Dissertation Index

Author: Essl, Karlheinz

Title: Das Synthese-Denken bei Anton Webern. Studien zur Musikauffassung des spaeten Webern unter besonderen Beruecksichtigung seiner eigenen Analysen zu op. 28 und op. 30. ("Anton Webern's idea of synthesis". Studies on the musical thinking of the late Webern c

Institution: University of Vienna

Begun: July 1985

Completed: May 1989


In this dissertation I tried to investigate the very score of the compositional thinking of the late Webern, whose goal was to achieve a synthesis between "horizontal" and "vertical" representation ("Darstellung") of musical thoughts. According to Webern, these are the elementary principles of musical composition which incarnate themselves in the sonata principle of Beethoven and in the fugue principle of J. S. Bach. In his late dodecaphonic work, Webern tried to achieve a new synthesis of these two topics, as he tried to demonstrate in his own analysis of the string quartet op. 28 and the orchestra variations op. 30. -- Weberns musical thinking was strongly influenced by Goethe's "Farbenlehre" and the "Urpflanze"; it is shown how Webern took quotations of Goethe's scriptures to legitimate his own goals. Also the evident relationship to August Halm's book "Von zwei Kulturen der Musik" (1913) and to the organism law of his teacher Guido Adler is discussed as well as Weberns relationship to musica l history. Thanks to the Paul-Sacher-Foundation (Basel, Switzerland) it was possible to include unpublished material from the Webern Estate.

Keywords: Webern, dodecaphony, Goethe, Halm, Leopold Spinner, sonata, fugue, op. 28, op. 30


Part I - Categories of Webern's musical thinking
1. Organism Law
2. Webern and Goethe's "Urpflanze"
3. "The synthesis between horizontal and vertical representation"
4. "Serial" and "traditional" reception of Webern
Part II - Webern and the musical tradition
1. Webern and Beethoven
2. Webern and Bach
3. Webern and the "Old Netherlands"
Part III - Webern analysis
1. Synthesis in op. 28/I
2. Synthesis in op. 28/III
3. Synthesis in op. 30

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