December 3, 1883: Anton Friedrich Wilhelm von Webern is born at Löwengasse 53a in Vienna, Austro-Hungarian Empire, the third of five children born to Carl von Webern, a mining engineer, and Amalie Antonia Geer, daughter of a master butcher.
July 11, 1902: Anton von Webern (18) passes his final examinations to graduate from the gymnasium in Klagenfurt, Austria.
January 29, 1905: A night devoted to Mahler (44) lieder with orchestra in the Kleiner Musiksaal of the Musikverein, Vienna sees several premieres, including two from Des knaben Wunderhorn (Des Antonius von Padua Fischpredigt, and Lied des Verfolgten im Turm) to words of Brentano and Arnim; the entire Kindertotenlieder cycle, to words of Rückert; four other Rückert Lieder (Blicke mir nicht in die Lieder, Ich atmet’einen Linden Duft, Ich bin der Welt abhanden gekommen and Um Mitternacht) and two lieder from Des knaben Wunderhorn not part of the song cycle (Revelge and Der Tamboursg’sell). The composer conducts all these works. It is a tremendous success. Attending is a young member of the Schoenberg circle, Anton von Webern (21). He is very impressed.
February 3, 1905: At a social gathering in the Annahof, Vienna following a Mahler concert, a repeat of the 29 January program, Anton von Webern (21) personally meets Gustav Mahler (44) for the first time. He spends several hours listening to Mahler’s ideas. Webern will later recall “...it was the first time that I received the immediate impression of a truly great personality.”
June 26, 1906: Anton von Webern (22) passes his oral examination in musicology at the University of Vienna.
July 10, 1906: Anton von Webern (22) passes his test in secondary subjects, the last hurdle to the Doctor of Philosophy.
November 7, 1907: At an evening devoted to the music of the students of Arnold Schoenberg (33) at the Saal des Gremius of the Wiener Kaufmannschaft, Alban Berg (22) makes his first appearance as composer. Berg’s works premiered include the three songs, Liebesode (words by Hartleben), Die Nachtigall (words by Storm), and Traumgekrönt (words by Rilke), and the Double Fugue for string quartet and piano. The Piano Quintet of Anton von Webern (23) is also premiered.
November 4, 1908: Richard Gerstl, the 25-year-old painter from whom Arnold (34) and Mathilde Schoenberg have both taken lessons, and who eloped with Mathilde, kills himself after Anton von Webern (24) convinces Mathilde to return to her husband.
January 14, 1910: Arnold Schoenberg’s (35) Das Buch der hängenden Gärten op.15, to words of Stefan George, is performed for the first time, in Vienna. Also on the program is the premiere of Schoenberg’s Three Piano Pieces op.11, the fourth of his Four Songs op.2 to words of Schlaf, and excerpts from the unfinished Gurre-Lieder in a reduction for two pianos-eight hands which Schoenberg entrusted to Anton von Webern (26). The success of these excerpts prompts Schoenberg to finish the work. The pianist for the op.11 is Richard Bühlig who in 1933 will become the first music teacher of John Cage.
February 8, 1910: Five Movements for string quartet op.5 by Anton von Webern (26) is performed for the first time, in Vienna.
September 12, 1910: Symphony no.8 “of a thousand” for three sopranos, two altos, tenor, baritone, bass, boys chorus, mixed chorus, and orchestra by Gustav Mahler (50) to the medieval hymn Veni Creator Spiritus and words of Goethe, is performed for the first time, at the Neue Musik Festhalle, Munich, conducted by the composer. The performers include eight soloists, 170 in the orchestra (plus organ) and 850 singers (both children and adult). It is the greatest success of Mahler’s life. Among the glittering audience are Camille Saint-Saëns (74), Alphons Diepenbrock (48), Richard Strauss (46), Paul Dukas (44), Max Reger (37), Alfredo Casella (27), Anton Webern (26), Auguste Rodin, Lilli Lehmann, Siegried Wagern, Willem Mengelberg, Bruno Walter, Leopold Stokowski, and Thomas Mann. Mann will send Mahler a copy of his new book Königliche Hoheit. “It is certainly a very poor return for what I received—a mere feather’s weight in the hand of the man who, as I believe, expresses the art of our time in its profoundest and most sacred form.” It is the last time Mahler and Strauss meet.
