best, as highly speculative.  And yet, while we cannot posit certainty, we do know that Webern・s music speaks to us differently from other composers・ work and that it seems to have its origins in a quite exceptional purity of expression, or, we might say, of spirit. 


First blossoming of interest in Webern・s music


The death of an artist has often aroused a sudden public interest in his work.  But it was not exactly like that in Webern・s case.  For one thing, although Webern・s music was banned by his government during most of the war period, in terms of the Viennese musical circle of that time he was not at all a stranger; his compositional ideas and methods were noticed by his colleagues and many younger composers.  Schoenberg・s description of Webern in .How one becomes lonely・ (1937) provides convincing confirmation:


He is today recognized the world over among musicians, although his works at the present time have not yet become as familiar to the great audience as his genius deserve (Schoenberg, 1984: 41). 


No doubt, Webern・s dramatic and tragic death when an American soldier shot him on 15 September 1945 caused dismay in the wider musicological world.[5]  But the critical cause of serious concern seemed more likely to be a consequence of the close of the war: it was a time for total change.  .The timing of the first blossoming of interest in Webern・s music・ as Bailey says, .certainly had more to do with the end of the war than with the death of the composer・ (Bailey, 1995: 644). 

After the Second World War, the younger generation of European composers experienced a profound reaction against their cultural heritage.  For a new and better world, they felt that a complete break with all previous forms of music was needed, and therefore created a new kind of music V fundamentally different from anything known before.  Pierre Boulez, one of the leading exponents of post-war European music, has described it thus: .In 1945-6 nothing was ready and everything remained to be done: it was our privilege to make the discoveries and also to find ourselves faced with nothing V which may have its difficulties but also has many advantages・ (Boulez, 1990: 445).  The .nothingness・ of which Boulez speaks, offers space for the phenomenon of the idolatry of Webern.  Webern・s quotation from Friedrich Hölderlin that .to live is to defend a form・ (Moldenhauer, 1978: 588) was cherished as a highest principle.  Boulez writes: .Form means defending one・s life・ (Boulez, 1990: 100).  Thus, for Boulez and other leading avant-garde composers of his generation, Webern・s music was adopted as a symbol of formalism and Webern was understood as a model formalist. 

Post-war articles about Webern first appeared as obituaries written by his friends or pupils, e.g. Erwin Stein, Willi Reich and Humphrey Searle.  What is significant about these writings is perhaps that at such an early stage (even before the so-called .Darmstadt madness・,[6] to borrow Bailey・s term), the lyrical tendency in Webern・s music has already been unambiguously observed.  In his obituary of Webern, for instance, Stein writes:


The death of Anton Webern has deprived the musical world of a rare personality.  He was an uncompromising character, tenaciously pursuing his musical idealsK Webern was primarily a lyricist in the same sense as Schubert and Debussy were.  The lyric quality of his music distinguishes Webern from Schoenberg whose faithful disciple he was (Stein, 1946: 14).


While the value of Stein and others・ insights into Webern・s lyricism is highly appreciated by today・s Webern scholarships (of which more later), how such a noticeable characteristic of Webern・s music could be ignored or even not realised at Darmstadt is itself an interesting case to be investigated; it led to .one of the most amazing misunderstandings of music history・ (Bailey, 1998: 191).  Partly responsible was René Leibowitz・s Schoenberg and His School (1947), the very first analytical study of Webern・s music (Bailey, 1995: 644).  After studying with Schoenberg and Webern in Berlin and Vienna (1930-33), Leibowitz spread the musical concept of the Second Viennese School and taught the twelve-note technique in Paris where he settled in 1945 (Griffiths, 1986: 108).  His doctrine became influential among contemporary composers including Boulez, who was a pupil of his for two years (1945-6).


The Darmstadt madness


Boulez also received lessons from Messiaen, whose rigorous and objective compositional approach was a significant inspiration to him too.  Boulez, who showed interests in both mathematics and music at an early age, began to influence the European music circle by attempting to liberate music from the restraints of the established Western tradition and produce work under the influence of the principle of serialism.  For example, his Second Piano Sonata (1948) and Livre pour quatuor (1949) show the idea of rhythmic serialism.  The rapid and intemperate quality of his music came to an extreme in his Polyphonie X (1951) and Structures I (1952).  Almost directly, his attendance at Darmstadt V an international summer courses for new music established in 1946 V generated the enthusiasm for hyper-serialisation which was also practised in the United States by Milton Babbitt and others at the same time, and .officially・ announced the pro-Webern trend, so to speak.  A picture of Webern as an absolute formalist was drawn from there; when some of Boulez・s influential essays appeared during this period, the whole .serial madness・ and .Anton-olatry・ reached its highest point.  For instance, in his .Eventuellement・[7] (1952), Boulez condemns talk of .arbitrariness of the series・:


Any musician who has not experienced V I do not say understood, but truly experienced V the necessity of dodecaphonic language is USELESS.  For his entire work brings him up short of the needs of his time (Boulez, 1991: 113).


In another article, .Schoenberg is dead・ (1952), Boulez presents an appreciation of the twelve-tone system of Schoenberg but then goes on to remark that Schoenberg did not realise the full potential of it.  He asks: .Where do we stand with regard to Schoenberg?・ (Boulez, 1991: 209).  .For him dodecaphony is nothing more than a rigorous means for controlling chromaticism; beyond its role as regulator, the serial phenomenon passed virtually unnoticed by Schoenberg・ (Boulez, 1991: 212).  For Boulez at this time, the system is not only valid for the tone (pitch), but also other musical elements such as rhythm, dynamics, texture, and ultimately form itself.  He reveals a kind of lack of coherence in Schoenberg・s composition, which he describes as .a reductio ad absurdum of Schoenbergian incompatibility・.  He comments:


Schoenberg saw the series as lowest common denominator which would guarantee the semantic unity of the work, but that the linguistic components generated by this means are organized according to a pre-existent, non-serial, rhetoric.  This, to my mind, is the central, provoking, UNEVIDENCE of a body of work without intrinsic unity (Boulez, 1991: 213).


He then pays tribute to Webern for being able to .investigate the musical EVIDENCE arising from the attempt at generating structure from material・ (Boulez, 1991: 214).  According to Boulez, Webern had broken traditional musical gestures by treating musical sounds objectively.  In .EventuellementK・, he also points out the different ways of using the series by the three members of the Second Viennese School, and admires Webern as:


The only one, in truth, who was conscious of a new dimension in sound, of the abolition of the horizontal-vertical opposition in favour of a view of the series as simply a way of giving structure V or, so to speak, texture V to musical space・ (Boulez, 1991: 114). [8] 


Later that year (1952), another article by Boulez was published in the New York Herald Tribune.  Here, he addressed Webern as the .threshold・ of .the new-discovered territory・:


Webern is the threshold, I have said: let us have the insight to regard him as such.  Let us accept the contradiction between the destruction of power and the abolition of impossibilities.  Henceforth, we shall dismember his face, for there is no reason to surrender to hypnosis.  Nevertheless music is not about to sink that face into oblivion (Boulez, 1991: 216).


Stockhausen, who first attended Darmstadt in 1951 and became a pupil of Messiaen・s in the following year, also subscribed to the avant-garde principle of pre-compositional planning.  His works such as Kreuzspiel (1951) and Kontra-Punkte (1952) indicate his own idiosyncratic experiments with a serial, pointillistic technique that is directly influenced by the ways the Darmstadt School heard Webern.  His articles made him one of the leading theorists of European post-war serialism.  In discussing Webern・s technique, he wrote:  


The Schoenbergian principle of the thematic row is brokenK What is essential is not a uniquely chosen Gestalt (a theme, or motive), but a chosen sequence of proportions for pitches, durations, and loudnesses (Stockhausen, 1963: 1: 26; quoted in Morgan, 1991: 334).


According to Stockhausen, the concept of Webern・s twelve-note music is governed by the serialization of Webern・s composition, as he claimed that the so-called .musical idea・ is basically .the conception of tonal order・ (Lippman, 1992: 418):


Music as tonal order is directed to the human capacity of perceiving order in tones.  Perceiving is understood here as: existing and remaining in existence without further intention.  In this way musical thinking-along-with is provoked. With .order・ there is meant: the disappearance of the individual in the whole, of the various in the unified.  The criteria of order are richness of relation and absence of contradiction.  The goal of ordering is the approach to an imaginable perfection of order in general and in particular (Stockhausen, 1963: 18).


The significant result of the intense link between Darmstadt and Webern was seen when the second volume of Die Reihe was devoted entirely to Webern.  This appeared in 1955.  Different voices on the pro-Webern issue were collected here and some of them were heard for the first time.  For instance, in the foreword of the book, Stravinsky states that Webern was the biggest challenge in his entire life.  His obituary of Webern is a classic example of post-war Webern idolatry.

The 15 of September 1945, the day of Anton Webern・s death, should be a day of mourning for any receptive musician.  We must hail not only this great composer but also a real hero.  Doomed to a total failure in a deaf world of ignorance and indifference he inexorably kept on cutting out his diamonds, his dazzling diamonds, the mines of which he had such a perfect knowledge (Eimert & Stockhausen, 1959: vii).


Stravinsky was apparently already quite familiar with the sound of some of Webern・s music which affected his own adoption of serial technique; and no other composer would keep closer contact with the music of Webern, even when his works were still largely unknown in Europe (Craft, 1957: 20: 7-13). 

The immense interests in Webern that the Darmstadt school raised and promoted not only accentuated the artistic value of Webern・s music but also overwhelmingly encouraged a positive attitude towards serial technique and the pre-compositional process, which radically influenced the development of post-war avant-garde music.  In short, the discovery of Webern by the Darmstadtists is itself a .threshold・ of a .new-discovered territory・ (to borrow Boulez・s terms) in the history of music.   


