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Composers comment on the music of others – Lectures by Ulrich Mosch and Angela Ida De Benedictis

Fri 11 August 2023, 10.00 – 13.00

Lichtenbergschule (Mensa)

Ulrich Mosch: The 1950s View on Anton Webern

When composers comment on the music of their colleagues or on the work of visual artists, they also, and perhaps above all, speak about themselves. Accordingly, the comments can be read as sources about their own musical thinking. Anton Webern’s music, especially his twelve-tone compositions, was the subject of many commentaries in the 1950s and early 1960s. His work became a projection screen for very different ideas: Every composer found his Webern in it. To put it pointedly: Stravinsky speaks about a different Webern than Stockhausen, Boulez about a different one than Michel Fano, Henri Pousseur or Luigi Nono. A critical reading leads to a kaleidoscope of Webern images, so that at some point one might ask: And where does that leave Webern?

Angela Ida De Benedictis: “Looking for Self in Others”: Composers Analysing the Music of Others in the 1950s-60s

In his well-known Harvard Lectures, Luciano Berio emphasized that a composer’s most important analytical tool is his own poetics. For a composer, talking about the works of others is always and independently of the categories and criteria used for analysis, “a process of self-analysis”: “One inevitably projects oneself and one’s own poetics into the analysis of a work.” From this perspective, selected analyses from the 1950s written by composers such as Karlheinz Stockhausen, Pierre Boulez, Luigi Nono, or Berio himself will be re-read and related to each composer’s own compositional development of those years.