The Catholic University of America

Music of the Second Viennese School

Dr. Robert Baker

 

In this seminar we will engage in detailed analyses of selected works from the free-atonal and serial music of Arnold Schönberg, Anton Webern, and Alban Berg, whose music forms the core repertoire of the Second Viennese School. In support of our analyses, regular readings will be assigned from theoretical articles and texts by such writers as Kathryn Bailey, Reginald Smith Brindle, David Headlam, George Perle, Josef Rufer, and Joseph Straus; selections from Schönberg’s collected essays and letters will also be included.

 

After an introductory unit on post-tonal analytical techniques, weekly music-theoretical readings and analyses will serve to generate discussions and inform large in-class analyses. Students will be required to select a research topic related to the course (a particular piece from a given list or, with approval, one of their own choosing) and develop their analyses into a music-theoretical presentation and ultimately an analytical term paper. Topics need not be confined to the three composers mentioned above; rather, they may extend to other composers whose works in some way owe their theoretical organization to the Second Viennese School. To this end, attention will be given to such composers as Milton Babbitt, Pierre Boulez, Luigi Dallapiccola, Luigi Nono, and Karlheinz Stockhausen, whose work can be understood in many ways as direct proliferations or extensions of the Second Viennese School.

 

Although not required, students will be encouraged to offer informal in-class performances of works studied (or portions thereof) in order to provide closer personal connections and aural relationships with the repertoire.

 

 

 

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