heather harper

heather harper

Anton Webern - Four Songs, Op. 12

3w ago
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Four Songs for voice & piano, Op. 12 (1915-1917) I. Der Tag ist vergangen (Volkslied) -- Sehr ruhig II. Die geheimnisvolle Flöte (Li Tai Po/Bethge) -- Langsam III. Schien mir's als ich sah die Sonne (aus August Strindbergs "Gespenstersonate") -- Ruhig fliessend IV. Gleich und gleich (Goethe) -- Sehr fliessend Heather Harper, soprano Charles Rosen, piano Webern's Op. 12 songs (1915 - 17) were written during a particularly unproductive period for the composer, partly a result of World War I and partly a result of his involvement with the Society for Private Musical Performance. The songs, which have been described as "tuneful," indeed display a certain Viennese lightness and a Schubertian character, and strongly evoke the tradition of the nineteenth-century lied. The texts are heterogeneous. The first is adapted from a folk song, while the remaining three are by Li-Tai-Po, Strindberg, and Goethe, respectively. Atypically for Webern, the songs are marked by long legato lines, conjunct motion, and a strong relationship between the melodies and the supporting harmonies. As is true of Schoenberg, Webern was faced at this time with the problem of form in atonal music. His solution was to turn to texts to provide structure; accordingly, each song in Op. 12 depends on its text for both its character and its musical structure. Interestingly, Webern's next work, also a set of songs, was composed in a more expansive vein, one that has been characterized as regressive. [allmusic.com] Art by Peter Doig