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BERG, ALBAN. - Alban Berg, Composer of 'Wozzeck' Comments on a Photograph
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BERG, ALBAN. - Alban Berg, Composer of 'Wozzeck' Comments on a Photograph

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BERG, ALBAN. (1885-1935). Austrian composer who, with his teacher Arnold Schoenberg and colleague Anton Webern, founded the Second Viennese School, characterized by atonality and a twelve-tone notational system. ALS. (“Alb Bg”). 2pp. 12mo. N.p., August 26, 1934. [To American composer ETHEL GLENN HIER (1889-1971)]. In German with translation.


“I think the photograph in front of me is very good and original, therefore I am returning only one to you.— I had recently written to Mr. Doughterty myself. *1 He therefore won’t be angry, if he receives one picture (that you can easily procure for him) without further comment.


*1 on the photograph of my likeness


Thank you, dear friend, also for your long letter with inserts! And now we want to wish you a safe crossing and nice and successful months in the USA…”


Berg began studying with Arnold Schoenberg in 1904 and composing songs and piano works in 1907. His String Quartet, Opus 3 premiered in 1911, the same year his studies with Schoenberg came to an end. He became part of Vienna’s fin de siècle artistic elite, and the 1913 Vienna premiere of portions of his Five Songs on Picture Postcard Texts by Peter Altenbergcaused a riot. After serving in World War I, he joined forces with Schoenberg in exploring and promoting new music. His opera Wozzeck premiered in 1925 and brought him prominence before it was condemned by the Nazis as “degenerate art.” In 1926, Berg completed his Lyric Suite,the first major work in which he employed the twelve-tone system. The six-movement work for string quartet, which contains many coded references to his mistress, is a highly regarded work, which “for all its subjective and tragic character, remains one of the most brilliant and effective virtuoso display pieces in its genre,” (The New Grove Dictionary).


Doughtertyis possibly Celius Dougherty (1902-1986), an American pianist, composer and arranger. While studying at Julliard with Josef Lhévinne and Rubin Goldmark, he became a sought-after accompanist beginning in the 1920s. He first performed his piano Sonata in E Flat in 1925 and his 1930 performance of his Sonata for Violin and Piano cemented his reputation. During the early 1930s, he was a part of the MacDowell Colony. “In 1939 Dougherty formed a two-piano team with Vincenz Ruzicka, appearing in every state of the union and in Vienna with the Vienna Symphony in 1955. The duo was noted for giving world premieres of important new works for two pianos:  Hindemith’s Sonata for Two Pianos, Stravinsky’s Sonata for Two Pianos, Berg’s Suite from Lulu, Schoenberg’s Variations on a Recitative. Some of these were works for orchestra, which he arranged for two pianos,” (“Celius Hudson Doughterty,”


Hier was an Ohio native of Scottish descent who studied piano at the Cincinnati Conservatory, Julliard and in Europe, studying with Hugo Kaun in Berlin, Gian-Francesco Malipiero in Italy and Ernest Bloch. While there, she was undoubtedly influenced by Berg and Schoenberg and the Vienna School. She returned to the United States to teach piano and composition in Cincinnati and New York. Her own compositions include The Bird in the Rainwhich set poet Elinor Wylie’s poems to music; Down in the Glen; If You Must Go, Go Quickly; andCarolina Suite. In 1930-31, she was one of two women to be awarded a Guggenheim fellowship and corresponded with Berg in January 1933 to make arrangements for an August visit.


Notepad perforations at the top edge and several barely visible creases; In excellent condition.



Item #20272

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