We acknowledge it without any qualms – our knees felt weak although we were almost scared “stiff” at the thought of interviewing the great Arnold Schoenberg! But in a rest period for the orchestra, we walked up to him and asked him if he minded talking to us a bit. And then – he smiled.
Immediately, we realized that the courteous man, dressed for comfort in polo shirt and blue slacks, who took time out to thank the orchestra every time they played a phrase to suit him, was kindly, friendly and much misunderstood. He conducts the San Diego Symphony orchestra, affiliated with the Federal music projects, in Ford bowl tonight.
We sat down for a chat about music, and in response to our query as to whether or not it was true he submerged all feeling for intellect, he denied absolutely such a statement or belief which is prevalent regarding his works.
“First of all, I have a musical vision which I must put down – it is inspirational, emotional, but it takes many hearings of new music for people to discover the beauty which I feel and endeavour to portray.”

Tell experience

“I will tell you of the experience of my ‘Kammer (chamber) Symphony,’ first produced in Vienna in 1906. There was a great scandal – that anyone could write such impossible music. It was produced again 20 years later and the first horn player who played in 1906 came to me afterwards and said, ‘It is beautiful! I don’t see what was the matter with us before!’”
And so big is the man that he felt this was just a good joke. No hard feelings, just one of those [… newspaper clipping cut off …] “[…] formed in Vienna it was one of the greatest successes.” After that came performances (100 and more), in practically every big town.
We remarked that the 12-tone scale in which he writes so much was not new and he replied, “No, except in the technical way in which I use it. We have discovered that in the Bach B-minor Fugue the theme consists entirely in the 12-tone scale.”
He is a great admirer of Mahler and Otto Klemperer is a great admirer of Schoenberg – and that is mutual too. Klemperer had the honor to present the first performance of “Pierrot” in 1922 in Cologne. In 1930 they met in Los Angeles, for Schoenberg is the leader of the music department at U.C.L.A.
Klemperer has written of him:
“He is not only a great creative genius, he is the greatest living teacher as well. Each and every work has a different type of its own, but everyone of them caries the impress of an extraordinary genius.”

Wife with musician

Mrs. Schoenberg, a charming person, the sister of Rudolph Kolisch of the famous Kolisch quartet, drove to San Diego with Schoenberg yesterday. They were enthusiastic over the beauty of the drive and would love to remain longer with us. But Nuria, 6-year-old daughter and Rudolph Ronald, 15-months-old son, were left in the care of Mrs. Schoenberg’s mother – and there is a tug at the heart to get back to them.
The program:
Prelude and Fugue in E Flat (Bach-Schoenberg).
“Verklarte Nacht” (Schoenberg).
Piano quartet arranged for full orchestra (Brahms-Schoenberg).

Union (July 26, 1938)