Lot 122A: Rare Schoenberg Musical Quotation from his Chamber Symphony No. 1
Presidential Letters, Free Franks & Speeches: Washington to Bush + Important Autographs in History, Science & the Arts
26 October 2016
New York, NY, USALive Auction
Description: SCHOENBERG, ARNOLD. (1874-1951). Austrian composer and creator of the revolutionary twelve-tone school of composition which abandoned fixed tonality. AMusQS. (“Arnold Schoenberg”). 1p. 16mo. N.p., February 1, 1934. Two measures from Schoenberg’s Chamber Symphony No. 1, op. 9. ********** Although he began his career by writing works in the Romantic tradition, Schoenberg soon turned toward atonal compositions through which he became a leading force in 20th-century music. During the 1920s, he developed his famous twelve-tone system, which he employed in such compositions as Variations for Orchestra, op. 31. He also taught music theory and composition, instilling his technique in many students including his two most famous pupils, Anton Webern and Alban Berg. In 1934, shortly after the Nazis labeled Schoenberg’s music degenerate, he immigrated to the United States and joined the faculty of UCLA two years later. There he continued to influence such students as John Cage, Lou Harrison and Leon Kirchner, composing groundbreaking works like A Survivor from Warsaw, op. 46. ********** Our quotation is from one of Schoenberg’s early works, Chamber Symphony No. 1, op. 9, composed in 1906. It premiered in Vienna in 1907 and its first London performance was in 1921. Schoenberg is known for penning anomalous quotations for autograph seekers, sometimes asking his students to complete the phrase from memory. ********** Neatly penned on a diagonal on a small card with a blind-embossed border. Very light dust staining. Mounting traces on the verso. Fine.