“The Viennese are already inclined to judge subjectively.” In October 1913, the Wiener Volksbildungs-Verein (Vienna Association of Public Education) asked Arnold Schönberg, who at the time lived in Berlin-Südende, to give a lecture as part of the cycle “From my workshop.” We recently acquired Schönberg’s autograph reply.

Arnold Schönberg
Berlinerstr. 17a
Tel: Tempelhof 174


PT. [Pleno Titulo] Wiener Volksbildungs-Verein, I can see from your letter that you have misunderstood me and my letter. Perhaps I should have been clearer. I will therefore add:
I. I do not wish to give a lecture entitled “From my workshop,” because I believe that the Viennese are already inclined to judge subjectively rather than objectively, and therefore it would be necessary to suppress this inclination rather than encourage it. I cannot be expected to work towards the wrong end while I remain on the right.
II. I have been unable to come up with an alternative subject for a lecture, and I am not a journalist - that is, I am not someone who talks when he has nothing to say.
III. I don’t know if I would have time to prepare such a lecture during the winter season - that is, had you been familiar with my other writings (and I hope you will allow me to have a sense of pride and regard such knowledge to be one of my requirements), you would have been aware that on my level time is necessary. This is very different to a contribution from a reporter, which is basically what you expect of me – and since this approach has probably been successful for you thus far, there has been no need to reconsider your position. Nevertheless, I would gladly contribute to your efforts to educate the public if my personal conditions were met and the proposed dates suited me. Unfortunately, however, I will be busy rehearsing and conducting my works in Leipzig and Amsterdam during that time.
Hopefully I will be able to help you another time, and perhaps we will then have a better understanding of each other from the outset.
Yours sincerely, Arnold Schönberg