February 22, 1911: Anton von Webern (27) marries Wilhelmine Mörtl, the daughter of Webern’s uncle, a notary, in a civil ceremony in the courthouse of Danzig, German Empire. After she became pregnant last autumn, the pair made every effort to marry in the Church. Application was made for papal dispensation, owing to the fact that they were first cousins. Without response from the Church, the two are forced into a civil ceremony. The Church will finally bless the union in 1915, after the birth of three children.
April 24, 1911: Disciples of Arnold Schoenberg (36) figure prominently in a performance at the Ehrbarsaal, Vienna. Premiered this evening are two works by Alban Berg (26), the Piano Sonata op.1 and the String Quartet op.3, along with the Four Pieces for violin and piano op.7 by Anton von Webern (27).
June 21, 1912: Anton Webern (28) and his family arrive in Stettin to take up duties as theatre conductor.
July 1, 1912: Anton von Webern (28) enters upon duties as a theatre conductor in Stettin (Szczeczin).
October 16, 1912: After forty rehearsals, the long-awaited public premiere of Arnold Schoenberg’s (38) Pierrot Lunaire op.21, for speaker and chamber group to words of Giraud (tr. Hartleben), takes place in the Choralionsaal, Berlin. Some hissing is heard, but the audience is generally enthusiastic, giving the composer seven curtain calls. Anton von Webern (29), Edgard Varèse (28), and Sergey Diaghilev are among the listeners.
January 17, 1913: Suffering from depression and exhaustion, Anton von Webern (29) requests sick leave from his post as conductor in Stettin (Szczecin). He will spend a month at Semmering, near Vienna, to effect a cure.
February 23, 1913: Gurre-Lieder, for solo voices, chorus, and orchestra by Arnold Schoenberg (38) to words of Jacobsen (tr. Arnold), is performed for the first time, in the Musikvereinsaal, Vienna, under the baton of Franz Schreker (34). There is a 15-minute standing ovation at the conclusion. Anton von Webern (29) is released from the sanitarium in order to attend the concert.
March 9, 1913: Anton Webern (29) returns to Vienna having resigned his conducting position in Stettin.
August 4, 1913: Anton von Webern (29), once again suffering from anxiety and nervous exhaustion, sees the psychoanalyst Dr. Alfred Adler, in Vienna. After initial reticence, he gives over to the treatment which lasts three months.
April 23, 1914: Anton von Webern (30) signs a contract to renew his old position of conductor at the Stettin (Szczecin) Theatre, to commence 20 August. He will never take up the post, owing to the intervention of war.
August 20, 1914: On the day that Anton von Webern (30) is to begin duties in Stettin, the theatre is closed due to the war.
February 28, 1915: Anton von Webern (31), having been inducted this month into the Austro-Hungarian army, is stationed in Görz (Gorizia), 43 km north of Trieste.
June 8, 1915: Anton von Webern (31) is promoted to cadet aspirant (sergeant) at Frohnleiten, near Bruck. He is placed in charge of training older recruits (those aged 37-42).
December 26, 1915: After almost five years of marriage and three children, Anton von Webern (32) and his wife, finally having achieved papal dispensation to marry as first cousins, have their union solemnized by the Catholic Church at the Parish of Ober St. Veit, Vienna. Father of the bride Gustav Mörtl and Arnold Schoenberg (41) are witnesses.
August 12, 1917: Anton von Webern (33) arrives in Prague to take up a position at the Deutsches Landestheater.
June 6, 1919: Five Songs from “Der siebente Ring” op.3 by Anton Webern (35) to words of George is given its first complete performance, in Vienna.
September 1, 1920: Anton Webern (36) enters upon duties once again as a conductor of the Prague theatre. Once again, his tenure will be short, ending in October.
June 10, 1921: Passacaglia for Orchestra op.1 by Anton Webern (37) is performed for the first time, in Bochum, Germany.