The Studies between 1955 and 1985


The first phase of Webern idolatry (i.e. the .Darmstadt madness・) was in fact relatively short-lived.  Although the consensus regarding Webern as a father-figure to the avant-garde and an innovator of a new musical realm continued after Die Reihe 2, and Boulez・s remark about .the ineluctable necessity of Webern・ (Boulez, 1991: 303) was still heard in the sixties, more than a decade after Webern・s death, the interest in Webern・s music changed .fairly regularly each decade・ (Bailey, 1995: 645).  Already in 1954 V half way to the completion of his acclaimed Le Marteau sans Maître (1953-5) V Boulez himself had warned of the blind spot of an overemphasis of Webern・s technique and the consequence of the hyperserialisation in music.  In .Recherches maintenant・, he warns:


Webern only organized pitch; we organize rhythm, timbre, dynamics; everything is grist to this monstrous all-purpose mill, and we had better abandon it quickly if we are not to be condemned to deafness.  One soon realizes that composition and organization cannot be confused without falling into a maniacal inanity, undreamt of by Webern himself (Boulez, 1991: 16).       


As the initial curiosity and excitement towards Webern and his music had reached its climax in the first decade after Webern・s death V probably the .most colourful・ response to Webern・s music (Bailey, 1995: 645) V the surveys over the next thirty years or so focused more on the music than the composer.  In many ways, as Kathryn Bailey notes, writings of this period (i.e. 1955-85) tried to .repair some of the damage done by the impetuosity of the initial Webern reception・ (Bailey, 1995: 645).  For example, an article called .Webern: Architect of Silence・ written by Ethel Casey, attempted to correct the Darmstadt image of Webern as essentially a calculating composer, ignoring the sensuous, sonorous aspects of his music V in particular the relationship between sound and silence.  Casey wrote:


Anton Webern opened a new world for receptive people in all art endeavor. One of the most amazing aspects of Webern・s music is that it lives as much for the sake of silence as for sound.  It is not true to say Webern built his compositions as an unfeeling, unaware mathematician.  He, like the architect constructing a building, utilized space as a value and built his works with the emotional exploitation of an artist painting a visual creation or a dancer weaving a design of beauty with leaps and step・ (Casey, 1961: 52).


While Casey・s insight into the poetic aspect of Webern・s music is shared by many contemporary composers (Forte, 1998: 3-4) and is paralleled by contemporary readings of Webern as primarily a lyricist (Bailey, 1996), it is interesting to see how long it has taken the .lyrical Webern・ to be fully understood.  As Christopher Wintle remarked: .How curious that, fifty years after the appearance of Stein・s obituary, we have still to get the measure of Webern・s lyric character!・ (Wintle, 1996: 263) 

Studies that support the expressionist temperament or humanist quality in Webern・s music are equally opposed to a formalist reading of Webern.  The Italian scholar Luigi Rognoni made a descriptive and speculative study of Webern, constructed on a historical and biographical base.  This demonstrates a classic example of the traditional approach to musical compositions and composers (Rognoni, 1977: 315-401).  He argues that social forces and autobiographical background are to be relevant.  For example, in discussing the trait of moral earnestness of Beethoven・s music, one can neither neglect that it is closer to a typical post-French Revolution enthusiasm than the douceur de vivre that came before it, nor can one overlook that, it is likely to be a manifestation of Beethoven・s personality (Rosen, 1976: 385).  Rognoni・s profile of Webern as an expressionist and humanist is deeply rooted in the European Romantic tradition.  He begins his study by outlining the historical conflict (and connection) Romanticism and the avant-garde ethos, showing the well-known antagonism and the swing of fashion between generations in the history of music.  One of the most critical points in Rognoni・s work is that, from a historical point of view, he indicates that the post-war formalist tendencies, were on the whole consequences of the need for change in musical style.  He reveals that the progressive and rationalistic formalism of the Parisian avant-garde are paradoxical, as they have trapped themselves in bourgeois culture (Rognoni, 1977: xv).  This is therefore to distinguish the expressionist forces of Webern・s artistic language from the formalist readings of his enthusiastic advocates, and, to hint that the enigmatic image promoted by the latter might be an unnecessarily artificial addendum which could ruin the moral and ethical conscience of Webern・s music.  Having explained the contextual background and the atmosphere of antithesis in the first half of the twentieth century, Rognoni justifies the comprehending of Webern・s music as a victim of formalism.  He writes:


The difficulty is largely due to the increasing preoccupation which seeks to exalt not so much Webern・s music as his musical means, abstracting them from their intentional causality and virtually reducing them to a sort of .preparatory・ material ready for future use (Rognoni, 1977: 315).


The discontinuity of style between Webern and the generation that preceded him, which causes the recognition of the composer as the only one among the Second Vienna School to .have turned his back on tradition and taken the plunge into a future・ (Rognoni, 1977: 315), could hardly be used as a pretext of crowning Webern as a master of radicalism.  For true inheritors of any style are .not those who maintained its traditions・, but, .who preserved its freedom as they gradually altered and finally destroyed the musical language which had made the creation of the style possible・ (Rosen, 1976: 460).  This point is made by Rognoni in his multi-dimensional discussions of Webern・s language.  It is tempting to think of Rognoni・s standpoint as a force de frappe made specifically to oppose the increasingly popular formalist fashion in the academic world at the time.  But there is an underlying concern throughout Rognoni・s writing: the commencement and return of an inner humanistic expression in Webern, which is by no means exhausted in its historical framework but .continues to speak primarily as the moral and spiritual force of an art-language・ (Rognoni, 1977: 315).  In examining the use and effect of the Klangfarbenmelodie in Webern・s work V one of his most creditable analyses of Webern・s expressionist material V Rognoni notes a conformity between its pure aural perception and sonority.  The latter could be related closely to Mahler・s Naturlaute in his Sixth symphony, in which .the eye sees beyond the bucolic image, but preserves it as sound・ (Rognoni, 1977: 337).  For Rognoni, this conformity is suggestive of .a pure poetic image・ of Webern・s music, which is .almost in the naturalistic manner of the Romantics・ (Rognoni, 1977: 337).  Moreover, it is indicative of a traditional perception underneath Webern・s utopian ideal, and, of the rejection of radicalism in Webern・s technique. 

Rognoni・s approach starts with challenging the revolutionary concept of the formalist avant-garde, exploring the contextual connections of Webern・s music, examining the technical relationships between the elements, and gradually outlining an expressionist and humanist version of Webern.  It remains essentially as a conventional programmatic analysis and was among the first to argue against the Darmstadt viewpoint of Webern and his music.  Regrettably, despite Rognoni・s efforts and the significant outcome of his studies, Webern・s post-war image remained associated with .a cerebral, detached aesthetic・.  As Anne Shreffler writes, it .remains strangely unaffected・ (Shreffler, 1994: 3).

Furthermore, instead of exploring in the foreground like their forerunners did, analyses of 1955-1985 generally tend to be more raditional (a hint of Schenkerian influence, as Bailey suggests) and investigate mostly in the background (Bailey, 1995: 645).  Foremost, Webern・s lectures in 1932 and 1933 in Vienna, which present first-hand information of Webern・s artistic thinking, were collected and published in 1960.  Two traditional life-and-music surveys, by Walter Kolneder and Friedrich Wildgans, appeared in the sixties, which, together with a collection of Webern・s letters to Hildegard Jone and her husband (1959), offered a more complete biographical background of the composer and his musical ideas.  When it came to the mid-sixties, the legend of Webern assumes various aspects.  More and more promotions were launched: an international Webern festival was first set up in 1962 in Seattle, an international Webern society was to follow and a so-called .Webern Archive・ was compiled V a division of the Moldenhauer Archives founded by Hans Moldenhauer V which exclusively collected Webern・s manuscripts and documents.  And the fact that Webern had a strong academic background perhaps helped his artistic creation to be approved and appreciated more widely by the scholarly world.  So it may not be surprising to see that Webern became one of the mainstream composers (at least for scholars).  Numerous studies were published, most of them tending to be analytical (with some exceptions such as Ethel Casey and Else Cross): Peter Stadlen, Allen Forte, Kathryn Bailey, to name just a few.  And despite this major attention, still pretty much focused on the twelve-tone works, there was also a .awakening interest in the earlier atonal works・ (Bailey, 1995: 646) and some new areas were covered such as Edward Cone・s investigation of certain juvenilia and unpublished works.

Nonetheless, a voice criticising the Anton-olatry or the Webern cult was raised at the same time by, ironically, the same people who crowned Webern at the first place.  In an interview to the University of Washington in 1965, Stravinsky defended Webern and urged that .it is time to replace cultism with criticism・:


Webern cult made the mistake of switching from the music to the musicianK The pendulum has started back, though, and there are signs of tastes and discriminations coming into operation.  Soon we will have to listen from a new angle.  But poor Webern! (Moldenhauer & Irvine, 1966: xix) 


According to Stravinsky, Webern was a victim of amateur appraisers who controlled the composer・s destiny by their .cycles of inflation and deflation・ (Moldenhauer & Irvine, 1966).  Since the fifties, Webern had been promoted as a .precursor・ by composers .simply to show how they have turned [their own establishments] to account or given it more scope・ (Moldenhauer & Irvine, 1966: xxi).  Stravinsky argued that in some ways Webern was regarded .too lightly・ (Moldenhauer & Irvine, 1966: xx) and this became convenient evidence to validate only the serial formulas.  Thus, the pro-Webernists developed into an enthusiasm, not only for his technique, but also for his thoughts and the music itself.  For example, a collection called Anton Von Webern: Perspectives, produced by Hans Moldenhauer and Demar Irvine in 1966 with a foreword by Stravinsky, contains numerous essays on wider and newer dimensions of Webern・s music.

