Alban Berg's Truth


In the past, when different interdisciplinary exchanges were seen, music played an important role in the sustainability of myths, as well as culture, like novels. Some were telling the story directly, some were explaining the musical enthusiasm of the heritage with its rules, and some were coding their messages under the leadership of the stories. Those who encode their messages based on stories Levi-Strauss was included in the classification of legendary musicians. Legendary musicians were completing the journey time according to some rules in order to reach the destination and to encode the message they wanted to give. Alban Berg We can talk about him as a legendary musician inspired by imaginary stories and then as one of the real legends of his time. So much so that his teacher, Schoenberg, expressed the following words:When he came to me in 1904, he was a very tall and extremely shy young man. But when I saw the compositions he showed me - songs in the style of Hugo Wolf and Brahms - I immediately knew he had a real talent. “

II. Alban Berg, considered one of the main composers of the Vienna School, was also a student of Webern. These two modernist composers, who had worked with Schoenberg, also turned to twelve-tone music. But in Berg's work, he was little more than Webern's simplicity. He thought that emotions and knowledge in music were in a composite holism. “Music is the product of emotion and knowledge at the same time, so being a student, composer and performer requires not only talent and enthusiasm, but also knowledge and perception, which is the result of long-term study and thinking.”  Although the features he mentioned are the points that we think most composers follow, Berg's discourse was beyond this. His knowledge and perception formed the characteristic feature of his works. This supported the understanding of Berg's works not only as a matter of historical style but as a product of these characteristics.

Alban Berg, known for his meticulous and slow work, was shaping music itself into a metaphor of extinction in his works, and he turned to the idea of ​​saying goodbye to life with music. Some of the features in his works, such as "complicity with death", "a gentle sincerity towards self-exhaustion" were characteristic of his music. For example, the Lyric Suit for the string quartet, one of Berg's most advanced works, which Benjamin Britten also appreciated, ended without any closure. It was open-ended and did not have a gauge line at the very end of the piece; it could only be repeated several times by the violas until it was completely inaudible according to the direction of the conductor's will. This was a tremendous demonstration of how the extinction metaphor worked, considering every aspect of it.

Berg's knowledge and perception as a result of his studies and thoughts brought to mind the synesthetic painter Kandinsky, who could perceive the senses together. Along with Kandinsky, it was possible to talk about a connection between Berg's music and Oskar Kokoschka, an Austrian painter, architect, poet and playwright. Coming from a cultured family, Berg was also friends with the leading artists of Vienna; Kokoschka was one of them. In Berg's works, which were inspired by the spirit of Expressionism, there was a situation where the dramatic and musical features were first over-glorified and then dissolved into purity. Just as the thick color fields in many of Kokoschka's paintings represent the complexity and intense emotions in his soul and enable him to transfer things as they are in his mind, rather than as they appear, Berg's use of serialism in a more freely composed work, as in his Violin Concerto, was a common denominator.

Expressionism with Alban Berg and even with World War II. His identification with the Viennese School composers was far from accidental. As in the expressionist painting, the same historical period was followed, and the attitudes and purpose towards pre-existing currents and ideas became one. Contrary to popular belief, these innovative initiatives, which drew reactions at first, were not to move away from realism and idealism and to break away from unity, but to reach the "real" in it by concentrating on subjective feelings.


A., Gimbel,. 1999. Notes, Second Series, Vol. 55, no. 3, p. 622–624. 

B., R., Simms, 1996. Alban Berg: A Guide to Research. Garland Publishing, p. 226.

T., W., Adorno, 1997. Alban Berg. Master of the Smallest Link. Cambridge University Press, p. 1-7.

Z., G., Özkisi, 2017. Expressionism and Music: The Second Half of the 20th Century. “New Music” Approach and Musical Modernism Developed Around the Vienna School. Journal of Sociology, 37, 143-156.


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