In the second of two articles, Leila Josefowicz discusses the Adagio of the second movement, in the context of the Viennese School and the Neue Sachlichkeit era
To me this piece is like water: it is one of the essential ingredients needed to survive in life. It is high art at its most profound, and whether you are religious or spiritual, or neither, to play or listen to it is a sacred experience and a prayer. It expresses and ruminates on feelings, thoughts and new ways of existence, and it is all the more poignant and tragic because it serves as a double requiem, for Berg’s friend Alma Manon Gropius, who died aged 18 from polio, and for himself, as the last piece he wrote before his own death. For anyone who has experienced the death of someone very close to them, this music gives a visceral, spiritually powerful picture…
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