Vienna On The Brink

Episodes

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01A New Century20140106

Donald Macleod focuses on the cultural life of Vienna at the start of the 20th century.

Donald Macleod presents a picture of the most exciting cultural city in the world in the early 1900s: home of Mahler, Schoenberg and Freud.

As part of World War I on the BBC, this week Radio 3 focuses on the European music scene in the years leading up to the First World War.

In the first decade and a half of the twentieth century, Vienna was the hub of the world's art, music and philosophy. Donald Macleod takes us through the key musical figures and works that made waves in pre-war Vienna, including Mahler, Korngold, Zemlinsky and the "Second Viennese School" of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, and explores the personal, musical and philosophical conflicts that tore it apart.

Donald begins the week at the dawn of the 20th century, with the 26-year old Schoenberg busily penning his early masterpiece for string sextet, Verklärte Nacht, before moving on to perhaps the last great work of the Romantic era, Gurrelieder. But the prodigy of Viennese new music circles is not Schoenberg, but his older colleague ? and future brother-in-law ? Alexander Zemlinsky, soon to be cruelly abandoned by the beautiful Alma Schindler ? the future Mrs Gustav Mahler. Meanwhile, a wide-eyed young man from the countryside, Anton von Webern, arrives in the metropolis and seeks out a teacher.

01A New Century20140106

02School Of Schoenberg20140107

Donald Macleod on the relationship between Berg and Webern and their mentor, Schoenberg.

Donald Macleod continues his journey through pre-war Vienna. A genius from a bygone age dies alone in a Vienna asylum ? and a young Alban Berg takes his first musical steps.

As part of World War I on the BBC, this week Radio 3 focuses on the European music scene in the years leading up to the First World War.

In the first decade and a half of the twentieth century, Vienna was the hub of the world's art, music and philosophy. Donald Macleod takes us through the key musical figures and works that made waves in pre-war Vienna, including Mahler, Korngold, Zemlinsky and the "Second Viennese School" of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, and explores the personal, musical and philosophical conflicts that tore it apart.

In the Autumn of 1904, Arnold Schoenberg ? looking for some much-needed extra income ? placed an ad in a Viennese newspaper for pupils desiring musical instruction. His students would change the history of music. Donald Macleod explores the relationship between the young Berg and Webern and their mentor ? himself only a few years older ? and their musical cousin, the recently-heartbroken Alexander Zemlinsky. He finishes with a movement from Mahler's most neglected symphony ? the Seventh.

03Korngold The Prodigy20140108

Donald Macleod focuses on the story of the remarkable musical prodigy, Erich Korngold.

Donald Macleod's journey through Vienna's pre-war musical life continues, with the story of the remarkable prodigy, Erich Wolfgang Korngold.

As part of World War I on the BBC, this week Radio 3 focuses on the European music scene in the years leading up to the First World War.

In the first decade-and-a-half of the twentieth century, Vienna was the hub of the world's art, music and philosophy. Donald Macleod takes us through the key musical figures and works that made waves in pre-war Vienna, including Mahler, Korngold, Zemlinsky and the "Second Viennese School" of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, and explores the personal, musical and philosophical conflicts that tore it apart.

1907, and Arnold Schoenberg struggles with the aftermath of his wife's devastating affair with the gifted artist Richard Gerstl, who later commits suicide in gruesome fashion. Elsewhere in Vienna, at ten years old Erich Korngold is writing orchestral music and ballets that are the toast of the city. Donald Macleod explores Korngold's early lessons with Zemlinsky, and introduces the story behind two of the most assured "opus 1s" of the 20th century ? Alban Berg's Piano Sonata and Anton von Webern's Passacaglia. Light relief comes from the pen of the hugely popular operetta composer, Oscar Straus.

03Korngold the Prodigy20140108

04The Master Dies20140109

Donald Macleod on the impact of Mahler's death on the younger generation of composers.

Donald Macleod continues his chronology of pre-war musical Vienna. 1911, and as Vienna's young modernists find their voice, a flame of Vienna's glorious past is extinguished.

As part of World War I on the BBC, this week Radio 3 focuses on the European music scene in the years leading up to the First World War.

In the first decade and a half of the twentieth century, Vienna was the hub of the world's art, music and philosophy. Donald Macleod takes us through the key musical figures and works that made waves in pre-war Vienna, including Mahler, Korngold, Zemlinsky and the "Second Viennese School" of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, and explores the personal, musical and philosophical conflicts that tore it apart.

As Vienna entered the second decade of the 20th century, its young Turks were, in very different ways, finding a unique musical voice. Yet the year would be remembered for two giants of Vienna past. On May 18th, Gustav Mahler died, having made a final return journey from the New World to his native Austria. Donald Macleod explores this seismic musical event and its impact on the younger generation, and introduces the musical hit of the year by a composer from an older generation: "Der Rosenkavalier" by the 47 year-old Richard Strauss

04The Master Dies20140109

05Skandal!20140110

05 LASTSkandal!20140110

Donald Macleod recreates the most scandalous concert in Viennese musical history, in 1913.

Donald Macleod ends his exploration of Vienna's pre-war musical life with a recreation of the most scandalous concert in Viennese musical history.

As part of World War I on the BBC, this week Radio 3 focuses on the European music scene in the years leading up to the First World War.

In the first decade and a half of the twentieth century, Vienna was the hub of the world's art, music and philosophy. Donald Macleod takes us through the key musical figures and works that made waves in pre-war Vienna, including Mahler, Korngold, Zemlinsky and the "Second Viennese School" of Schoenberg, Berg and Webern, and explores the personal, musical and philosophical conflicts that tore it apart.

March 31st, 1913 was a date that would go down in the annals of European music history. The event that would later be termed "Das Skandalkonzert" was billed innocuously enough ? a programme of new music by Schoenberg, Webern, Berg and Zemlinsky, plus one of Mahler's achingly beautiful Kindertotenlieder. But before long, the audience were rioting at the daring new sounds emanating from the stage. Donald Macleod ends the week by recreating the programme of this infamous date in musical history ? presenting the story behind the works that caused such a scandal.