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Schoenberg, Arnold
MIMEOGRAPHED LETTER SENT TO ALBAN BERG, JOSEF RUFER AND OTHERS, DESCRIBING HIS FIRST YEAR IN AMERICA, 25 NOVEMBER 1934,
expressing his thanks for the congratulations he received on his sixtieth birthday [13 September 1934], beginning the description of his first year in America by stating that he cannot omit to mention that, as far as disappointments, trouble and sickness go, it has exceeded much that he had previously experienced, describing the offers of employment at the Malkin Conservatory in Boston and in New York, and his dissatisfaction with the remuneration and general the level of his pupils, criticizing Koussevitzky, who has not played any of his music, describing the latter's unconventional conducting methods and calling him a charlatan, providing a graphic account of his illnesses, medications, and difficulties with the climate, inveighing against the conservatism of the American 'Kapellmeister' who have only played his Verklärte Nacht or a Bach arrangement, lambasting [Bruno] Walter, whom he calls a great conductor but who is in private a disgusting pig, detailing his teaching at the University of Southern California, mentioning his opera [Moses and Aron], on which he has not continued work, and a tonal string suite [Suite in the Old Style] which he has composed     

...Trotzdem kann ich sagen, dass das Interesse für mich erst im Erwachen ist. Die jüngeren Menschen sind alle sehr für mich und allgemein ist die Meinung, dass ich "im Kommen" bin. Aber nicht für Leute, wie Walter und Klemperer. Klemperer spielt hier selbstverständlich Stravinsky und Hindemith, von mir aber keine Note...Walter also ist ein grossartiger Dirigent (privat aber ist er immer ein widerliches Schwein gewesen und mir ward immer übel, wenn ich an ihn denke: ich vermeide es nach Kräften[)]...

3 pages, folio (35.5 x 21.5cm), Hollywood, [25] November 1934, a few tiny tears to edges, first page splitting slightly along horizontal fold, browning


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Literature

J. Bran, C. Hailey and D. Harris, ed., The Berg-Schoenberg Correspondence (New York and London, 1987), pp.454-458 (translation)

Catalogue Note

A no-holds-barred, full-throated and totally unsparing account by Schoenberg of the trials and tribulations of his first year in the USA, following his emigration there in October 1933. Mimeographed copies of Schoenberg's lengthy letter, such as the present one, were sent by Schoenberg to his numerous friends. One copy was sent to Alban Berg, who in a letter of 27 December 1934, thanked Schoenberg for 'this wonderful "document!"'. Other recipients of the letter, according to the database of the Arnold Schönberg Center, included Heinrich Jalowetz, Josef Polnauer, Josef Rufer, Hans Nachod and Max Kowalski.

Music, Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts and Continental Books

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London