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September 18, 2005

Anton Webern

'A novel contained in a single sigh' On Sept. 15, 1945, Anton Webern stepped out to smoke a cigar. An American soldier, seeing the glow of the cigar, panicked and shot Webern three times. Webern, along with Arnold Schoenberg and Alban Berg, is credited with -- or blamed for -- ushering in an era of composition emphasizing strict, mathematical order over all elements of music, a reaction against the suicidal excess of Romanticism. On the anniversary of his death, BBC Radio 3 hosts Webern Day, during which Webern's complete works will be broadcast. The total time to perform his 31 works is about three hours.

September 18, 2005 in History | Permalink


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While the reflex response of a tense armed man is a scary situation in the dark is often the cause of an unjustified and regrettable death, it is NOT properly characterized as a "callous murder" as in the article. Sometimes it saves the shooter's life, which is why he is armed in the first place -- because he thinks other people are armed and will shoot him. I wish all guns were totally absent from the world, so that such things did not happen (though I suppose men with knives, boomerangs, and stones would do the same thing, it would be less often fatal). Moreover, if the man shot had not been a cultural hero, but a criminal, would anyone have been particularly incensed about it?

Posted by: judith | Sep 19, 2005 8:34:20 AM

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