Finding the Tune

On the transformative power of Anton Webern’s Concerto, Opus 24, and punk rock
Los Angeles Review of Books, Nov. 10, 2018

IN THREE LINES at the upper right corner of the first page of my copy of the study score of Anton Webern’s Concerto, Opus 24, the words Mark Wallace / July 12, 1983 / San Francisco are written in the kind of rough blue ballpoint pen that has gone seriously out of fashion in the ensuing 35 years. When I made that inscription, at 16 — done with high school a year early and soon off to college — I did not yet understand the Webern Concerto as a masterpiece of both artistic expression and musical design. Nor did I understand it as the piece of music that would determine the course of my life, though that, for a time, is exactly what it did.

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