However, whatever position Webern holds in the history of music or whatever opinion musicians, music scholars and music critics have of him or his work does not necessarily deepen the understanding of his music.  Despite the whole Anton-olatry phenomenon, the sound of Webern・s music remained distant V at least from a normal listener・s point of view.  When once asked if he considered Webern・s music to be too narrow, Stravinsky replied: .Admittedly, Webern often seems to have put a low premium on his listener・s sense of involvement・; he then explained: .His music is wholly unrhetorical and in that sense unpersuasiveK The listener is definitely not invited to participate in the argument of the creation・ (Moldenhauer & Irvine, 1966: xxi, xxii).  One imagines Stravinsky・s influence on his long-term assistant Robert Craft as they together produced the very first recording of .the complete・ works of Webern (1957), which presented a dry-as-dust vision of Webern, with hardly a trace of lyricism.  Despite the fact that the Stravinsky-Craft recording at the time received many positive reviews from critics and writers V .the wonderful box set・ as Ernst Krenek called it; .an almost legendary status among people with any interest in contemporary music・ as Jeremy Noble reviewed it (Day, 2000: 118) V it was a misinterpretation only useful for certain academic purposes. As Timothy Day writes:


Stravinsky was eager to discover this music for himself, to feed his own creative needs, to align himself with what he considered the most interesting and progressive creative thinkers of a new generation.  When he said .we・ during these years, he explained, he meant .the generation who are now saying :Webern and me; (Day, 2000: 118).


Yet in contrast, Webern was convinced that his music was in harmony with nature and would eventually be accepted by the ear, even the untrained ear.  He believed that our ears will always guide us to what is most appropriate: .The ear gradually became accustomed to these complex sounds, which at first only appeared cautiously in passing or prepared, and finally all these chords were felt to be natural and agreeable・ (Webern, 1975: 38);[9] .If an untutored ear can・t always follow the course of the row, there・s no harm done・ Webern explains, .in tonality, too, unity was mostly felt only unconsciously・ (Webern, 1975: 53).[10]


The relationship between what composers say about their works and thoughts and how listeners actually receive the sound of their music must be assumed to be complex.  Whichever angle is considered V aesthetically, psychologically, semiotically, etc. V the question of any direct correspondence between verbal expression and composition is open, although it is on the whole safe to assume that the texts offer a view of the composer as he or she would wish to be known.  But as Alexander Goehr remarks, .however significant and fruitful the intellectual mode of a composer might be, if the tones are not right, the words fade away・ (Forte, 1998: 2).  We therefore understand why, when Hugo Wolf was asked for an autobiographical sketch, his answer was: .My name is Hugo Wolf and I was born in 1860.  Everything else you can find out from my works・ (Kolneder, 1968: 176).  Perhaps this explains why, in practice, what Webern describes a .natural and agreeable・ correspondence between the sound of his chords and the listener, seems to be much more complicated than he could imagine.  Robert Craft, who produced a number of promotional essays about Webern in the late 50s, admitted this in his .Anton Webern・:


I am not shy of wearing my respect for Webern the man, but in writing about the music I am afraid of conveying nothing but my own love and of .explaining・K One writes in words about a musical experience knowing that the words are not co-relates [sic] for the experience; but one writes for the people who may have had a similar experience and who might find the words meaningful in a similar way.  In the case of Webern, however, few people have any considerable experience of the music and words are therefore all by themselves, and hardly co-related even to other wordsK [I] will treat Webern as a musician working exclusively with the materials of music (Craft, 1955: 12).


Craft・s declaration V from a listener・s point of view V may sound radical, but it reveals the fact that Webern・s reputation and the popularity of his music do not always cohere.  Even though Webern was highly admired as a composer, his music on the other hand received much less exposure and therefore response from the public.  A journalistic report quoted by Casey shows this symptom: .Just when they finished tuning the instruments, people applauded and I suddenly realized the performance was over・ (Casey, 1961: 52).


The score-based analysis


Nevertheless, studies up to 1985, made before many precious Webern materials became available, were largely devoted in defining the complex relations between the elements of the scores.  In general, this is .old-style・ scholarship where .one just sat down with the score and tried to figure it out・ (Bailey, 1995: 646).  The score-based analysis or, down-to-earth analytical monograph, so to speak, remained characteristic of the entire Webern scholarship and dominated at least a decade (1975-85).  Allen Forte・s Structure of Atonal Music (1973) is a landmark, which inspired much subsequent formal analyses.  Here, Webern・s earlier atonal works such as Opp. 5,6 and 10 and twelve-tone compositions such as Opp. 21, 24, 27 and 30 received much attention; also, both Cantatas (Opp. 29 and 31) with text setting from Hildegard Jone were well-favoured by the analysts in 1975-85 (Bailey, 1995: 647).  But this trend has become insecure since 1986 when the original Webern materials became available to the public.[11] 

One obvious problem of this type of score-based analysis is that it excludes contextual concerns and assumes that some kind of theory can be demonstrated and even proven by analysis of the music score.  The conflicts between score-based analysis and contextual studies have existed in academic studies of music at least since Hanslick.  As Julian Johnson points out:


On the one side we have an analytical approach to music endorsing the formalist perspective that musical meaning is fundamentally intra-musical V constructed in the purely formal properties between the notes as they appear on the page.  On the other side, we have a range of contextual approaches that would include historical musicology, the sociology of music, much ethnomusicology and the psychology of music, all of which argue that musical meaning is not only constructed within social contexts but that it also encodes or constructs social, rather than merely formal, meanings (Johnson, 1998: 268).   


How this paradox could survive and even remain persuasive for such a long time is another issue, but the fact that academic reasoning of a work of art could easily become self-contradictory, or could prevent the artistic quality from reaching our emotions, has become more and more obvious in recent musicology.  Joseph Kerman has warned of such a divisive tendency:


There is a widely held conviction that musicologists areK persons who know a lot of facts about music and very little about .the music itself・.  That could be true of certain musicologists.  But with the majority of them, in my experience, it is not so much a matter of inherent unmusicality as of a deliberate policy of separating off their musical insights and passions from their scholarly work.  I believe this is a great mistake; musicologists should exert themselves towards fusion, not separation (Kerman, 1985: 18-9).


Kerman・s critical viewpoint towards the so-called .positivist・ approach is seen as associated with Adornian critical theory which is .in essence a theory of power, and it sees power largely in terms of the institutions through which it is channelled・ (Cook, 1998: 106).  Adorno・s solution is that such a gap can be bridged because .the relationship between music and the wider social world in which it takes place is congealed in the music itself, not in something extraneous to it, and, moreover, that this relationship can be studied and understood・ (Johnson, 1998: 267).  A sociologist and an accomplished musician himself, Adorno inherits a tradition of culture critique which can be traced to Marxism.  Adorno・s critique reveals that so-called .the way things are・ ideologies in fact .suppress the very existence of alternatives・ (Cook, 1998: 105).  Instead of accepting that .the way things are・ is the way they are represented, it seeks to return power to the individual and it is for him or her to decide what to believe (Cook, 1998: 105).  In other words, for Adorno, the term .music itself ・ is a fusion of the music and the contextual background; or better, as a cultural product, music inherits social interpretation.  In short, music as a work of art .demands interpretation rather than merely description・ (Johnson, 1998: 269).  In this way, .[m]usic analysis and sociological aesthetics, after decades of mutual suspicion, seem set to become inseparable・ (Johnson, 1998: 268).  However, while Adorno・s theory has been highly regarded as a resolution for the dilemma in music analysis, the predicaments it creates has on the other hand invited more debates and discussion.  This is perhaps largely due to its primarily theoretical nature, which Johnson described as .a kind of Holy Grail・ V .a theory that seems to promise access to a realm of musical meaning that before had been merely conjectural・ (Johnson, 1998: 267).  


Nevertheless, in his anti-formalist thinking, Adorno demonstrates convincingly that there is no such thing as .natural causality・ in music, as .causality in art bears an extra layer of subjective mediation (Adorno, 1992: 293-4).  He has identified the danger of supposing the properties of music by reasoning its reality V a tendency of score-based analysis.  He writes:

If someone invents novel techniques and attempts to justify them, he can easily fall into the trap of naturalizing them, treating them as if they were directly subject to the laws of the phenomenal worldK It is as important to explode the illusion of naturalness in art as it is to dismiss the superstitious belief in the unambiguous aesthetic necessity which is grounded in that illusionK The illusion that art is thus and cannot be otherwise must always be refuted by what art actually is (Adorno, 1992: 293-4).


