Webern Night

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20050915

Andrew Mcgregor is joined by a panel of guests for the climax of Radio 3's celebration of Webern's music.

The programme features works from 1924 up to his tragic death exactly 60 years ago today, when he was accidentally shot by a cook in the US military.

Webern was more or less unknown to the general public during his lifetime, but his reputation soared after his death, when his music became a model for composers of the immediate post-war generation.

His legacy of 31 mature works subsequently had more influence than he could ever have imagined.

What surprised his contemporaries was the music's intensity and concision.

The effect, as Schoenberg put it, is "as if a novel were to be contained within a single sigh.

The music is delicate, pregnant with suggestion, illusive and nervous".

Its emotional intensity has amazed listeners ever since.

Symphony, Op 21, 1928

Berlin PO

Herbert von Karajan (conductor)

Concerto, Op 24, 1934

Dresden Staatskapelle

Giuseppe Sinopoli (conductor)

Variations for piano, Op 27, 1936

Llyr Williams

Variations, Op 30, 1940

Vienna PO

Claudio Abbado (conductor).