Berg, Alban

BORN 9 Feb 1885, Wien - DIED 24 Dec 1935, Wien
CAUSE OF DEATH blood poisoning after insect bite
GRAVE LOCATION Wien: Hietzinger Friedhof, Maxingstraße 15, Hietzing (Gruppe 49, Nummer 24F)

Son of a merchant whose musical talents were noticed in early age. He became a scholar of Arnold Schönberg (1904-1909) and would put the principles of atonality in music in practice.

In 1906 he met the opera singer Helene Nahowski. He wanted to marry her, but her family had serious doubts about his health and his prospects. It took until 1911 before they were finally able to marry.

In 1917 he started writing the opera "Wozzeck", based on the play by Büchner. In 1925 it was first produced in Berlin. In 1923 he had become widely known by the public after a string quartet was produced at Salzburg.

From 1929 until 1935 he worked on the opera Lulu, based on Wedekind's play. It wasn't completed at the time of his death and after Schönberg, Webern and Zemlinsky refused to complete it, the third act was placed under embargo by his widow Helene. Only after her death in 1976 it became clear that the opera was almost finished and it was first produced in 1979.

Until the end of his life Berg had a passionate relationship with Hanna Fuchs-Robettin, a sister of Franz Werfel and the wife of a rich industrialist. He had met her in 1925 in Prague and he used secret codes in his works to refer to her. This was only discovered in 1977 by the composer George Perle and possibly this is the reason why Helena suppressed the third act of Lulu after his death.

• Wife: Nahowski, Helene (1911-1935, Wien: Evangelische Kirche, Dorotheergasse 16)

Related persons
• is brother/sister of Berg, Smaragda
• had work performed by Chéreau, Patrice
• was pupil of Schönberg, Arnold

16/5/1906Austrian premiere of "Salomé" by Richard Strauss in Graz. "Salome" had premiered shortly before in Dresden. The Austrian premiere took place in Graz because the censor in Vienna didn't approve. Jenny Korb sang the title part. Strauss himself conducted and Gustav and Alma Mahler were in the public. Puccini was also there. The performance was a huge succes. [Mahler, Alma][Mahler, Gustav][Puccini, Giacomo][Schönberg, Arnold][Strauss, Richard][Zemlinsky, Alexander von]
14/12/1925Premiere of Alban Berg's "Wozzeck" at the Berlin State Opera. Erich Kleiber was the conductor. Leo Schützendorf was Wozzeck. Other singers were Sigrid Johanson and Ruth Iris Witting. 
24/2/1979Premiere of the three-act version of Alban Berg's "Lulu" at the Opera in Paris. After Berg's widow Helene Berg had died in 1976 a new completed version was made by Friedrich Cerha. Patrick Chéreau produced the performance and Pierre Boulez was the conductor. Teresa Stratas sang the part of Lulu and other singers were Yvonne Minton and Hanna Schwarz. [Chéreau, Patrice][Nahowski, Helene]


The grave of Alban Berg at the Hietzinger Friedhof, Vienna.
Picture by Androom (30 Aug 2002)


Just a moment...
Lulu (opera) - Wikipedia
Wozzeck - Wikipedia

Berg, Claire

Published: 01 Jan 2006
Last update: 02 May 2022