Alban Berg: Violin Concerto

Alban Berg Violin Concerto
Violin Concerto

Alban Berg: Violin Concerto

Year of composition:
Scored for:
for violin and orchestra
Alban Berg
Douglas Jarman
2 2 3 3 - 4 2 2 1 - timp, perc(2), hp, alto sax, str
Instrumentation details:
1. flute (+picc.)
2. flute (+picc.)
1. oboe
2. oboe (+c.a.)
alto saxophone in Eb (+3. cl.(Bb))
1. clarinet in B
2. clarinet in A
bass clarinet in B
1. bassoon
2. bassoon
1. horn in F
2. horn in F
3. horn in F
4. horn in F
1. trumpet in C
2. trumpet in C
1. (tenor-)trombone
2. (bass-)trombone
contrabass tuba
perc (2)
violin I
violin II
Table of contents:
1. Satz - Andante
2. Satz - Allegro
Auf Bitte des amerikanischen Violinisten Louis Krasner
In Memory of an Angel - for Manon Gropius, daughter of Alma Mahler and Walter Gropius, dying of polio in 1935
Für Louis Krasner Dem Andenken eines Engels Geschrieben in Memoriam Manon Gropius, Tochter von Alma Mahler und Walter Gropius, die am 22. April 1935 an Kinderlähmung starb.
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Violin Concerto

The complete perusal score (PDF-preview)

Work introduction

In February 1935 Alban Berg was approached by the American violinist Louis Krasner with a request to write a violin concerto. Although reluctant to stop working on Lulu, Berg’s financial position made the refusal of such a commission almost impossible. Having jotted down some preliminary ideas for the piece in mid-March, Berg proposed to devote the summer, which he spent at this house near Velden in Carinthia, composing the Concerto.

On 22 April, a few days before Berg left Vienna for Velden, a tragedy occurred that would determine the final shape of the Concerto. Manon Gropius, the daughter of Alma Mahler and Walter Gropius, died of poliomyelitis. Berg wrote to Alma Mahler that he intended to dedicate his work dem Andenken eines Engels [to the memory of an angel], in memory of Manon. The Concerto was written at the Waldhaus in Carinthia between May and August 1935.

In July, shortly after Berg had finished the composition of the piece and was about to start work on the full orchestral score, he was stung by an insect at the base of his spine, and the sting gradually developed into an abscess. Returning to Vienna in early November in ill health, he was able to attend the Viennese première of the Symphonic Pieces from “Lulu” on 11 December, but, less than a week later, had to be taken to hospital. He died of blood poisoning at the Rudolfspital in Vienna on the night of 23 to 24 December.

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Next performances

20 Jun

Violin Concerto

Musical Theater, Basel (CH)

18 Jan

Violin Concerto

Het Koninklijk Concertgebouw, Amsterdam (NL)

World première

Barcelona (ES)
Hermann Scherchen
Main soloists:
Louis Krasner, vln


Christian Tetzlaff rehearses the Violin Concerto:

“Like so many great works of art, Berg’s Violin Concerto lives from an amalgam of the greatest possible contrasts.

The most intense feelings of pain, desire and love are portrayed in the abstract and controlled musical language of twelve-tone technique. Yet the form of the piece is as clear and simple as one can imagine and is not difficult to convey or sense in the ensemble. But still Berg uses this form to depict the complexity of a human life with all its trials and tribulations from the cradle to the grave and in the end he leaves us with a sense of acceptance that transcends all that precedes it!

Having the honour to play it is eternally rewarding.” - Christian Tetzlaff


Winner of the Music Teacher Award for Excellence 2015 in the category 'Best Print Resource' and Winner "Deutscher Musikeditionspreis BEST EDITION 2015".

  • Edition type: book
  • Series: Listening Lab
  • Language: German; English
  • UE26315
  • ISBN: 978-3-7024-7222-1
  • ISMN: 979-0-008-08553-6
EUR 39,95

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