The influence of sketches and source materials


The name of Hans Moldenhauer should of course not to be neglected in any studies associated with Webern.  Moldenhauer had a long-term involvement with Webern since his engagement in the investigation of Webern・s murder in 1959, which resulted in a book called The Death of Anton Webern in 1961.  He particularly deserves praise for his biographical study, Anton von Webern: A Chronicle of his Life and Work (1978).  The biography, benefited greatly by the Webern source materials (manuscripts, diaries and so on) provided by Webern・s eldest daughter Mrs Amalie Waller, reveals much valuable first-hand information about Webern.  One of the most significant impacts of Moldenhauer・s contribution is his disclosure of Webern・s sketches and early, unfinished or unpublished works.  In 1968, he published parts from Webern・s sketchbooks in facsimile which became the first Webern sketches that were available to the public; it aroused interest in further Webern studies.  Scholars such as George Perle, Roger Smalley and R. Larry Todd have made a dedicated investigation of this field (Bailey, 1995: 649).  Ironically, although Moldenhauer claimed that the resources of his Moldenhauer Archives .have been available internationally to scholars and musicians・ (Moldenhauer, 1978: 13), he in fact kept most of his collection of Webern sketches and manuscripts in the dark.[12]  Enthusiasm for studying the sketches was revived when a great deal of Webern・s sketches, row tables and other materials (e.g. letters, diaries, etc.) finally became available in 1986 (Bailey, 1995: 647).  To some certain extent, this has changed the direction of Webern studies.  Previous analyses tended to focus primarily on the nature and properties of material elements (rows, pitch, etc.) and tended to get bogged down in scientific complexity V this is understandable taking into account that they were dealing with an .unfamiliar・ language so that physical and fragmental factors would appear to be logical traces.  But as far as Webern・s atonal music is concerned, at least one quite serious problem was caused by this type of analysis.  Very often, analysts as such overlooked the fact that music (whether tonal or not, twelve-note or not) is a man-made subject and music analysis is a human activity.  No matter how objective the elements seem to be or how neutral the analysts・ minds intend to be, the process and outcome of their analysis would inevitably reflect predilections.  As Bailey asserts:


Analysis is a human activityK an analyst・s predisposition in this respect is surely of the same nature as a preference for gin or whisky, the chief difference being that most people are aware of their taste preferences, whereas aesthetic bias seems to be in many cases unconscious.  The failure to recognize its existence leads to the too easy acceptance of one・s own analysis or that of someone else with a similar bias as conclusive (Bailey, 1991: 2).


Score-based analysis tends to overemphasise the rational in the composition process; the aesthetic quality of the music is hence misinterpreted as a sum of formalist construction or some kind of numerical cleverness.  The importance of technique and craftsmanship is undeniable: it is only through a learned technique that an aesthetic idea can possibly be embodied in a composition.  Many composers would agree that the difficult part of composing is not finding the initial idea but the process of mastering a technical resource to transform this idea into a meaningful work.  Schoenberg depicts that process as laborious:


Alas, human creatures, if they be granted a vision, must travel the long path between vision and accomplishment; a hard road where, driven out of Paradise, even geniuses must reap their harvest in the sweat of their brows (quoted in Harvey, 1999: 73).


For Hindemith too, it is the ability to realise the initial impulse into material form which distinguishes a true artist from others:

One of the characteristics of the talent of a creative genius seems to be the ability to retain the keenness of the first vision until its embodiment in the finished piece is achieved (quoted in Harvey, 1999: 72).


American composer Ned Rorem also shares this view and went further to suggest that incompetent technique would dispel the original inspiration.  He claims:


Inspiration, as such, is no special concern of the composer.  There is nothing much he can do about it anyway.  He takes it for granted and goes on from there.  However, he can do something about the tailoring of his technical resources.  If his craft is not ready to construct a suitable lodging for the eventual visit of Inspiration, Inspiration will turn around and leave (quoted in Harvey, 1999: 76).


Even some composers who are normally firmly associated with .romantic・ or .lyrical・ images express the similar views.  Richard Strauss writes:


I work very coolly, without agitation, without emotion, even.  One has to be thoroughly master of oneself to regulate that changing, moving, flowing chessboard orchestration.  The head that composed Tristan must have been cold as marble (quoted in Harvey, 1999: 75).


Nevertheless, what these composers do not overlook is the fundamental principle in any composition that technique is a means through which composers convert ideas (or impulse, vision, etc.) into musical form.  This is the principle also confirmed by Webern, as he declares that the twelve-note row to be .a rule・, not a .theme・ (Webern, 1975: 55).[13]  Conversely, one could argue that because a fulfilled idea comes from creating efforts, the actual engagement in technical craftsmanship (which brings an inspiration into action) is equally (if not foremost) a participant of the shaping of an artistic work.  Stravinsky, who preferred to be described as an .inventor・ of music rather than a .composer・, writes:


Inspiration is in no way a prescribed condition of the creative act, but rather a manifestation that is chronologically secondaryK everything is balance and calculation through which the breath of the speculative spirit blows.  It is afterwards, and only afterwards, that the emotive disturbance which is at the root of inspiration may arise (Stravinsky, 1994: 50).


Stravinsky・s highlighting of the intellectual calculation in the compositional process no doubt refreshes the clichéd view that music is perceived only from some sort of unconscious emotion.  Taking into account that .the relationship between .calculation・ and .inspiration・ can function in many different ways・ (Harvey, 1999: 77), there is perhaps good reason for Stravinsky to claim so.  Yet, when this notion was adopted by Webernian analysts, the calculated value was overemphasised and the inspirational artistry of Webern・s atonal music underestimated.  Predictably, the calculated value was therefore assumed as the ultimate meaning of the music by the majority of analysts, so that it became the ultimate meaning of the music.  This misjudgement, as far as Webern・s music is concerned, went too far and lasted too long.  Bailey, herself a Webernian analyst since the seventies, writes:   


In my opinion the world・s view of Webern has been flawed by an accumulation of work from like-minded and mutually supportive analystsK I see in both these attitudes V the search for signs of integral serialism and the preoccupation with relationships of pitch V a major oversight (Bailey, 1991: 2, 3).


The emergence of Webern・s row tables (collected in Paul Sacher Stiftung, Basel) and sketchbooks made the train of Webern・s thought explicit as it offered important evidence of Webern・s faith in order and logic.  Analysts start to see a clearer picture of the equal status of rows V prime, retrograde, inversion and retrograde-inversion, and of their interdependent relationship as a unity as Webern referred to the symmetrical Latin proverb:








.The sower controls the work.  The work controls the sower・ (Webern, 1967: 17).[14]


However, the cerebral image of Webern began fading when it was noticed that some of the sketches and row tables clearly show that his .amazing congruence were frequently the result of considerable trial and error・ (Bailey, 1995: 647).  From the observation of the row and its properties and how Webern systematically handled it, analysts are now able to recognise the grammar of his language and how it delivers a particular property.  They can also confirm the importance of the idea of .embryo・ (or the .Preformed・ according to Stravinsky・s translation) in Webern・s compositional procedure, which he uses to describe the content of his Variations for Orchestra, Op. 30.  Explaining the technical constructing to Willi Reich about the Variations, Webern writes:

Now everything that occurs in the piece is based on the two ideas given in the first and second bars (double bass and oboe!).  But it・s reduced still more, since the second shape (oboe) is itself retrograde; the second two notes are the cancrizan of the first two, but rhythmically augmented.  They are followed, on the trombone, by a repetition of the first shape (double-bass), but in diminution!  And in cancrizan as to motives and intervals.  That・s how my row is constructed V it・s contained in these thrice four notes.

But the succession of motives takes part in this cancrizan, though with the use of augmentation and diminution!K But through all possible displacements of the centre of gravity within the two shapes there・s forever something new in the way of time-signature, character, etc.  Simply compare the first repetition of the first shape with its first form (trombone or double-bass!)  And that・s how it goes on throughout the whole piece, whose twelve notes, that・s to say the row, contain its entire content in embryo!  In miniature! (Webern, 1975: 62)[15]


Stravinsky probably was the first to realise the crucial position of the .embryo・ which he translated as .Preformed・:

The term .Preformed・, which Webern uses in his comments on the orchestral Variations, is the most important clue to his influence on further developments in musical composition and theory (Moldenhauer & Irvine, 1966: 13).  


This has allowed Webern scholarship to progress a further step; the development of his twelve-note composition is examined as a whole (rather fragmental segments) and compared with traditional models. 


Bailey・s analysis


Kathryn Bailey・s monograph The Twelve-note Music of Anton Webern (1991), with its subtitle .Old forms in a new language・, is a direct response to the new source materials.  In this, she corroborates Webern・s view that new language has an old basis; traditional principles and elements are transformed and presented in his writing.  Through her careful investigation of Webern・s treatment of rows, Bailey brings into vision a humane substance of Webern V a composer who puts his faith in the equalisation of rows yet .secretly・ has his own preference of rows, whose hyperperfectionism in music is not, as it were, miraculous but a result of trial and error.  Bailey indeed has great esteem for Webern, but not in the sense that he has a cerebral mind, produces complex composition and can foresee the music of future.  Rather, it is the essentially traditional aspect of Webern・s twelve-note music that Bailey wishes to celebrate.  She states that her understanding is .not indifferent to Webern・s originality・: .I consider his reinterpretation of familiar formal structures to have been one of his most significant contributions to the history of atonal music・ (Bailey, 1991: 3).  But Bailey・s assertion that Webern was not a revolutionary but a loyalist to traditional formal principles V or more specific, to the German musical tradition V is not new.  As I mentioned previously, as early as in January 1946, just over three months after Webern・s tragic death, Stein already announced that Webern・s music was firmly rooted in tradition and Webern was .primarily a lyricist・ (Stein, 1946: 4).  In fact, despite the so-called .mainstream・ perspectives which regarded Webern・s work as .the threshold・ (Boulez, 1959: 40) to the music of future, .the fountainhead・ of new dimensions of music (Krenek, 1966: 107), the characteristic of Webern・s music has always been compared or associated with traditional musical paradigm.  Accounts of this kind are hardly difficult to find.  In his .Webern and the tradition of the symphony・, William Austin traces Webern・s compositional origin from a historical perspective.  By viewing the movements of the styles of symphony in music history and the tendency of Webern・s chamber works, Austin claims a place for Webern in the tradition, or at least does not to exclude him from the tradition:


Webern modifies our sense of the tradition, as any true part of a tradition must doK We need not put Webern alone at the very center of the tradition.  But we can see him as closer to the unknown center than to an extreme left wing.  Through his symphony flows a precious connection between Beethoven and many of our contemporaries (Austin, 1966: 85).


