Anton Webern

Along with his teacher, Arnold Schönberg, and Alban Berg, Anton Webern (born on December 12th 1883 in Vienna) formed the so-called "Second Viennese School", which made a major contribution to the development of modern music in the 20th century. Like Berg's music, his was also declared "degenerate" by the Nazis, and when Hitler's thugs marched into Austria, Webern was deprived of all means of support. The characteristic element of Webern's style is the extreme compactness of the musical language for expressive gestures. This reduction of music led him to compose orchestral works of the utmost brevity and conciseness - some of his works last no longer than 25 seconds, and his entire ?uvre fits easily onto three CDs. His rather aphoristic style served as a role model primarily for the serial compositions of the 1950s and 60s. Perhaps Webern's most clearly discernible influence can be found in the work of György Kurtág. Webern died on September 15, 1945 in Mittersill, shortly after the end of the war, when he was accidentally shot by an American soldier.