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“Berg and His World” – 21st Bard Music Festival, Weekend One (Aug 13-15, 2010)

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. – The 21st annual Bard Music Festival opens here on Friday, August 13 for Weekend One: Berg and His World – Berg and Vienna.  Leon Botstein, co-artistic director of the Bard Music Festival, delivers a pre-concert talk entitled “Alban Berg: The Path of Expressive Intensity,” which is followed by a chamber program tracing Berg’s stylistic development from early works like the Seven Early Songs (1905-08) to the maturity of his Lyric Suite (1925-26).  While usually hailed as a pioneer of the modernist movement along with Schoenberg and Webern, at the Bard Music Festival Berg is considered in a richer and more nuanced context as a child of Johann Strauss II’s Vienna, and a contemporary of composers including Mahler, Zemlinsky, Pfitzner, Reger, Busoni, Karl Weigl, and Korngold.  Each of the six concerts is augmented by a pre-concert talk by a distinguished scholar, namely Byron Adams, Antony Beaumont, Mark DeVoto, Christopher H. Gibbs, Sherry D. Lee, and Botstein himself; Botstein also leads the resident American Symphony Orchestra in the weekend’s two orchestral programs. Among the many notable musicians performing at the festival are singers Christiane Libor, Christine Goerke, Marnie Breckenridge, and Thomas Meglioranza; pianists Jeremy Denk, Alessio Bax, and Danny Driver; the Daedalus Quartet; and violinists Akiko Suwanai and Soovin Kim.

During this first weekend (a second follows on August 20-22), additional events shed further light on “Berg and Vienna”, contextualizing the composer within the cultural melting pot he shared with Schoenberg, Mahler, and Freud.  Bard Music Festival audiences can take in a panel discussion on “Berg: His Life and Career” and attend a performance with commentary on “Eros and Thanatos,” the conflicting drives that Freud identified as governing human nature.  “The Orchestra Reimagined” – the weekend’s final program, on Sunday at 5:30 pm – features Berg’s Kammerkonzert of 1923-25, his first work to use a tone row, alongside similarly pared-down orchestral works by Schoenberg, Busoni, and Hindemith. Round-trip transportation by coach from Columbus Circle for the Sunday late-afternoon performance is available (call 845-758-7900 for details).

Rarities offered over the weekend include early works by Berg and Webern; the music of Alma Mahler; and compositions by Berg and Schoenberg’s students, among them the eminent philosopher and sociologist Theodor Adorno.

Critical acclaim:

The Wall Street Journal has observed that the Bard Music Festival “has long been one of the most intellectually stimulating of all American summer festivals and frequently is one of the most musically satisfying.”  Reviewing a previous season of the festival, a critic for the New York Times reported, “As impressive as many of the festival performances were, they were matched by the audience’s engagement: strangers met and conversed, analyzing the music they’d heard with sophistication, and a Sunday-morning panel discussion of gender issues in 19th-century culture drew a nearly full house.  All told, it was a model for an enlightened society.”

Complete programs for Weekend One of the 2010 Bard Music Festival follow.

Program details of Bard Music Festival, “Berg and His World”

Weekend One, August 13—15: Berg and Vienna


Alban Berg: The Path of Expressive Intensity
Sosnoff Theater
7:30 pm     Pre-concert talk: Leon Botstein
8:00 pm     Performance: Daedalus Quartet; Jeremy Denk, piano; Danny Driver, piano; Alexander Fiterstein, clarinet; Christine Goerke, soprano; Pei-Yao Wang, piano; Bard Festival Chamber Players

In memory of George Perle

Alban Berg (1885–1935)
Seven Early Songs (1905–08)
Piano Sonata, Op. 1 (1907–08)
Four Pieces, for clarinet and piano (1913)
Lyric Suite (1925–26)
Johann Strauss II (1825–99)
Wein, Weib, und Gesang, Op. 333 (1869, arr. Berg, 1921)           

Tickets $20/35/45



Berg: His Life and Career
Olin Hall
10:00 am—12 noon

Christopher H. Gibbs, moderator; Christopher Hailey; Douglas Jarman; and Dan Morgenstern

Free and open to the public

The Vienna of Berg’s Youth
Olin Hall
1:00 pm     Pre-concert talk: Mark DeVoto
1:30 pm     Performance: Alessio Bax, piano; Daedalus Quartet; Pei-Yao Wang, piano; and Nicholas Phan, tenor