The sense of belonging to the tradition was embodied in Webern・s work, as well as in his personality.  In his .Anton von Webern, a Great Austrian・, Egon Wellesz observes Webern・s traditional inclination from a more nationalist point of view:


He was one of the last musicians of a great tradition V a great Austrian, and fully aware of this spiritual inheritance, like Rainer Maria Rilke and like his favorite poet Georg Trakl.  An Austrian, who knew all the obstacles, all the enmities, all the jealousies to which he was exposed by living and working in Vienna, but in spite of all that, carried on, saying .dennoch・ (.nevertheless・) (Wellesz, 1966: 110).


However, by demonstrating that Webern・s twelve-note works were dominated by three themes V .a loyalty to traditional formal principles・, .a particular affinity with the formal innovations of Beethoven・ and finally, .the desire for unity through synthesis, an end that occupied him to the point of obsession・ (Bailey, 1991: 332) V Bailey critically articulates Webern・s crucial view of unity as essential to comprehensibility.  Through comprehensibility, or, in Webern・s own description, .the highest law of all・ (Webern, 1975: 43),[16] Bailey explores an analogous transcendence between Webern・s structural use of row transpositions and the tonal system; she successfully establishes a vital connection between the core of Webern・s music and the centre of the European musical tradition.  Moreover, her comparison of row characteristics and matrices and the investigation of the predisposition of Webern・s twelve-note works provide further indication about Webern・s penchant of concealing the traditional content in his twelve-note compositions, which is a central cause of the listener・s difficulties.  Therefore, Bailey・s analysis should not be considered as merely an attempt to understanding Webern・s working habits, but perhaps as an effort of revealing a certain essential quality of Webern・s music.  And to an extent, she seems to have achieved that rather impressively.  Nevertheless, Bailey herself is aware of the imbalance of her analysis (Bailey, 1991: 334): in her approach she tended to overlook the historical or contextual points of view and highlight only one side of the idiosyncratic technical perspective.  Although her categorisation and elaboration of the properties of rows, pitch-class, rhythmic factors and so on, did display in depth of Webern・s highly skilful craftsmanship; she did not on the whole represent Webern・s own conceptions.  It hence provides few hints V or better, metaphors V to aid the listeners・ listening.  Concerning Webern・s view that to listen in depth, listeners .have to be able to cling to pictures and :moods; of some kind・ (Webern, 1975: 14)[17] and that his musical ideas are .the crystallizations of personal experiences・ (Moldenhauer, 1978: 190), Bailey・s studies of Webern・s serial music, like the impact of the analytical ethos, could easily obstruct the interaction between sound and listener.    

The accessibility of the source materials not only help the understandings of Webern・s enthusiasm for systematic order and logic but also reveal his fascination for nature and his inborn lyrical temperament; it stimulates insights into various dimensions of Webern・s work.  Many approaches to Webern・s atonal music have since been tried, some intensely analytical, others more descriptive or speculative; consequently, new or different emphasised aspects of Webern・s atonal music have been brought out.  Of the analytical approaches, the best known today is the octatonicism proposed by Allen Forte. 


Forte・s theory


From his early theoretical discourse of new techniques for the analysis of atonal music (Contemporary Tone-structures, 1955) to his striking investigation on pitch-class sets (The Structure of Atonal Music, 1973), and finally to his recent publication on Webern・s atonal music (The Atonal Music of Anton Webern, 1998), Forte has devoted himself to the methodology of the analysis of atonal music.  The set theory he introduced nearly three decades ago, which on the whole gave a positive meaning for atonality, drew attention immediately by its unconventional calculation demonstrated with clarity and consistency.  It opened a new domain for the analysis of atonal music; it was highly regarded by Webern scholars and appreciated as one of the standard approaches to Webern・s atonal music for decades after its publication.  Consequently, his approach became the basic of much subsequent Webern analysis; many Fortean analyses were produced during this period, by David Beach, Robert Hanson, Charles Burkhart, to name just a few.  Nevertheless, as time goes by and, more importantly, as new materials are able to provide more trusted clues for Webern・s compositional technique and thought, many of these scholars have become more reserved about their previous writings or gradually changed their views regarding the score-based analytical method.  Despite that, Forte has maintained the original direction of his methodology, although his recent writing shows a different focus (at least on the surface) from his early interest in the set-class complex.  Now, according to him, there is a particular constructed system underlining Webern・s atonal music before Op. 17 (excluding twelve-note music), which allows Webern .to create new music, while satisfying the innate, perhaps even genetic, sense of order・ (Forte, 1998: 3).  Such a system, claimed by Forte, is based on octatonic cycles.  

Forte・s devotion to drawing attention to this rarely performed repertoire V .an important and neglected body of music・ (Forte, 1998: back cover)[18] is remarkable.  His unique method, which is always presented in a clear and coherent style, streamlines the purposes of his analysis; it is surely a paradigm in the field.  Following the impulse of seeking common ground for octatonicism, Forte・s treatment V beginning from the early atonal works Opp. 3 and 4, through some posthumously published Dehmel Lieder of 1906-8, and finishing just before the arrival of the twelve-note method at the Latin Canons Op. 16 V is much more straightforward and down-to-earth.  This is particularly noticeable in his dealing with the vocal works.  Unlike some interpretations which are one-sided and overestimate the importance of the instrumental music, Forte in contrast balances the relationship between the text and the music with analytical details.  Although not necessarily omitting the lyrical meaning of the text, he concentrates on the acoustic features of the words (syllable, articulation, etc.) and their conjunction with the notes.  As a result, Forte presents a highly skilled (rather emotional) reading of Webern・s vocal repertoire. This attempt to undo the traditional profile of Webern・s songs is, according to one critic, .the best thing about this book・ (Perry, 2000: 1.5). 

Nevertheless, despite Forte・s statement that his book is written for all .scholars, performers, composers, students of twentieth-century culture, and others interested in bringing themselves closer to it [Webern・s atonal music]・ (Forte, 1998: xi) V it is doubtful that Forte・s theory would satisfy everyone; perhaps not even so-called formalist analysts or theorists.  The reasons behind this opinion can be reduced to two main points.  First, throughout his analysis one would probably find that what is most important V as far as Webern・s atonal music is concerned V is what Forte omits to mention.  As Jeffrey Perry puts it: .The problem is not hearing Forte・s connections, but rather suppressing the need to hear one・s own when they do not corroborate Forte・s octatonic networks・ (Perry, 2000: 5.3).  From the conventional modernist perspective, the aesthetic characteristic of a piece of music embodies its contextual background; in other words, it is to be created and experienced with reference to context.  In this way, every single piece has the right to claim its own individuality and reception.  Forte・s theory is unlikely to assist this thinking and may even conflict with it.  In fact, it seems that his octatonic theory is much more convincing when applied to the sum of Webern・s pre-twelve-note atonal music, rather to an individual piece.  The way Forte tackles each piece gives a strong impression that the priority of his theory is to prove the existence of octatonicism, not to trace the essence of the music.  In short, he is constructing a structure .of the theory, not of the music・ (Perry, 2000: 6.4).  This inevitably would make one suspect that Forte・s attempt had an audacious and provocative aim.  That is, in Perry・s words, to make .a strong relationist claim for this hitherto safely contextual repertoireK which he apparently hears more as a unified repertoire, than as a collection of unique, unruly compositions・ (Perry, 2000: 5.4).  Second, the big assumption Forte raises that Webern had constructed a different method between tonal and dodecaphonic technique V an octatonic cycle V which .enabled him to create new music, while satisfying the innate, perhaps even genetic, sense of order・ (Forte, 1998: 3) is not confirmed or concluded in a satisfactory analysis.  Every theory needs its axioms, of course.  For instance, the nature of Schenkerian analysis is based on an assumption that all music V at least all great music V is of value which could be approached through analysis (Cook, 1998: 95).  However, to become a theory, the axioms must survive after testing by objectivity or rationality.  In the case of Schenkerian analysis, the assumption that good music is of value is rationalised in the analysis, as it enables us to understand the music in a way we otherwise cannot do.  Moreover, this understanding may respond to our listening experience and deepen our reception of the music.  But Forte・s assumption does not stand up to a coherent logic in and of itself.  After numerous examples of .here, there and everywhere・ analysis, he provides neither a clear picture of how this system would function in the music (the aim of a structuralist・s analysis), nor a demonstration of how the music would .live and breathe・ in such a process (a goal of an organicist analysis).  In contrast, when a conflict occurs (between his .theory・ and the music), he would choose to interpret it as a special decision made by Webern under certain circumstances.  For instance, in the discussion of the fourth song .Ein Winterabend・ of the Four Songs for Voice and Instruments, Op. 13, Forte writes:


From the analytical standpoint, it would have been ever so much more satisfying had Webern ended the Celesta・s dyad in bar 10 on b or c flat¹K although of course I offered a motivic raison d・êtreK By embedding these micromotives strategically in new melodic configurations, Webern no doubt intended to increase the comprehensibility of his radically avant-garde music (Forte, 1998: 302).


Nevertheless, one imagines counter-arguments would arise here, noting Lydia Goehr・s comment about the incomplete nature of analysis:  


It would be mistaken to assume that the use of the analytic method is identical in every theory of musical works, just as it would be mistaken were I to suggest that its particular use could easily be extracted from any theoryK Not every use of a principle can be justified in each and every piece of writing; there are always presuppositions (Goehr, 1994: 69). 

One might even go on to quote Morris Weitz・s assertion that there is no equation of concept and object; the essence of an artwork is necessarily undefinable.  Therefore, the interpretations of an artwork are no way precise or complete, instead, they are .open concepts・ (Weitz, 1956: 27-35).


