The Lyric Suite is Berg's first extended twelve-tone composition, yet by his own description only half of the work uses twelve-tone techniques. This compositional hybridity raises significant aesthetic and political questions. How could the composer demonstrate what he called ““the possibility of expressing myself musically in that way”” and at the same time artfully prevaricate on the issue of twelve-tone necessity? When in its genesis did the composer understand the Lyric Suite to be a hybrid composition? Here the sketches and autographs——held by the ÖÖsterreichische Nationalbibliothek, Vienna——prove invaluable. Berg's sketches reveal that he began the Lyric Suite by working around the twelve-tone movements, which started with minimal experimental work that he did not keep. Berg attempted some kind of ““twelve-tone music”” with the Lyric Suite, but in failing to differentiate the compositional process from the supposedly pre-compositional, his approach was inconsistent with Schoenberg's early method of ““working with tones.”” At the same time, Schoenberg's and Webern's twelve-tone compositions from the early 1920s display hybrid aspects of their own. Berg came last of the three to twelve-tone methods and devised a typically artful response, going public with his amalgam and exhibiting it in the very fabric and design of his composition.
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