ARTHUR BERGER 1912 - 2003

Arthur Victor Berger (May 15, 1912 – October 7, 2003) was an American composer who has been described as a New Mannerist. WIKIPEDIA BIO His works show a preoccupation with vertical and horizontal musical space (see pitch space). His musical influences include Igor Stravinsky, Arnold Schoenberg, and later Anton Webern. In the forties he composed neoclassical works including Serenade Concertante (1944) and Three Pieces for Strings (1945), and embraced the twelve-tone technique in the fifties.
His later works moved away from serialism but continued to use tone cluster 'cells' whose pitch classes are displaced by octaves. George Perle has described his "keen and sophisticated musical intellect" and praised "his serial music [for being] as far removed from current fashionable trends as his diatonic music was a few years ago." Perle further praises his String Quartet: "in the quartet, as in Berger's earlier works, and in most of the great music of our Western heritage, timbre, texture, dynamics, rhythm, and form are elements of a musical language whose syntax and grammar are essentially derived from pitch relations. If these elements never seem specious and arbitrary, as they do with so many of the dodecaphonic productions that deluge us today from both the left and right, it is precisely because of the authenticity and integrity of his musical thinking at this basic level."[4] His works include Ideas of Order, Polyphony, Quartet for Winds, described by Thomson as "one of the most satisfactory pieces for winds in the whole modern repertory", String Quartet (1958), Five Pieces for Piano (1969) and Septet (1965-66). He was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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