Historical Development of Violin Concertos (IX) – Berg Violin Concerto


2.Berg Violin Concerto, Antony Pople, Cambrige University Press, 1991(pg 65)

Historical Information:

It is composed in summer 1935. Berg took commissions from violinist Louis Krasner in order to compose concerto. When he began the composition, he was composing his opera ”Lulu ”.

Berg dedicated his violin concerto, which is captioned  “To the memory of an angel”, to Manon Gropius, Alma Mahler’s beautiful and talented daughter who died at age 18. So, it was composed as Requiem to her memory. Violin concerto is the last work that he completed. After premiere, work gained acceptance, according to my opinion, because it  combines concerto with familiar musical thoughts such as folk music and a Bach choral.
Harmony and Serialism:
Concerto is based on Serial method.
Serial method has a row that is based on triads. There is  G Minor, D Major, A minor, E Major Triads. The last 4 notes of the row make up a whole-tone scale.
¨According to Douglas Jarman; Part I is centred İn G minor but according to my opinion it is not tonal either because there is no tonal station, actually it is based on triads.
I/11 A tempo                  G Minor
I/84  Tempo I                 G Minor
I/104 Allegretto            D Minor
I/114 rustigo                   Bb Minor
I/132  Tempo I                D Minor
I/155 Trio  II                   G Major/ Minor
I/173 Quasi Tempo I    D Minor
I/257 final bar                G MinorQuotations:
Berg used two significant quotations from Bach and Carithian song (Austrian Folk song)

¨A Bird on the plum tree has wakened me,  Tridie, tridie iri tulie

 Otherwise I would have overslept in Mizzi’s bed
If everybody wants a rich and handsome girl
Where ought the devil take the ugly one?
The girl is Catholic and i am Protestant
She will surely puy away the rosary in the bed!”

Second quotation is from Bach’s Chorale “Es ist genug” from the Cantata ”O ewigkeit, du Donnerwort” BWV 60.

He used  Bach’s choral phrases with his dissonant counterpoint and composed two variations of Cantata.
Technique of Hauptrhythmus: It means constructive rhythm. It is the usage of persistent rhythmic pattern. According to Berg, it is the “characteristic rhythm”. The constructive rhythm which used in concerto is less obsessive than other compositions such as Wozzeck.


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