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Proof through the NightMusic and the Great War$
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Glenn Watkins

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780520231580

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520231580.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

“The Last Days of Mankind”

“The Last Days of Mankind”

(p.227) 13 “The Last Days of Mankind”
Proof through the Night

Glenn Watkins

University of California Press

In a letter to Gerty von Hofmannsthal on August 22, 1914, Richard Strauss registered pride in Germany's initial battlefield successes during the Great War. On September 12, however, it was reported that Strauss had refused to sign a manifesto of German artists and intellectuals. Among the members of the Viennese School it was Anton Webern who retained the closest spiritual link with the nature world of Strauss and Gustav Mahler. Karl Kraus, a Jewish convert to Catholicism, brooked ambiguity along with apocalyptic visions in his powerful five-act play, Die letzten Tage der Menschheit (1915–1922). Kraus was not the only contemporary poet to whom Webern turned. In the same month that he completed “Der Tag ist vergangen,” Webern sketched but never finished settings for two poems by Georg Trakl, who had died two months earlier. The “March” that concludes Alban Berg's Three Pieces for orchestra, op. 6, written in 1914, immediately following the assassination at Sarajevo, has been linked to the composer's affection for the music of Mahler.

Keywords:   Richard Strauss, Germany, Great War, Anton Webern, Gustav Mahler, Karl Kraus, Georg Trakl, Alban Berg, music

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