Frank Corcoran writes from his Italian composer’s hide-out now, his Sacred Bunker :
1984 I wrote for NDR KULTUR Hamburg my big radio-analysis of Alban Berg’s 4 ALTENBERGER
” DER UNBEKANNTE BERG “.
Yes, young Berg’s for us still today gob-startling , – smacking Opus 4, his orchestral chuzpa , his flair and his, well, compositional impudence .
His courage, moral and musical, did of course upset Viennese apple-carts
( including his beloved teacher, Arnold Schoenberg… ). They are fresh today still with their dizzing daring; Berg’s high-trapeze soprano act with the text, those 5 aphorisms
by the Austrian, then scandalous, author , Peter Altenberg .
Berg risked all.
It was worth it.
Of course the vast orchestra is late Late-Romantic.
Of course he juggles twelve tones .
Of course his treatment of the melodic line and the orchestral forces bundles up all we heard from the outgoing Central European musical tradition…
What did I learn from young Alban Berg’s extraordinary score?
Extend my instrumental limits!
Make the twelve tones melodic, human, beautiful!
Keep up a young Irish composer’s COURAGE in a turgid sea of indifferent banalities,
idiots and vicious, ignorant commerce…