November 9, 1921: Anton Webern (37) makes his debut as conductor of the Schubertbund, a male choral society in Vienna.
February 24, 1922: Despite successful performances, Anton Webern (38) announces his resignation as director of the Schubertbund, after only five months.
August 8, 1922: At a performance in Salzburg, Anton Webern’s (38) Five Movements for String Quartet causes fisticuffs and a general melee to break out. Police are called in. The work is interrupted and will be repeated tomorrow night to an invited audience.
July 19, 1924: Six Bagatelles for string quartet op.9 by Anton Webern (40) is performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen.
July 20, 1924: Six Songs on Poems of Georg Trakl op.14 for soprano and five players by Anton Webern (40) is performed for the first time, in Donaueschingen, conducted by the composer.
October 9, 1924: Anton Webern’s (40) Sacred Songs op.15 for soprano and chamber group are performed for the first time, in Vienna.
December 2, 1924: Three Little Pieces for cello and piano op.11 by Anton Webern are performed for the first time, in Mainz on the eve of the composer’s 41st birthday.
January 18, 1925: Si ich traurig bin op.4/4 for voice and piano by Anton Webern (41) to words of George is performed for the first time, in New York.
December 14, 1926: Universal Edition, in the person of Emil Hertzka, agrees to pay Anton Webern (43) a regular monthly stipend, in order to give him enough security to compose.
April 10, 1927: Entflieht auf leichten Kähnen op.2 for chorus by Anton Webern (43) to words of George, is performed for the first time, in Fürstenfeld, Austria.
February 16, 1928: Four Songs for voice and orchestra op.13 by Anton Webern (44) to various authors, is performed for the first time, in Winterthur.
December 18, 1929: Symphony op.21 by Anton Webern (46) is performed for the first time, at a League of Composers concert in Town Hall, New York. The work was commissioned by the League.
July 22, 1930: Anton Webern (46) reaches the summit of the Dachstein, a 3,000 meter mountain in Styria. This is his fourth attempt at the peak since 1906 and the first successful.
April 13, 1931: In the first concert devoted entirely to the music of Anton Webern (47) the Quartet op.22 for violin, clarinet, tenor saxophone, and piano is performed for the first time. The music takes place in the Kleiner Musikvereinssaal, Vienna.
November 14, 1931: Anton Webern (47) enters the Sulz-Stangen Sanitorium near Hinterbühl, Austria, this time for a digestive ailment. He will stay 2-3 weeks.
June 21, 1932: After conducting a concert in Vienna of works by Schoenberg (57), Berg (47), and Mahler (†21), Anton Webern (48) is admitted to the Rudolfsstiftung for diagnostic evaluation. He fainted during the last rehearsal for this performance. After twelve days, no physical problem is found and he is diagnosed as having a “nervous condition.” The composer will undergo “cures” at various establishments through the summer.
March 14, 1933: In the fourth of a weekly series of lectures entitled The Path to the New Music Anton Webern (49) says, “What’s going on in Germany at the moment amounts to the destruction of spiritual life!”
February 15, 1934: The Social Democratic Party of Austria is abolished by the government. It administered the Kunststelle, which was in charge of the Workmen’s Symphony Concerts and the Singverein, directed by Anton Webern (50).
February 13, 1935: Anton Webern (51) conducts the Vienna Philharmonic on Austrian State Radio for the last time (for both conductor and orchestra). The authorities probably object to Webern’s programming of the Mendelssohn (†87) Violin Concerto.
April 8, 1936: After a third rehearsal of Alban Berg’s (†0) Violin Concerto in Barcelona, Anton Webern (52), upset by what he sees as the inability of the Catalan musicians to follow his directions, takes the score and locks himself in his hotel room. He gives up the score only when Helene Berg, widow of the composer, on her knees, pleads through tears for his permission to perform the work. Hermann Scherchen will take over tomorrow.
October 26, 1937: Variations for piano op.27 by Anton Webern (53) is performed for the first time, in Vienna. This is the last time that Webern’s music is played publicly in Vienna during his lifetime.
