Narratives of Identity in Alban Berg's "Lulu"

Narratives of Identity in Alban Berg's "Lulu"

Silvio J. dos Santos

Hardback
$70.00

University of Rochester Press

Overview

Overview

This book explores the crossroads between autobiographical narratives and musical composition in Alban Berg's Lulu, unveiling aspects of encoded social customs, gender identity, and personal experiences within musical structures.
Exploring the crossroads between autobiographical narrative and musical composition, this book examines Berg's transformation of Frank Wedekind's Erdgeist and Die Büchse der Pandora -- the plays used in the formation of the libretto for Lulu -- according to notions of gender identity, social customs, and the aesthetics of modernity in the Vienna of the 1920s and 1930s. While Berg modernized several aspects of the plays and incorporated serial techniques of composition from Arnold Schoenberg, he never let go of the idealistic Wagnerian perspectives of his youth. In fact, he went as far as reconfiguring aspects of Richard Wagner's life as an ideal identity to be played out in the compositional process. In composing the opera, Berg also reflected on the most important cultural figures in fin-de-siècle Vienna that affected his worldview, including Karl Kraus, Emil Lucka, Otto Weininger, and others.
Combining analysis of Berg's correspondence, numerous sketches for Lulu, and the finished work with interpretive models drawn from cultural studies and philosophy, this book elucidates the ways in which Berg grappled at the end of his life with his self-image as an "incorrigible romantic," and explains aspects of his musical language that have been considered strange or anomalous in Berg scholarship.

Silvio J. dos Santos is assistant professor of musicology at the University of Florida.

Details

June 2014
18 black and white, 46 line illustrations
238 pages
9x6 in
Eastman Studies in Music
ISBN: 9781580464833
Format: Hardback
Library eBook
University of Rochester Press
BIC AVA, 1DFA, 2AB, 3JJG
BISAC MUS002000, MUS028000, HIS040000
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Table of Contents

Introduction
Between Schoenberg and Wagner
Berg as Wagner: In Pursuit of an Ideal Identity
Refiguring Tristan
The Bild Motif and Lulu's Idenity
Marriage as Prostitution
Masculine, Feminine, and "In-between": Geschwitz as neue Frau
Conclusion: Berg's Wagnerism
Notes
Bibliography
Index

Reviews

Dr. dos Santos has not only contributed a uniquely compelling work to the existing body of literature on Berg's music, but he has also proved that fluency in multiple methodologies and fields of inquiry can give scholars access to analyses of unprecedented nuance and scope. Cultural historians will benefit from his work as much as theorists of early twelve-tone music. GERMAN STUDIES REVIEW

Succeeds in demonstrating how very detailed and multifaceted the engagement is, in Berg's Lulu, with the presence of Wagner('s music) and with ideas related to that presence. We can hope that (Dos Santos's) monograph is the impetus for further new insights about Lulu and for Berg research generally. DIE MUSIKFORSCHUNG (Kordula Knaus)

(Santos has) much to say about the dramatic representation of Lulu herself, and the role of a tonality-acknowledging 12-tone technique in that representation. Makes good use of the multiplicity of recent work on Berg's manuscripts and other archival materials to outline a response to Wagner, and to modern life, that was more psychological (not excluding a possible element of erotomania) than philosophical or spiritual. MUSICAL TIMES (Arnold Whittall)

In Narratives of Identity in Alban Berg's "Lulu," Silvio dos Santos goes above and beyond prior Berg scholarship with inspired and admirably thorough research. This complex and significant volume, based on expert examination of Berg's score, is the most important study of Lulu's character to come across my path in many years. A compelling narrative, which promises to be of lasting importance to scholars, musicians, and the opera-loving public. --Mark DeVoto, Tufts University

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