Further inquiry is necessary.  We shall start straight from another of Goehr・s sayings, that .there is something hidden in the method that forecloses the possibility of accounting satisfactorily for musical works・ (Goehr, 1994: 69).  The assumption of conventional analysis, that a concept could be equated with object, .to allow fixed (or closed) representations of the object to stand for the object・ (Samson, 1999: 43), has been exposed in recent years.  In her The Imaginary Museum of Musical Works (1992), Goehr introduces a critique of the notion of .work-concept・ in musical practice, which counters analytical interpretation of music.  It underscores the contextual forces of musical works and of discourses about the music.  She argues, .if the concept of a work has special historical and ideological origins, this fact and those origins should be made explicit・ (Goehr, 1994: 4).  She explains: 


The concept acquired this force as part and parcel of the emancipation of the musical world and the emergence of that world as one concerned with the production of fine art.  Historical inquiry reveals that no force for this concept would have been visible or effective had the concept not been delimited, articulated, and specified from every conceivable point of interest (Goehr, 1994: 176).   


Unquestionably, Goehr・s exposition of the need for history in the understanding of music instantly challenges the autonomous nature that so-called formalist analysis, including Forte・s set-theoretic approach, has claimed.  To escape Goehr・s criticism, Forte would need to draw a clear line of demarcation between the concept of his method and the properties of the music (in which, according to Goehr, its past and present are permanently interacted and displayed).  He has to make sure the aim of his analysis is not to explore the essence of Webern・s music, but to interpret a version of Webern・s technique.  Otherwise, the happy coincidences between the concept and the object he produces in his analysis would inescapably be categorised as a confusion of constitutive properties and essential properties; in Adorno・s terms, a .false clarity・ from ahistorical and scientific analysis (Goehr, 1994: 73-4).

     This query takes us back to review the initial motivation of Forte・s research; it started at the point when he asks: .What does Webern・s atonal music express?・ (Forte, 1998: 4)  A question like this seems straightforward, but perhaps things are not always what they seem.  Forte・s starting point discloses the presupposition that Webern・s atonal music does express something (otherwise he would have asked: .Does Webern・s atonal music express something?・).  Thus, one realises that despite Forte・s declaration that he is not pursuing .these philosophical questions・ (Forte, 1998: 4), his approach in fact is based on a philosophical fundamental, which primarily deals with the contemplation or judgement of music.  In this type of thinking, music is conceived in representing an objective form of beauty; the outer form of music is understood to embody some sort of inner content: an idea, expression or symbolism.  That is to say, Forte・s theory can by no means be disassociated from the understanding of music, which is a human activity of recognising the intrinsic value of music, which is in essence social and cultural.  There are, of course, other ways of thinking of music.  For example, music can be visualised as the forming of material, a musical activity of the constructive processes, or analogous to the manual shaping of spatial art.  The execution of composition and improvisation both belong to this category.  But that is not, for all practical purposes, what Forte・s work is about.  In music・s three distinct functions in our musical culture: conservation, communication and conception (Cook, 1998: 52), Forte・s approach obviously belongs to the last field, in which one is invariably involved with the conceptual and contextual attributes of music.  Although one does not need to become aware of them and to incorporate them, these qualities at all times engage in one・s empirical experience.  Even in an analytical study like Forte・s, in which he claims that his main concern .will be to draw the reader in toward a deeper aural and conceptual engagement with Webern・s extraordinary musical expressions・ (Forte, 1998: 4), the generic musical traditions and contextual elements are never absent.  It would be an overstatement to deny the validity of an analysis of the interrelationships of material and law that form the structure of a composition; yet, it would be equally narrow-minded to ignore the presence of contextual properties in the construction of a musical form, and to portray the craftsmanship of music as an autonomous and emotionally inaccessible activity.  The central paradox of Forte・s investigation is that, while he aims to discover the intrinsic value of Webern・s atonal music, he in fact finds his answer in an assumed methodological principle instead.  On the one hand, Forte argues that .technique and expression are inseparable・ (Forte, 1998: 4) and claims that writers on Webern .have often confused this issue, even in their simplistic metaphors・ (Forte, 1998: 4); on the other hand, he sets out to produce a thoroughly theoretical analysis of this .intricate repertoire・ and states that .as a music theorist, I offer no apologies for that・ (Forte, 1998: x). 

Forte・s professionalism in his efforts to rationalise Webern・s compositional processes is indisputable.  Nevertheless, it is hardly an exaggeration to suppose that his segmentation arguments V what Fink described as .if you can see it on the surface, it・s not there・ (Fink, 1999: 104) V is a threat to the essence of Webern・s atonal music.  For Forte is fundamentally neither a .structuralist・ nor an .organicist・ (Perry, 2000: 6.4), he is more a methodologist who formulates a framework not for the music itself but for a musical canon, which could twist Webern・s human, expressive and lyrical musical surface into a mechanical .notational concealment・ (Fink, 1999: 105).

Another important consequence of Webern studies since the availability of new sources is the reclaiming of lyricism in Webern・s music.  Webern・s image as a cerebral and detached master, and his music as the paradigm in its own kind for its .sparseness, severity, and control・ (Shreffler, 1994: 3) have been promoted in Webern scholarship for a long time.  Although the lyrical impression of Webern・s music was spotted since the early stage (Stein, Reich etc.) and was promoted by many anti-Darmstadt writers (Adorno and Rognoni etc.), the imbalance remains.  It was until the achievement of recent studies in the lyricism of Webern・s work, notably in Anne Shreffler's Webern and the Lyric Impulse (1994), that a more rounded picture of Webern V a humanist profile of Webern V has finally appeared. 


Shreffler's approach


Shreffler was one of the very first Webernian scholars who had access to the previously unavailable Webern materials.[19]  According to her, Webern・s vocal works (especially from op. 12 to op. 18) which Webern composed during an exploratory period of his compositional career, .provide a way to understand the consummate lyricism of all his music・ (Shreffler, 1994: vii).  She chose the Georg Trakl (1887-1914) setting (Op. 14) V the only cycle that was based on a single poet V to be her case study in which she traced carefully its origins and contextual background.  Although Shreffler・s investigation focuses merely on one single work, the outcome she achieves is significant and of unquestionable value.  The Trakl song cycle (six pieces in total) was written between 1915 and 1921, a period when the twelve-note method was not yet formally materialised and Webern was looking for a different direction from the radical brevity and extreme concentration in his previous instrumental works.  In other words, it was an experimental stage for Webern in that every piece he composed during this time was like a trial for him.  One imagines these are .naked・ compositions in the sense that they lay open Webern・s most intimate concerns and feelings, such that their properties reflect Webern・s thoughts in a crystal-clear way.  As Johnson puts it: .the interleaving of landscape, nature and the maternal provides a key to Webern・s notoriously .difficult・ works written between 1914 and 1926 (Johnson, 1999: 128).  Ironically, Webern・s works from this period, which seem to offer the best clues about his inborn lyrical character and his development of compositional method (between atonal and twelve-note technique), had previously not received the attention they deserved.  Shreffler hence earns respects firstly for her efforts in bringing this rarely discussed repertoire to light and drawing a different and probably more authentic image, compared to the cerebral one, .a more humanist Webern・, in her own words (Shreffler, 1994: 3).  But her achievement is surely greater than that. 

Shreffler starts her thesis by revealing that Webern・s lyric expression has been a victim of the anti-romantic agenda of the post-war serialists and of formalist analysts (particularly in America) of the sixties and seventies.  She confronts the issue that some scholars before her, such as Adorno and Rognoni, attempted to tackle but for which they did not receive great recognition at the time.  She confirms her presupposition through the original sources, to be considered seriously as first-hand or at least .as close to Webern・s original as possible・ (Shreffler, 1994: x).  The view she insists on that Webern is primarily a lyricist, which opposes conventional Webern reception, is supported by the source materials.  Her studies are undertaken from two angles, the origins and the contextual background, and the process is developed into four stages.  Firstly, in tracing the contextual links of Webern・s adoption of Trakl・s poetry, she highlights a parallel between the two artists・ lyrical qualities, and outlines a wider vision of the Austrian culture and intellectual climate they shared in their artistic creations.  Secondly, she concentrates on the development of Webern・s writing method, from both technical and conceptual points of view: firstly to observe the general procedure of the period of 1915-21, then focusing on the compositional process of the Op. 14.  The comprehensive chronicle of Webern・s writing procedure that Shreffler produces here, is one of the best parts of her contribution to Webern scholarship.  Following that, she examines the relationship between the Trakl fragments and Webern・s motivic technique.  Here, Shreffler shows a clear picture of how Webern conceived Trakl・s fragments as forces to help him break away from the aphoristic style.  But there are also two bonuses she offers.  According to Shreffler, Webern・s Trakl settings are results of Webern・s numerous experiments with the repetition of musical patterns in succession, especially ostinato.  Furthermore, the ostinatos Webern uses in the Trakl settings are different from his atonal ostinato technique; instead, as Shreffler points out, they look back .to the tonal transition that occurred around 1908-9・ (Shreffler, 1994: 111).  As far as Webern・s compositional method is concerned, this is a turning point.  Ostinatos inspired Webern to progress his writing into a more contrapuntal style and to be more aware of the coherence and tension in the aural effect.  This shows at least two significant points.  First, although never afraid of trying out new methods or new languages, Webern is at heart a traditionalist.  The traditional techniques seldom let him down; he had benefited much from them in the past.  The conventional ostinato he exercised during the transitional period between tonal and atonal techniques had proved productive.  It is therefore only natural for Webern to return to the traditional technique again; one imagines that in his mind, Webern knew his return was only temporary, as he was there to experiment.  Second, as Webern did succeed in transforming the traditional approach through atonality and finally landed in twelve-note technique, it confirms that the latter V the language for the new music, so to speak V is not a totally radical or revolutionary invention.  In the final part of her thesis, Shreffler summarises Op. 14 by tracing the feature of each song and examining the intimate and continual interaction between the texts and the music.  And again, she was able to demonstrate her points through her observation of the sketches.  The Trakl song cycle has often been regarded as a one of the most difficult works by Webern, not only for performance but also perception.  Webern himself admitted this when he wrote to Josef Humplik: .My Trakl songs are pretty well the most difficult there are of this type・ (Shreffler, 1994: 237).  But the cause for the .difficulty・ was never properly justified until Shreffler・s investigation in which she explores the essential feature of this work and also of Webern・s atonal language.  She writes:


The music・s complex atonal language is played out in a contrapuntal texture, which results in a correspondingly dense network of motivic connectionsK Webern・s Trakl songs Op. 14, which form a kind of summa of his atonal techniques, are remarkably thorny for a composer who was later to stress so much the importance of Fasslichkeit (comprehensibility) (Shreffler, 1994: 237).


