>This beastly science...< On the reception of psychoanalysis by the composers of the Second Viennese School 1908-1923

  • This paper explores the links between psychoanalysis and music in Vienna between the years 1908 and 1923, focusing in particular on two members of the highly influential Second Viennese School, the composers Alban Berg and Anton Webern. While there is little evidence of an actual interaction between Freud and his circle and contemporaneous musicians in Vienna, this paper discusses the direct personal and professional contact Webern and Berg had with Freud, and also with Freud's one-time colleague Alfred Adler; Berg's wife Helene also underwent psychoanalytic treatment. Both composers documented their experiences with and feelings about psychoanalysis, offering critical insights into the reception of psychoanalysis in musical circles in Vienna, and into the actual connections between psychoanalysis and Vienna's most important musical figures. This paper examines Berg and Webern in the context of Freud's Vienna, Adler's musical background and his treatment of Webern, and Berg's knowledge of psychoanalysis and strong ambivalence towards his wife's psychoanalytic treatment, and concludes by considering Berg's opera Wozzeck (1925) as an example of a musical work influenced by contemporary Viennese attitudes towards psychoanalysis.

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Author:Alexander Carpenter
Parent Title (English):International Forum of Psychoanalysis, Vol. 24 (No. 4, 2015), pp. 243-254.
Document Type:Articles
Year of first Publication:2015
Release Date:2016/09/29
Format:PDF-scan upon request / PDF-Scan auf Anfrage
Erich Fromm's Library and Erich Fromm Archive:Articles / Artikel
Licence (German):