He Speaks to the Point with New York Reporters,
Here Tomorrow

An artful and accomplished reporter for the Evening Post shall write the prelude: “It was a small man without a coat who opened the door of Suite No. 1477 in the Hotel Ansonia. His bald head was shiny and his hands showed the marks of straps hastily opened on trunks and suitcases. He smiled shyly and gestured the way between the piles of luggage in the hall. He was taking his caller to a living room at the end, but just before reaching it there toddled out of a bedroom into the hall a little thing in a white gown.
The small man, murmuring some admonitory words, gently pushed the little thing back into the bedroom and closed the door. He did it with an air of embarrassment, as if he felt that the presence of the little thing out there, when a stranger was ushered in, constituted a kind of public scandal. He could not so easily dispose of a little gray thing with four legs and a tail. It was at his heels as he opened the room at the end of the hall and signed his guest to a sofa. That seemed to bother him, too, and he began murmuring apologies to the effect that he and his family had arrived only an hour or two before and that everything was in confusion.
This small, mild man, fluent with deprecatory gestures over the state of his household, was Arnold Schönberg, one of the several foremost living composers, and one so bold in his artistic adventures that men have come to blows over the merits of his music in the leading concert halls of the world. This man, so quaintly sweet in his hospitality that the reporter had a positive affection for him before reaching the end of the hall, was the most-hissed composer of his time. The little thing in white was Nuria, his daughter, eighteen months old, bearing a Spanish name because she was born in Barcelona. The thing on four legs was Witz (joke in both German and English), a mite of a dog.


Schönberg is a small man, shy and extremely modest, with a sensitive face and expressive brown eyes. He spoke some English and some German. He admitted studying English in school forty-five years ago, but has had very little occasion to use it since. [The Times]
Short an stocky in appearance, looking much younger than his fifty-nine years, he was engagingly modest and unaggressive in manner. [The Herald Tribune]

New Works

Schönberg briefly enumerated his latest works: a concerto for ’cello and orchestra freely transcribed from a clavier concerto by Monn, a virtually unknown contemporary of Bach; a concerto for string quartet and orchestra based on a concerto grosso of Handel; an opera on a Biblical subject, “Moses und Aaron,” with a libretto of his own. He completed the second act in March, 1932, and is working on the third and last. He hopes to complete the piece during his stay in Boston. [The Herald Tribune]

Of Himself

“I have no style. I do not write for the sake of being original. I cannot help it if my music happens to have this quality. I seek only to express my thoughts and my emotions. My greatest desire is to compress the most substance into the least possible space and time.” He is searching more and more intensively for concentrated expression. A composition like the “Gurre-Lieder” was written in a broad, expansive manner. But that was long ago; now he sought compactness and intensity [The Times]
Although Schönberg has long been regarded as one of the two or three principle creative figures in contemporary music, and his works often have been occasions of warm controversy, he had no manifesto to issue. He will not, he assured his interrogators, try to develop a group of disciples in this country; he never has asked his pupils to imitate him, nor to adopt any particular manner, but has sought to help them develop their creative individuality. [The Herald Tribune]


With American music Schönberg has had little chance for acquaintance, although a few Americans have studied with him abroad. He is sure, however, that it will be possible to develop widespread and significant musical talent in this country. Among foreign composers he expressed admiration for Hindemith, Milhaud, Stravinsky, Ravel and Bartók. Among his noted European pupils, Alban Berg of “Wozzeck” is working on his second opera, “Lulu,” based on plays of Wedekind; von Webern is composing chamber music and is also engaged on a piano-concerto. [The Herald Tribune]


A full fortnight awaits Schönberg … This evening he will be guest at a concert in the Library of Congress at Washington at which his Second Quartet for Strings and Voice will be heard. On Saturday he will go to Boston to begin, on Monday, his work as teacher; on Thursday next he will be guest of Yale University at a similar concert; on Friday likewise at Harvard. On Saturday, week, the League of Composers will give him a concert and hold a reception for him in New York. On Tuesday, Nov. 14, he will lecture there at the New School of Social Research. Yet he comes hither seeking rest from the tumults of Berlin.


“There are cycles with music which are fashions. There would have been jazz had there been no war. We had the cakewalk and the tango before a gun was fired. Before that we had gypsy music and Negro Spirituals. But real music goes on and on without noticeably feeling within the little external eruptions.”

Boston Evening Transcript (November 3, 1933)