Alban Berg (1885–1935)
Selections from early piano works and songs
Alexander Zemlinsky (1871–1942)
Fantasies on Poems by Richard Dehmel, Op. 9 (1898)
Five Songs (Dehmel) (1907)
Karl Weigl (1881–1949)
String Quartet No. 3 in A major (1909)
Anton Webern (1883–1945)
Piano Quintet (1907)
Joseph Marx (1882–1964)
Valse de Chopin (1909)

Tickets $35

Mahler and Beyond
Sosnoff Theater
7:00 pm     Pre-concert talk: Christopher H. Gibbs
8:00 pm     Performance: Christiane Libor, soprano; Akiko Suwanai, violin; American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director

Alban Berg (1885–1935)
Fünf Orchesterlieder nach Ansichtskartentexten von Peter Altenberg, Op. 4 (1912)
Three Pieces for Orchestra, Op. 6 (1914–15)
Violin Concerto (1935)
Gustav Mahler (1860–1911)
Adagio, from Symphony No. 10 (1910)
Hans Pfitzner (1869–1949)
“Abend” and “Nacht,” from Von deutscher Seele, Op. 28 (1921)
Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957)
Prelude and Carnival Music, from Violanta, Op. 8 (1914)

Tickets $25/40/55



Eros and Thanatos
Olin Hall
10:00 am     Performance
Commentary by Byron Adams; with Marnie Breckenridge, soprano; Fredrika Brillembourg, mezzo-soprano; Nicholas Phan, tenor; Thomas Meglioranza, baritone; Lucille Chung and Pei-Yao Wang, piano; Daedalus Quartet
Works by Alban Berg (1885–1935), Johann Strauss II (1825–99), Richard Strauss (1864–1949), Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951), Franz Schreker (1878–1934), Alma Mahler (1879–1964), Friedrich Hollaender (1896–1976), Erich Wolfgang Korngold (1897–1957)

Tickets: $30

Teachers and Apostles
Olin Hall
1:00 pm     Pre-concert talk: Sherry D. Lee
1:30 pm     Performance: Alessio Bax, piano; Marnie Breckenridge, soprano; Lucille Chung, piano; Cygnus Ensemble; Daedalus Quartet; Danny Driver, piano; Soovin Kim, violin

Alban Berg (1885–1935)
String Quartet, Op. 3 (1910)
Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951)
Six Piano Pieces, Op. 19 (1911)
Anton Webern (1883–1945)
Four Pieces, for violin and piano, Op. 7 (1910)
Egon Wellesz (1885–1974)
Three Piano Pieces, Op. 9 (1911)
Sandór Jemnitz (1890–1963)
Trio, for guitar, violin, and viola, Op. 33 (1932)
Viktor Ullmann (1898–1944)
Variations and Double-Fugue on a Piano Work by A. Schönberg, Op. 3a (1929)
Hans Erich Apostel (1901–72)
Variations from Lulu (1935)
Theodor W. Adorno (1903–69)
Six Bagatelles, Op. 6 (1923–42)

Tickets: $35

The Orchestra Reimagined
Sosnoff Theater
5:00 pm     Pre-concert talk: Antony Beaumont
5:30 pm     Performance: Jeremy Denk, piano; Soovin Kim, violin; members of the American Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Leon Botstein, music director

Alban Berg (1885–1935)
Kammerkonzert (1923–25)
Ferruccio Busoni (1866–1924)
Berceuse élégiaque, Op. 42 (1909; arr. Stein, 1920)
Arnold Schoenberg (1874–1951)
Chamber Symphony No. 1, Op. 9 (1905–06)
Paul Hindemith (1895–1963)
Kammermusik No. 1, Op. 24/1 (1921)

Tickets: $20/35/45

Weekend Two of “Berg and His World” takes place at Bard on August 20-22.

Bard SummerScape ticket information

The Bard SummerScape Festival is made possible through the generous support of the Advisory Boards of the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts and the Bard Music Festival, and the Friends of the Fisher Center.

Tickets for all Bard SummerScape events are now on sale.

Tickets for all Bard SummerScape events are now on sale.

For tickets and further information on all SummerScape events, call the Fisher Center box office at 845-758-7900 or visit

Bard SummerScape:

Bard Music Festival:

Tickets: [email protected]; or by phone at 845-758-7900

Updates: Bard’s “e-members” get all the news in regular updates.  Click here to sign up.

All program information is subject to change.

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©21C Media Group, August 2010 

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