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A small monument to a great love

Berg meets and falls in love with Hanna Fuchs-Robettin. Their love affair will permeate his compositions and last until his death.

Berg needed to visit Prague to hear fragments of Wozzeck performed. It was through his connection with Mahler’s widow Alma, that he came to stay, in May 1925, in Prague, with Alma’s sister in law, Hanna Fuchs-Robettin and her husband. Berg believed in the guiding force of destiny: that he was fated to meet Hanna and fall in love with her. He was 40, she was in her early 30s with two children. Divorce was unthinkable and so was the idea that Berg’s wife Helene might discover the truth. But Alban’s love affair with Hanna lasted the rest of his life and there exist more than a decade’s worth of letters to demonstrate the depth of their passion and reveal that everything he was to write from thereon in would be influenced by his love for Hanna. So, when Berg came to compose his Lyric Suite, he wrote a document of their love affair. But this detail was hidden within musical riddles and codes and it wasn’t until the 1970’s that the true meaning of this work was discovered.

Chamber Concerto for piano, violin and 13 wind instruments (Adagio)
Daniel Barenboim, piano
Pinchas Zukerman, violin
Ensemble InterContemporain
Pierre Boulez, conductor

Lyric Suite
Dawn Upshaw, soprano
Kronos Quartet

Der Wein
Anne Sofie von Otter, mezzo soprano
Vienna Philharmonic
Claudio Abbado, conductor

Produced by Rosie Boulton for BBC Wales

26 days left to listen

59 minutes

Music Played

  • Alban Berg

    Chamber Concerto for violin, piano and 13 wind instruments (Adagio)

    Performer: Daniel Barenboim. Conductor: Pinchas Zukerman. Orchestra: Ensemble intercontemporain. Conductor: Pierre Boulez.
    • DG 4232372.
    • DG 4232372.
    • 2.
  • Alban Berg

    Lyric Suite for string quartet

    Ensemble: Kronos Quartet. Singer: Dawn Upshaw.
    • Nonesuch 7559796962.
    • Nonesuch 7559796962.
    • 1.
  • Alban Berg

    Der Wein for soprano and orchestra

    Singer: Anne Sofie von Otter. Conductor: Claudio Abbado. Orchestra: Vienna Philharmonic.
    • DG 445 8462.
    • DG 445 8462.
    • 8.

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