Alban Berg – Sieben frühe Lieder. Performance perspectives

Ionela Butu 1
  • 1 “George Enescu” National University of Arts, , Romania


The study presents several interpretative suggestions made from the perspective of the accompanying pianist that played Alban Bergʼs Sieben frühe Lieder. Why this topic? Because in the Romanian music literature, there is nothing written about the song cycle Sieben frühe Lieder by Alban Berg, which is a representative work in the history of the art song. The theme, addressed in the literature written abroad, is treated mostly from a musicological standpoint. That is why we considered it useful to make some observations of an interpretative nature. They will become relevant if read in parallel with the PhD thesis entitled Alban Bergʼs “Sieben frühe Lieder”: An Analysis of Musical Structures and Selected Performances, written by Lisa A. Lynch (the only documentary source that proposes in-depth syntactic analyses of the work, associated with valuable interpretative suggestions made from a vocal perspective). We also considered useful, during the study, the comparison between the two variants of the work: the chamber/voice-piano version and the orchestral version. The analysis of the symphonic text was carried out intending the observation of significant details useful for realizing an expressive duo performance. Of course, our interpretative suggestions are a variant between many others. However, irrespective of dynamic, agogic, timbral, and articulation elements highlighted by the various performances, the reference point of any interpretative view remains the musical text, whose syntactic wealth opens up a generous semantic area.

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