Abstracts of issue 7-8 (1989)

Theodor W. Adorno

Alban Berg

Translation in Greek: Mirella Simota-Fidetzis
This paper of T. W. Adornos on Alban Berg is one of those essays small masterpieces of aesthetic criticism and the style that was characteristic for the Frankfurt School philosopher in which as a master of the minimum transition he bridges his own early essays with his outcome in the Philosophy of Modern Music (1949), with his late monographs and his Theory of Aesthetics.
Adorno was engaged with Alban Bergs work during his whole life: his first text on Berg about his opera Wozzeck appeared in 1925. Five years later appeared his very important paper The Opera Wozzeck, where he analyzed the problem about divergence between constructive principle and expression, based on philosophical thoughts that were decisive for the Philosophy of Modern Music and for his whole work. In 1937 Adorno contributed in a series of analysis of his tutors works in the volume published by Willi Reich about Berg. In 1955 twenty years after the composers death appeared a paper in Vienna. The outline of that paper is reproduced in the chapter Tone in his monograph on Berg (1968). In 1956 as the author says he wrote voluminous drafts on Bergs work and personality, that remained unpublished. In 1959 Adorno included the essay we publish in this issue of Musicology in his collection of papers Klangfiguren (basic thoughts and recollections included in this essay can be found in the chapter Erinnerung of his monograph on Berg).
The essay published in this issue of Musicology stands somewhere between creative questioning about the object of research and mature outcome of the theoreticians thought. The central points of Adornos theory, about the dialectical evolution of musical material and about the importance of the expressive content for this evolution as imprinted in compositional constructions, are formulated in an exemplary way in this essay and turn the readers attention to a theory of modern style and a theory of its relation to the tradition.