Tuesday, February 9, 2010
alban berg | wozzeck
i've been fascinated by alban berg for the past month, both his music and what i have read about his personality. the latter: his crippling empathy and fragile relationship with success and his mentor. frighteningly, i see part of myself in his faults. moreover, and somewhat bleeding into the former, his tenuous relationship with romanticism and l'avant: clinging onto those with which you hold dear but contradictorily flinging oneself into the unknown. that is, the intertwining of mahler with newfangled atonality. everything about him seems so confused, so unsure of himself, even after achieving near universal praise. berg is both the social elite and the man with whom i can relate. i want his genius, his ability to make the academic and the immediate one, but share his doubts and self-imposed mental hurdles. he is the fancy man i could see myself being in my wildest of dreams. nothing is better at summing up his talent and twisted mind than wozzeck, nor was anything fancier in the 1920's than this opera. be sure to keep your pinkies out whilst reading either the libretto or a synopsis; the social context of berg's masterpiece cannot be overstated. much of these three acts are ugly permutations of operatic past and distorted, discarded tonality; nothing to me better depicts between-war fanciness. entendre.