ORCHESTRA

Im Sommerwind is an atypical work of the typical modernist composer

Sommerwind by Otto Modersohn
Sommerwind by Otto Modersohn

Austrian composer Anton Webern rose to fame as a member of the Second Viennese School, a prominent movement known for its atonal music. Even so, his early work Im Sommerwind shows another side of this 20th century modernist.

Webern conceived the piece during an idyllic summer spent at his family's Carinthian home. While reading Revelations of a Juniper Tree, a novel by his contemporary Bruno Wille, tone poem—entitled Im Sommerwind—struck him particularly deeply and thus inspired him to write the piece of the same title.

Im Sommerwind unfolds in a kind of stream-of-consciousness fashion, alternating between contemplative and agitated moods.

The composer often used this piece for showing certain tonality rules to his students:

"...if you want to go further without the normal sense of tonality and harmony, you have to master tonality." 

This score wasn't published until years after Webern's death in 1945. The work was discovered in 1961 among the belongings that he had passed on to his daughter.

In 1962 it was premiered at the First International Webern Festival by Eugene Ormandy and The Philadelphia Orchestra:

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