What Was Alban Berg Known For?


Quick Answer

Alban Berg was an Austrian composer well-known for his collaborations with composer Arnold Schoenberg, his violin and piano concertos, and his two acclaimed operas "Wozzeck" and "Lulu." As a composer, his gained a prominent reputation in Vienna and abroad due to his controversial combination of late romanticism's form and structure with Schoenberg's atonal harmony teachings, 12-tone scale approach, and theories on variation in classical music.

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Full Answer

During his life, Berg was known mostly for his orchestral music, piano sonatas and violin concertos. It was not until after his death that he was widely recognized for his contributions to atonal music through his founding of the Second Viennese School. His pieces were recognized as more poetic and lyrical than those of his mentor Schoenberg, and they gained a wider following among the audiences of Austria, who were accustomed to romantic pieces by 19th-century composers.

In modern times, Berg is remembered for his contributions to experimental music and his two operas. Although he only finished two movements of "Lulu" before his death in 1935, it and his earlier piece "Wozzeck" are considered two of the 20th century's most enduring operatic works. The orchestration of "Lulu" was finally finished in secret and the opera had its grand premiere in Paris in 1979, over 40 years after Berg's death.

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