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À mon chevet: The Rest Is Noise

Alex Ross, The Rest Is NoiseÀ mon chevet is a series of posts featuring a quote from whatever book is on my nightstand at the moment.

Although Berg lived his entire life in Vienna, Berlin was the scene of his greatest success -- the premiere of Wozzeck, on December 14, 1925. Before that night, Berg had been an obscure member of the Schoenberg circle; afterward, he joined the ranks of the most illustrious composers of the day. Ovation upon ovation greeted him when he walked onstage at the Staatsoper on Unter den Linden. If Theodor Adorno is to be believed, Berg was upset by the response. "I was with him until late into the night," Adorno recalled, "literally consoling him over his success. That a work conceived like Wozzeck's apparitions in the field, a work satisfying Berg's own standards, could please a first-night audience, was incomprehensible to him and struck him as an argument against the opera." Schoenberg, on his side, was jealous. "Schoenberg envied Berg his successes," Adorno observed, "while Berg envied Schoenberg his failures."

-- Alex Ross, The Rest Is Noise (2007), "City of Nets: Berlin in the Twenties," p. 207
Well, I'm back in Washington, but a research project is taking up most of my time. More to come.

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