March 11, 1938: Germany mobilizes along the Austrian frontier, threatening invasion. Chancellor Schuschnigg resigns on radio saying “God protect Austria.” Among the thousands of Austrians listening to his address is Anton Webern (54). In the new Austria, Webern’s music will be banned.
June 2, 1938: Anton Webern’s (54) youngest daughter, Christine, a member of the Bund deutscher Mädchen, marries a Nazi storm trooper.
September 22, 1938: String Quartet op.28 by Anton Webern (54) is performed for the first time, in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.
February 10, 1940: Five Songs on Poems of Stefan George op.4 for voice and piano by Anton Webern (56) is performed completely for the first time, in Basel.
November 9, 1940: Anton Webern (56) writes to the Reichmusikkammer asking for a grant from the Künstlerdank, a fund for musicians in financial difficulty. The request is granted, even though his music is not desirable, he is politically acceptable. His son is a member of the party.
March 9, 1942: While returning to Italy from Hungary by train, Luigi Dallapiccola (38) must stop over in Vienna. Here he meets Anton Webern (58) at the home of Alfred Schlee. “A mystic, a short man, who talks with some inflection of the Austrian dialect, kind, but capable of bursts of anger, cordial to the point of treating me like an equal.”
March 3, 1943: Variations for orchestra op.30 by Anton Webern (59) is performed for the first time, in Winterthur, Switzerland. The composer is able to obtain a visa to attend the premiere. He will never again hear his music in public.
December 5, 1943: Three Songs from Viae inviae op.23 for voice and piano by Anton Webern (60) to words of Jone are performed for the first time, in Basel. It is part of an all-Webern concert to mark the composer’s 60th birthday (3 December). Webern’s music is banned in his homeland.
April 17, 1944: Anton Webern (60) is conscripted into the air raid police in Mödling. He is required to organize shelters and clear rubble.
March 31, 1945: Anton Webern (61) and his wife leave their home near Vienna on foot, hoping to reach their house in Mittersill some 300 km to the west. They reach Neulengbach, on the rail line to Salzburg.
April 2, 1945: After travelling on foot from their home near Vienna, Anton Webern (61) and his wife reach Mittersill near Salzburg, soon to be joined by their three daughters.
May 24, 1945: An announcement appears that the Austrian section of the ISCM has been reorganized for the first time since the Anschluss. Anton Webern (61), who is in Mittersill and unable to cross from American to Soviet occupation zones, is elected president of the board of directors.
September 15, 1945: 21:45 Anton Friedrich Wilhelm Webern is mistakenly shot three times and killed at the home of his son-in-law, Benno Mattel, am Markt 101 in Mittersill, near Salzburg, in the US occupation zone of Austria, by Raymond Bell, an American soldier. Bell and other US soldiers are engaged in an anti-black market operation against Mattel. The composer was aged 61 years, nine months, and twelve days. His earthly remains will be laid to rest in Mittersill Kirchhof. See 3 September 1955.
July 12, 1946: Cantata no.1 for soprano, chorus, and orchestra by Anton Webern (†0) to words of Jone, is performed for the first time, in London.
May 26, 1948: For the purposes of inheritance, the estate of Anton Webern (†2) is assessed in a district court ruling in Mödling. Total value: $24.52.
June 23, 1950: Cantata no.2 by Anton Webern (†4) to words of Jone is performed for the first time, in Brussels.
May 8, 1951: Two works by Anton Webern (†5) are performed for the first time, in New York: Five Canons on Latin Texts op.16 for voice, clarinet, and bass clarinet, and Liebst Jungfrau op.17/2 for voice, clarinet, bass clarinet, and violin, to an anonymous text. See 16 March 1952.
March 16, 1952: Three Traditional Rhymes op.17 for voice, clarinet, bass clarinet, violin, and viola by Anton Webern (†6) to anonymous words, is performed completely for the first time, in New York. On the same program is the first performance of Webern’s Three Songs on Poems by Hildegard Jone op.25 for voice and piano. See 8 May 1951.
