Friday, December 3, 2010

Anton Webern - December 3, 1883 – September 15, 1945

Anton Webern ... where did I ever run across him? ... I'm drawn to him because I'm drawn to tragedy like a moth is drawn to flame.  I listen to his compositions (always short, usually under ten minutes) on YouTube.  Schoenberg said of Webern, who was his disciple, "Think of the concision which expression in such brief form demands.  Every glance is a poem, every sigh a novel."

Webern lived in Vienna.  Though Catholic he was suspected of Jewishness and was required to prove that his blood was pure Aryan.  Still he was a supporter of the Nazi party, perhaps hoping this would keep him and his family safe; he certainly was not an anti-Semite.  Then, because his compositions were avante garde, Webern was deemed to be a degenerate artist; he was sacked from his conducting job.  His one son, a soldier, was killed on the Eastern front.  Some seven months later, the war over, Anton Webern, despite a curfew, stepped outside his home to smoke a cigar.  In a careless situation of mistaken identity, Webern was shot dead by an American soldier whose unit was investigating a case of black marketing.

It is reported that the soldier who shot Webern lived every moment afterwards with deep remorse; tragedy begetting tragedy, he died some ten years later from the effects of alcoholism. 

I've read that Webern, with his wife, is buried in the Mittsersill Kirchhof Cemetery in Mittersill, Austria, but am unable to find a picture of his stone.

1 comment:

  1. Hi George. I have the pic that you need. Email me at