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Webern Day - Thursday 15th September
Anton Webern

On Thursday 15th September Radio 3 presented Webern Day , 60 years to the day after the Austrian composer's dramatic death. His complete works - about five and a half hours in total - were broadcast in order of composition throughout the day, showcasing the entire creative output of one of the twentieth century's most influential composers.

Webern's works were placed into Radio 3's regular schedule and introduced by Radio 3 presenters, along with guests including Webern biographers Malcolm Hayes and Katherine Bailey as well as composer Julian Johnson.

Webern Day continued into the evening, when Andrew McGregor and guest panellists discussed his life and work, focussing on the music he wrote between 1924 and his untimely death in 1945. In the aftermath of the Second World War, on the evening of 15 th September 1945, Anton Webern stepped outside his house for a cigar and was shot dead accidentally by a cook in the US military in mysterious circumstances.

Not well known in his own lifetime, Webern's reputation soared after his death. He saw his music as part of the Austrian tradition, continuing the line from Mozart, through Beethoven and Schubert, to Mahler; his works in turn having a profound influence on future composers. Unique for their brevity and concision, the effect of Webern's works - as his teacher Schoenberg put it - is as if a novel were to be contained within a single sigh.

Listen to 'Kinderstück' (1924) - duration: 50 seconds

Listen to 'Opus 11 no. 2'  for cello and piano (1914) - the shortest piece in the repertory of great music . Duration: 28 seconds
Opus 11 no. 2

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