February 8, 1954: Three Songs op.18 for voice, e flat clarinet, and guitar by Anton Webern (†8) to anonymous words, are performed for the first time, in Los Angeles.
September 3, 1955: Almost ten years to the day since he mistakenly killed Anton Webern, Raymond Bell dies in North Carolina, a victim of alcoholism brought on by remorse over the accident. See 15 September 1945.
December 2, 1958: A Satz für Klavier by Anton Webern (†13) is performed for the first time, in Vienna, 52 years after it was composed, and on the eve of the 75th anniversary of Webern’s birth.
November 19, 1961: Pianist Mariya Veniaminovna Yudina plays a recital in the Malyi Hall of the Leningrad Philharmonic which includes the Piano Variations of Anton Webern (†16) and Musica Stricta of Andrey Volkonsky. She also reads poetry of Boris Pasternak and Nikolay Zabolotsky. It causes a scandal.
May 25, 1962: As part of the first International Webern Festival, in Seattle, Im Sommerwind, idyll for orchestra by Anton Webern (†16), is performed for the first time, at the University of Washington, 58 years after it was composed.
May 26, 1962: As part of the first International Webern Festival, in Seattle, several works by Anton Webern (†16) are performed for the first time: Three Poems for Voice and Piano to words of Avenarius, Dehmel, and Falke (1899-1903), Three Songs After Poems by Ferdinand Avenarius (1900-1901), String Quartet (1905), and Five Songs After Poems by Richard Dehmel (1906-1908).
May 27, 1962: As part of the First International Webern Festival, in Seattle, two works by Anton Webern (†16) are performed for the first time: Eight Early Songs for voice and piano to various authors (1901-1904), and Langsamer Satz for string quartet (1905).
February 8, 1963: Two works by Anton Webern (†17) are performed for the first time, in Vienna: a Piano Piece (1925) and a Movement for string trio, almost 40 years after they were composed.
July 22, 1966: Anton Webern’s (†20) Kinderstück for piano is performed for the first time, in New York, 42 years after it was composed.
October 29, 1966: Four works for voice and piano by Anton Webern (†21) are performed for the first time at the Third International Webern Festival, Buffalo, New York: Four Stefan George Songs (1909), Vorfühling II to words of Avenarius (1900), Wehmut, also to Avenarius (1901), and Hochsommernacht to words of Greif (1904).
April 14, 1967: Three of the Five Pieces for orchestra (1913) by Anton Webern (†21) are performed for the first time, in Philadelphia, 54 years after they were composed. See 13 January 1969.
August 1, 1968: Rondo for string quartet by Anton Webern (†22) is performed for the first time, at the Fourth International Webern Festival, Hanover, New Hampshire, 62 years after it was composed. On the same program, Instant Remembered for soprano, orchestra, and tape by Ernst Krenek (67) to words of various authors, is performed for the first time, the composer conducting. The work is dedicated to the memory of Webern.
August 2, 1968: Sonatensatz for piano by Anton Webern (†22) is performed for the first time, at the Fourth International Webern Festival, Hanover New Hampshire, 62 years after it was composed.
January 13, 1969: Five Pieces for Orchestra (1913) by Anton Webern (†23) is performed completely for the first time, in Cologne. See 14 April 1967.
June 3, 1970: Works by Anton Webern (†24) are performed for the first time, in Cleveland: Two Pieces for cello and piano (1899) and a cello sonata (1914).
March 16, 1972: Works by Anton Webern (†26) are performed for the first time at the Fifth International Webern Festival in Vienna: Eight Orchestra Fragments (1911-1913) and a String Trio Movement (1927).
February 16, 1978: String Quartet in a minor by Anton Webern (†32) is performed for the first time, at the sixth International Webern Festival, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 71 years after it was composed.
February 17, 1978: Three chamber works by Anton Webern (†32) are performed for the first time, at the sixth International Webern Festival, Baton Rouge, Louisiana: Scherzo and Trio in a minor for string quartet (1904), Trio Movement for clarinet, trumpet and violin (1920), and a String Trio Movement (Ruhig) (1925).