The Death of Anton Webern by Nicolas Slonimsky

15 September 1945

Anton von Webern, 61-year-old Austrian composer of music so subtle and succinct that not only notes, but intervals, dynamic marks and durations assume thematic significance, philosopher-musician and pioneer of integral serialism as an expansion of the dodecaphonic concept formulated by his master Arnold Schoenberg, is accidentally shot and killed by an American soldier of the army of occupation in Mittersill, near Salzburg, in the house of his son-in-law suspected of black market speculation. (Webern’s son-in-law was subsequently sentenced to one year’s imprisonment; Raymond Bell, the unwitting killer of Anton von Webern, though cleared of blame, died on 3 September 1955 of acute alcoholism induced by remorse. He had been a cook in the U.S Army.)

– Nicolas Slonimsky  from Music Since 1900, Fifth Edition (NS composed each entry of his 1200-plus-page iconic volume using only a single sentence.

Advertisements