Shreffler・s emphasis on the lyricism of Webern・s music, both in her book and elsewhere, is surely noteworthy.  Lyricism receives increasing support and various responses from many Webern scholars including Bailey, who devoted herself in the studies of Webern・s twelve-note music and now draws attention to this issue:


One of the most important outcomes of our getting to know Webern firsthand is the realisation that he was perhaps first and foremost a lyricist・ (Bailey, 1996: xvi).


In his .Webern・s Lyric Character・, Christopher Wintle also joins the argument and questions how this obvious aspect of Webern・s temperament could possibly have been neglected (Wintle, 1996: 229-63).  Stein・s obituary of Webern is cited by Wintle, as well as by Bailey.  Stein・s view of Webern as primarily a lyricist has hence become a paradigm of the description of Webern・s lyrical trait:  


Ecstasy was his natural state of mind; his compositions should be understood as musical visions.  Webern imagined a music of ethereal soundsK The timbre changes perpetually, like colours and shapes in a kaleidoscopeK The lyric quality of his music distinguishes Webern from SchoenbergK Schoenberg covers a far wider field, while Webern thoroughly explores a corner of it・ (Stein, 1946: 14).


But in actual fact, far before Stein・s writing and back to the time when Webern was still alive, a .more humanist Webern・ (to borrow Shreffler・s term) was already noticed in an article called .Anton von Webern・:


The idea informing Webern・s music is his absolute lyricism: the attempt to resolve all musical materiality, all the objective elements of musical form, into the pure sonority of the subject, without an alien remainder that refuses to be assimilated.  As a composer, Webern never departed from this idea, whether consciously or not (Adorno, 1999a: 92-3).


The essay was first printed in Vossische Zeitung in 1933, and the name of the author was Theodor W. Adorno. 


Adorno on Webern


Although a trained musician himself V he studied with Alban Berg and Eduard Steuermann (Paddison, 1997: 4-6) V Adorno・s significance was primarily as a philosopher and foremost thinker of twentieth-century modernism.  His view that in the so-called Second Viennese School, Webern .is the only one to propound musical expressionism in its strictest sense, carrying it to such a point that it reverts of its own weight to a new objectivity・ (Paddison, 1997: 51) reveals an innovative characteristic of Webern・s music.  As a member of the Frankfurt School, Adorno inherits the socialist inclination of Marxism; his aesthetics are based on a critical and negative attitude towards society and is often termed .a critical theory of society・, .negative dialectic・ or, as Adorno himself described it V .metacritique・ (Jarvis, 1998: 154).  Unlike the role of art as a means of cultural expression or a platform of social function as in Marxist thinking, Adorno sees the form of art as itself a social and cultural product. 

The issue of .content and form as two poles・, which was fervently debated in twentieth-century formalism, is observed differently by a dialectical Adornian mind.  The meaning of the so-called .content・ of a work of art is by no means external but rather a subjective expression, which is realised objectively in the material structure of the art work V what Adorno calls the process of .subject-objectification・ or of .internalizing・ (Paddison, 1997: 224-9).  Thus, while a work of art participates intensively in social praxis and culture, it is at the same time autonomous and alienated from society, which enables it to read social reality critically and objectively.  The constant contradiction between the rationality of art and its mediation in relation to society is crucial in Adorno.  Max Paddison justifies Adorno・s thesis of the dual character of the musical material: .It is founded on an underlying concept of mediation which identifies the rationalization process of empirical reality itself as that which is internalized and sublimated in works of art・ (Paddison, 1997: 224).  There is a unique prototype in Adorno・s logic which provides a negotiating but also compromising base for the conflict within an artistic construction.  .In internalizing the rationality of the external world to an extreme degree, the art work sets up resistance to it and at the same time goes beyond it・ (Paddison, 1997: 141).  Through such a tension, or, in Adorno・s terminology .the rupture between self and forms・, Adorno discovers that .the greatest example of the tension between these two poles is to be found in the works of Webern・ (Adorno, 1992: 266). 

According to Adorno, Webern is at the vanguard of his generation in terms of expressionism (even more so than Schoenberg).  He liberates musical materials and their conventional ways of development. Traditional music structure is deconstructed into fragmentation and atonality which is nothing like tonality (the latter is systematically restricted), but free to express the innermost feelings of one・s self.  Adorno wrote:  


Like almost no other, Webern・s music corresponds to the demands of expressionism.  Without permitting the question of its valid objectivity, it is satisfied with the pure presentation of the subjective which cannot be divorced from musical material (Adorno, 1926; quoted in Wildgans, 1966: 166-167; Crawford and Crawford, 1993: 295).


Adorno・s highly symbolic language is complex to comprehend, as the thinker allows the complexity and contradiction of his material to enter his dialectical argument (i.e. he does not try to resolve contradictions or opinions).  And although few specific technical or musical points are individually examined V so, strictly speaking, Adorno・s theory is not to be labelled as so-called .music analysis・ V Adorno・s writing always keeps faith with the intrinsic value of music and impressively justifies the characteristic of Webern・s work. 

According to Adorno, the subjectivity of music is neither that of a personal mind, nor can it be realised by an individual; rather, it is a social process.  As Robert Witkin puts it:

Adorno does not identify the subjectivity in art with the empirical persona of the artist, with the psychological individual.  He does not see art or music as a painting of the individual・s emotions (Witkin, 1999: 129). 

The key point of Adorno・s concept of subjectivity is revealed in his writing on Berg:


The subjectivity at work in art is not the adventitious empirical individual, not the composer.  His technical forces of production are the immanent function of the material; only by following the latter・s lead does he gain any power over it.  By means of such a process of exteriorisation, however, it [subjectivity] receives back a universality which goes back beyond the individuation of the particular producer.  Valid labour on the work of art is always social labour (Witkin, 1999: 129).


It is along these lines that Adorno defines the universality of a work of art (even a claimed personal programmatic composition or a so-called individual work): .it is a We that speaks and not an I・ declares Adorno.  .Music says We directly, regardless of its intentions・ (Adorno, 1999: 167).  Accordingly, in listening to a piece of music, egoistic desire or personal indulgence should be excluded and cultural/historical meaning or social consciousness engaged, for otherwise it would not qualify as serious listening.  .Our・ active roles as receptors and contributors would not only bring off the subject expressivity out of its objective form, but also dissolve the two into a unit (an intra-subjective objectification, so to speak).  The entire process (including the listener・s participation) is, in Adorno・s view, a social practice which reflects reality and morality. 


Julian Johnson・s interpretation


More recently, a different approach to Webern・s music was introduced by Julian Johnson in his Webern and the Transformation of Nature (1999).  Like many Webern writers on lyricism or expressionism, Johnson・s thesis challenges the formalist position.  Unlike others who establish their theories mainly on the ground of Webern・s music or Webern・s artistic inclination, Johnson builds his from a broader milieu.  He argues that the essence of music, or .abstraction・ as he puts it (Johnson, 1999: 10-2), can be fully comprehended only when related to its contextual background.  Although Webern・s passion for nature is widely discussed and Johnson has adopted the term .nature・ in the title of his book, his thesis is by no means about nature or any relations (existing or potential) that Webern・s music might have with nature.  .It would be naïve to propose a direct connection between the kind of events recorded in the margins of the sketchbooks and the musical sketches themselves: we know the nature of artworks and their relation to material life to be more complex・ (Johnson, 1999: 4).

Johnson is certainly aware of the significant role of nature in Webern・s mind and his artistic creativity; he is also in agreement with the view that there are parallels and connections between Webern・s music and nature.  However, none of these is the real concern in his approach.  He points out that the links between Webern・s music and nature are too often discussed superficially.  Through various kinds of musical association: texts, letters, diaries, or even some photos (in which Webern was probably hiking somewhere in the Alps), the vision of nature is mistakenly portrayed in Webern・s music as something musical or part of the music.  This approach as such would inevitably present the music as programme music.  And this is not at all what his treatise is about, as he explains: 


It is fundamentally neither about nature itself nor about any potential relation that music may have to it.  Rather, it is about the way in which a society constructs an idea of nature and the role that art, and specifically music, may have in the articulation of that idea (Johnson, 1999: inside cover).


