A telegraph from Berlin, 2. inst., reached us:
Arnold Schönberg returned to Berlin from Vienna at midnight yesterday. This morning your correspondent visited Mr. Schönberg at his villa in Zehlendorf, where Mr. Schönberg received him very pleasantly. He was still quite agitated about the goings-on at the concert in Vienna, and had this to say about it:

“I don’t understand how it has not occurred to anyone yet that such noisemaking was a breach of the law. A ticket to a concert only extends the right to hear the concert – not to disrupt the proceedings. A ticket-purchaser is a guest who acquires the right to listen: nothing else. There is a big difference between an invitation to a salon and one to a concert. Contributing to the expense of an event cannot possibly bestow the right to behave improperly. I am amazed that, as long as the applauders were in the minority, the press always talked of a rape of the minority – this time, when it was the catcallers who were in the minority, the press did not protest that there had been a rape of the majority – as if the catcallers ought to be protected at any price.

“An allegation has arisen that the Academic Association somehow circulated improper publicity; I have learned nothing about that. The talk should have been about naming specific facts, not generalized allegations. I only know that the Academic Association managed to organize the rehearsals I considered necessary and so – since I know the people involved and they know precisely what I think about such things – I am convinced that nothing happened that I don’t approve of.

“Unfortunately, concerts in Vienna are not set up as artistic affairs; they are political ones. How a thing should be received is determined in advance; people come to a concert with their opinions already firmly in place; in my view, that undermines the success of the Gurrelieder. It was a thoroughly sentimental affair and I do not want any connection with it – and the effect of the music certainly lagged far behind the effect of the mawkish prejudice possessing the people who, for once, felt the need to take part in something modern.

“Despite the scandal, I would still have performed the Kindertotenlieder – although the scandal spoiled my mood a little, it otherwise left me cold, since my self-preservation instinct long ago obliged me to immunize myself against audiences’ reactions. I was careless enough to follow the advice of someone who seemed to get along better with audiences than I. I regret that very much because I was looking forward to performing the Kindertotenlieder greatly – and I am convinced that I would have come into form after the first few bars, and that the musically sensitive people in the audience would have come along with me, too.

“Regarding my pupils v[on] Webern and Berg, I consider them highly important talents, and I performed them because I also have other composition pupils. I must say about Buschbeck that I find his intervention to be a matter of course, apart from the fact that he was personally insulted. He organized the event, and it was his task to try to restore order, since the police were powerless – and he could only do that by ejecting the disturbers forcibly. I find it curious that the organizers are getting the blame for the rowdiness – the organizers managed a huge number of rehearsals and other tasks to perform works they believed in – not the catcallers and jeerers who, many of them, did not come to the concert naively; they even brought whistles with them, just in case. The provocation certainly began with the catcallers, who gave vent to their intellectual superiority and erudition right after the second piece by Webern. Of course I do not approve of applause – but if catcalls are allowed, then applause must also be permitted.”

Mr. Schönberg concluded the discussion with these words for his future behavior: “I have resolved not to take part in such concerts unless it expressly states on the tickets that disturbing the performances is prohibited. After all, it is self-evident that a concert promoter is morally and substantively entitled to claim protection in every state which exists on private ownership. Just as a tenant of an apartment who feels wronged in his entitlements has no right to demolish the landlord’s private possessions, a concert attendee cannot have the right to destroy a concert promoter’s legally protected property – and disturbance of the peace or atmosphere in a concert must be considered in every respect as destruction of moral and substantive private property.”

A Schönbergians’ Joke

A reader of our journal has sent us a copy of the program of the scandal-ridden concert in the Musikverseinssaal, intending to draw our attention to a witticism which the united Schönbergians have permitted themselves.

On Page 1 there is a list of the works to be performed; the first one is Anton von Webern’s Six Pieces for Orchestra Op. 4. An asterisk after the figure 4 refers to this footnote: “The individual parts make up an interconnected whole; thus continuity must be maintained (by refraining from applause, etc.).” We wonder; does that imperative request indicate that Mr. von Webern was thinking more of applause or of “etc.”?

Die Zeit (April 3, 1913)