Arguably embracing an Adornian tendency, the core of Johnson・s study is about the .mutual interaction of structure and expression・ (Johnson, 1999: 11).  Although Johnson reluctantly adopted the conventional terms, musical and extra-musical, the former refers to .the realm of musical notation and sound prior to audition・, and the latter refers to .any intellectual activity occasioned by the musical over and above merely formal, abstract relations・ (Johnson, 1999: 10).  At the same time, he stresses that the two are inseparable and a distinction between them is not meaningful, because .any meaningful discussion of music as music has to address this twofold presence・ (Johnson, 1999: 10).  Music (or .musical topic・, .abstraction・ as he sometimes says) is at once autonomous and a social activity as well.  For example, the extra-musical elements of the third piece of the Op. 10 .Return・, either in the narrower sense of Webern・s personal memory of his mother or in the wider sense of the image of the Virgin Mary, are organically constructed and correspond with musical factors.  Consequently, this maternal imagery content, a .would-be・ referential subject of the work, so to speak, which could be traced from its programmatic title and other historical evidence relating to the piece, is transformed into a purely musical topic by means of musical language.  Such a musical abstraction, which could be comprehended through hearing or performing, is on the one hand autonomous but on the other hand referential, regarding its social association.  Johnson clarifies this inseparability between the musical and the extra-musical, in terms of .signifier・ and .signified・:            


In music, any notion of a signified is not separable from the signifier.  So when the technical, musical component of the topic (the signifier) begins to shift, so too does the extra-musical idea which it references (the signified).  In short, the transformation of technical means by which the idea of nature is referenced in music (as in painting or literature) implies a corresponding transformation in that idea of nature itself (Johnson, 1999: 11).


However, an important question for Johnson is what relationship the abstraction of Webern・s music has to its listener who could come from various kinds of background.  In other words, while the correspondence between the abstraction in music and its historical, cultural and social surroundings is emphasised, the correlation between the very same abstraction and its receiver during the listening or performing process is left undisclosed.  Thus, perhaps the challenge for us of Johnson・s interpretation is that it is little concerned about how different such a .meaningful・ musical abstraction could be when it is recognised by diverse understandings V at individual, local or universal levels.  Johnson・s study is not the result of the discovery of the new documents; perhaps it is more to do with the demand from the .new・ musicology (different from the method that has been generally adapted since Guido Adler) that the scope of the traditional musicology needs to be broadened in order to see (and hear) more and wider phenomena of music.  It is a new way of looking into the old facts, or, to borrow Cook・s term, .reconstructing our image of the past・ (Cook, 1999a: 33).  That is, to be able to talk about not only .music itself ・, but .all the cultural baggage that comes with the idea of the music itself ・ (Cook, 1999a: 33), which the long-established approach of textual reading cannot achieve.  In a sense, Johnson・s thinking fundamentally inherits the conventional Western notion of regarding music as an object V a concept that Bohlman challenges in proclaiming the idea of .multiple ontologies of music・ (Bohlman, 1999: 17).  According to Bohlman, music・s ontologies can only be demonstrated by means of musical practices and the nature of their outcome would depend on the participant.  He declares:


The ontologies that I consider here, then, are not those of philosophers, aestheticians, or musicologists, but rather those of individual practitioners of music.  Music・s ontologies are not, it follows, separable from the practice of music.  Quite the contrary, they can be instantiated only through musical practices, for they do not result from abstract categories, that some individuals think about, but others do not (Bohlman, 1999: 19).


Clearly, when the listener・s active participation is regarded as vital to the completion of Webern・s music, how the essence of Webern・s music is perceived by the listeners from different culture backgrounds surely needs to be answered.

                    The second half of the twentieth century witnesses the development of Webern・s reception which began in a post-war .things to be changed・ attitude, although, to an extent, Webern・s tragic death also drew much attention to his work.  The lyrical quality in Webern・s music was noticed by some early writers (e.g. Adorno, Stein) but was overlooked by the Darmstadt school, whose radical reading had in many ways encouraged the Webern idolatry and the formalist readings of Webern・s music.  For three decades, Webern studies were characterised by two practices: the biographical-based monograph in which Webern・s biographical background was of prime consideration and the score-based analysis in which the compositional rationale appears in the score dominated the interpretation.  It was not until the mid-eighties when a considerable amount of sketches and some source materials became available, fresh insights into Webern・s music and thoughts started to emerge: the long-term neglected lyricism is restored by Bailey, Shreffler and others, the octatonic theory is promoted by Forte and the broader sociocultural and musical connection is advocated by Johnson. 

                    Today, Webern studies are flourishing.  It is therefore fair for Bailey to announce:


After half a century, research into the three hours of music written by Webern, far from being exhausted, is entering a new and more informed phase, which should be characterised by increased perspective.  At last perhaps Anton Webern is coming of age (Bailey, 1995: 648).




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XX :A Personal Preface;, The Score, vol. 20 (1957), 7-13.

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Fink, Robert. :Going Flat: Post-Hierarchical Music Theory and the Musical Surface;, Rethinking Music. Edited by Nicholas Cook and Mark Everist. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press, 1999, 102-137.

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XX :Aspects of rhythm in Webern・s atonal music;, Music Theory Spectrum, no. 2, 1980, 90-109.

XX :A major Webern revision and its implications for analysis;, Perspectives of Music. 28/1 (1990): 224-255.

XX  .The golden thread: octatonic music in Anton Webern・s early songs, with certain historical reflections・, Webern Studies edited by Kathryn Bailey, Cambridge, New York and Melbourne: Cambridge University Press, 1996: 74-110.

XX The Atonal Music of Anton Webern. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1998..

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[1] See Neil Boynton・s .A Webern Bibliography・ in Webern Studies (Bailey, 1996: 298-362) for a comprehensive collection of writings on Webern.

[2] Born in 1891, Hildegard Jone was a poet and painter whom Webern met in 1926 and regarded as a soul mate.

[3] .Jede Kunst ist von dem Leben her, aus dem sie kommt, zu verstehen・ (Webern, 1959: 70).

[4] .Was in Anton Weberns Musik ausgedrückt ist, ist nicht mehr Schilderung V sondern eindringliche Strahlkraft des Herzens・ (Webern, 1959: 70).

[5] The Death of Anton Webern by Hans Maldenhauer was published in 1961. The case was re-investigated by David Schroeder in his .Not proven・ (MT, June 1996: 21-3).

[6] Kathryn Bailey・s description of the first stage of Webern・s post-war reception (Bailey, 1995: 648).

[7] Collected as .PossiblyK・ in Stocktakings: From an Apprenticeship (1991: 111-140).

[8] This idea was partially reused in .Tendances de la musique récente・ in La Revue musicale, no. 236, 1957.

[9] .Das Ohr wurde allmählich vertraut mit diesen Zusammenklängen, die zuerst nur vorsichtig im Durchgang oder mit Vorbereitung vorkamen, und so wurden schließlich alle diese Akkorde als natürlich und angenehm empfunden・ (Webern, 1960: 40).

[10] .Wenn das ungeschulte Ohr den Ablauf der Reihe nicht immer verfolgen kann, so schadet das nichts V in der Tonalität wurde der Zusammenhang auch meistens nur unbewußt gefühlt・ (Webern, 1960: 57).

[11] I adopt Bailey・s suggestion that a third stage of Webern scholarship began in 1986 (Bailey, 1995: 646-7).  However, it should be pointed out here that the process of Webern・s unexposed sketches becoming available was a long-term effort.  It was during 1984-5 and then in 1988, the Library of Congress, the Stadt- und Landesbibliothek in Vienna, and most importantly the Paul Sacher Stiftung in Basel, acquired most of Moldenhauer・s Webern archive and made the materials accessible to the public (Shreffler, 1994: viii; Bailey, 1995: 646).   

[12] A request from Bailey in 1971 for examining the material of Op. 30 had received a negative reply from Moldenhauer as he said that .everything was packed into unmarked crates stored in a warehouse and impossible to get at・ (Bailey, 1995: 649).

[13] .Ein :Thema; ist die Zwölftonreihe im allgemeinen nicht・ (Webern, 1960: 59).

[14] .Es hält der Sämann die Werke. Es hält die Werke der Sämann・ (Webern, 1959: 17).

[15] .Alles nun, was in dem Stück vorkommt, beruht auf den beiden Gedanken, die mit dem ersten und zweiten Takt gegeben sind (Kontrabaß und Oboe!) Aber es reduziert sich nocn mehr, denn die zweite Gestalt (Oboe) ist schon in sich rückläufig: die zweiten zwei Töne sind der Krebs der ersten zwei, rhythmisch aber in Augmentation. Ihr folgt, in der Posaune, schon wieder die erste Gestalt (Kontrabaß), aber in Diminution! Und im Krebs der Motive und Intervalle. So nämlich ist meine Reihe gebaut, die mit diesen dreimal vier Tönen gegeben ist. Aber der motivische Ablauf macht diesen Krebsgang mit, jedoch unter Benützung von Augmentation und Diminution!K Aber durch alle mögliche Verlegung des Schwerpunktes innerhalb der beiden Gestalten entsteht immer was Neues in Taktart, Charakter usw. V Vergleichen Sie nur die erste Wiederholung der ersten Gestalt mit deren erster Form (Posaune bzw. Kontrabaß)! Und so geht・s durch das ganze Stück, für das mit den ersten zwölf Tönen, also mit der Reihe, alles an Inhalt im Keim schon da ist! Vorgebildet ist !!!・ (Webern, 1959: 67).

[16] .Die Faßlichkeit ist überhaupt das oberste Gesetz・ (Webern, 1960: 46).

[17] .Sie muß sich anscheinend an irgendwelche Bilder und :Stimmungen; halten können・ (1960: 15).

[18] Written by Kathryn Bailey.

[19] .I was extremely fortunate to have had access to the sources; this would have been nearly impossible for anyone working earlier than I・ (Shreffler, 1994: vii-viii).



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